speakers 2018


Randall Grahm: Keynote Speaker

Randall was born in Los Angeles in 1953 and attended the University of California at Santa Cruz where he was a permanent Liberal Arts major. He went to the University of California at Davis to complete a degree in Plant Sciences in 1979, where owing to his single-minded obsession with Pinot Noir he was regarded as a bit of a holy terroir in the hallowed halls of the sober and sedate Department of Viticulture and Enology.

With his family’s assistance, Randall purchased property in the Santa Cruz Mountains in a quaint eponymous hamlet known as Bonny Doon, intent on producing the Great American Pinot Noir. The GAPN proved to be systematically elusive but he was greatly encouraged by experimental batches of Rhône varieties, and he has been a tireless champion of the grapes of the Rhône since the inaugural vintage of Le Cigare Volant. In 1989 Randall appeared on the cover of the Wine Spectator, clad in blue polyester, as “The Rhône Ranger.”

His idiosyncratic newsletters and articles have been collected, carefully redacted, and with the inclusion of some timely new material, published as the award-winning book, “Been Doon So Long: A Randall Grahm Vinthology” in 2009. In 2010 the Culinary Institute of America inducted him into the Vintner’s Hall of Fame. In 2010, he was incredibly fortunate to have been able to purchase an extraordinary 400-acre property near San Juan Bautista, which he calls “Popelouchum,” (the Mutsun word for “paradise”). He lives in Santa Cruz with his muse Chinshu, their daughter, Amélie, and his thesaurus.


Rich Bouwer

Rich Bouwer brings a wealth of knowledge to the Wines & Vines Packaging Conference. In June he was appointed chief operating officer of Free Flow Wines, to support the growth of the Napa-based kegging and canning company.

From 2006 to 2017 Rich was the general manager, Pacific region, for the glass company Saxco International with direct responsibility for wine and beer packaging. Previous to that, Rich had supply chain, purchasing and operational responsibility for Beringer Wine Estates and for E. & J. Gallo Winery. Rich sourced wine bottles in the US, Central America, Europe and Asia and provided packaging to more than 1,000 wineries.


Alison Crowe

Alison Crowe has been making wine since 1995 and is the Director of Winemaking for Napa-based Plata Wine Partners, LLC. Crafting lots of wine from such premiere appellations as Russian River, Alexander Valley, Napa Valley and Santa Barbara County. Alison brings the vineyard directly to the client, from large nationally distributed wineries as well as hot start-up brands.

She got her start in the cellars of Chalone Vineyard and Curtis Winery, made wine at Bonny Noon Vineyard for four and a half years and consulted during the 2005 harvest with Michel Rolland at Bodegas Salentein in Mendoza, Argentina.

In addition to her winemaking, which takes her around the state of California, Alison also sits on the steering committees of the Wine Industry Financial Symposium and Central Coast Insights Symposium.

Alison is also a technical wine writer with frequent contributions to, WineMaker and Wine Business Monthly magazines. Her first book, The Wine Maker's Answer Book, was published by Story Publishing in September 2007. Alison is a graduate of both the Viticulture & Enology and Spanish departments of UC Davis and received her MBA with the UC Davis Graduate School of Management in June 2010.


Lisa Ehrlich

Lisa’s career spans three decades in the wine and spirits industry. Her interest in wine and food blossomed when, during her junior year in college in Aix-en-Provence, France, she picked Grenache grapes during harvest. Originally studying law, wine and food turned out to be a bigger attraction, and Lisa went on to become a co-founder of Chicago’s famed Charlie Trotter’s restaurant, where she created an award-winning wine program.

Lisa’s expertise on the restaurant side carried her into wine sales in Southern California, where she founded Grapevine Wine Company, a domestic and imported wine brokerage, expanding distribution for notable wineries such as Bonny Doon, Patz & Hall, Talley and Morgan. Lisa then moved up to Northern California to take on marketing and brand management roles with leading companies such as E&J Gallo, Robert Mondavi Winery and most recently, Purple Wine + Spirits.

During her 12 years at Purple, she managed sales, marketing, brand development and overall business strategy, creating over 40 wine brands. Most recently, she launched the company’s spirits division and award-winning D. George Benham’s Sonoma Dry Gin. She is now putting her sales, marketing, brand development and general management skills to work for consulting clients, helping them to develop new wine and spirits brands.


Pedro Fernandes

Pedro Fernandes is the general manager of Amorim Cork America, Inc. with responsibility for developing business strategies, building out distribution channels and managing a manufacturing and sales team. Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and growth, Fernandes consistently ranks among the top performers of Amorim employees. He and his team are an Amorim Award winner for the best sales division performance and recipients of multiple recognition awards.

Fernandes, a Portuguese native living in California for the past 10 years, holds an MBA from Porto Business School and a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering from the Faculty of Engineering, University of Porto. He is a former supply chain professional with Amorim & Irmaos and has 15-plus combined years of experience in the supply chain, sales and business arenas.


Jessica Gaedeke

Jessica Gaedeke is group vice president with Nielsen Innovation Practice, a division of Nielsen focused on predictive analytics and consumer insights to deliver better market outcomes. Jessica leads the beverage alcohol vertical, and has helped companies large and small to develop optimal marketing propositions, product innovations and package designs. She is personally passionate about the power of label design in the wine industry, and has developed programs to make consumer insights accessible to brands of all sizes. Located in San Luis Obispo, Calif., she oversees the western territory of the United States.


Jordan Kivelstadt

Jordan founded Free Flow Wines with Dan Donahoe in 2009 and has been leading the growth of the business since the beginning. Jordan was trained as an engineer at Tufts University before moving on to management consulting for over two years. In 2006, Jordan began his career in the wine industry as production manager for The Donum Estate. Since then he has made wine in four countries, founded his own bottle brand, Kivelstadt Cellars, manages his family’s organic 10-acre Sonoma County, California vineyard and continues to innovate in the industry he loves.


Brad Mayer

Brad Mayer is the senior vice president of marketing for Precept Wine. Brad has spent more than 20 years driving strategic brand growth among several category-leading consumer product and retail companies, including General Mills, Nordstrom, Amazon.com and The Winebow Group. His experience includes the development of brand strategies, new product innovation, multi-tiered partnerships, and high-impact marketing campaigns. He currently oversees all brand management and marketing support for the core portfolio of Precept Wine, including highly acclaimed properties spanning Washington, Oregon, Idaho and New Mexico.

Seattle-based Precept Wine is the largest, privately-held wine producer in the Pacific Northwest and owns leading wineries and brands such as House Wine, Gruet, Browne Family Vineyards, Canoe Ridge Vineyard, Waterbrook, Primarius, Ste. Chapelle and Pendulum.


Rob McDonald

Rob McDonald founded the Australian wine import company Old Bridge Cellars in Napa, Calif., with his wife Kat McDonald in 1990. The couple had first met in Rob’s native Australia where they lived for three years before moving to the United States. The couple also established vineyards in Australia and Napa Valley, launched the wine brand Mak and in 2008 founded Art+Farm Wine in Napa.

Art+Farm is the home of traditional wines such as the Girls in the Vineyard, but also cutting edge concepts like St. Mayhem Craft Wine Coolers. St. Mayhem uses beautiful base wine, but then adds unique, fresh, whole ingredients such as coffee, ginger and mint to create new and different delicious flavors. Art+Farm’s innovative approach can be seen in their early adoption of kegs and cans as alternative packaging.


Mark Peters

Mark Peters manages operations for the G3 Label Division, based in Modesto, CA. G3 Enterprises is a leading producer of wine and spirits labels, servicing wineries from large to boutique brands. G3 Label printing capabilities range from gravure, flexo, litho, off-set and digital. Additionally, G3 Label provides wine capsule material, technical services for its customers, and premium etched bottles for special brands or occasions.

Mark has worked in the wine label business for 8 years with a wide range of responsibilities from customer service, estimating, master scheduling, supply chain and sales and operations planning. In his current role, Mark focuses on manufacturing efficiency, customer focus and quality assurance. As a photography artist and visual enthusiast, Mark has a deep passion and creative viewpoint to help wineries explore ideas while meeting production criteria. Mark, along with his label team, is a key stakeholder of G3’s Innovation Products such as G INK Reflection and GTREE 100% PCW Paper.

Prior to joining the wine industry, Mark spent time with a specialized construction company where he worked in Sales and Operations. Mark has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Kinesiology.


Nicolas Quille

Nicolas Quillé, an executive with the Crimson Wine Group, was born in Lyon, France, into a wine business family. Nicolas holds a master’s degree in enology from the University of Dijon, Burgundy, and a master’s degree in sparkling winery management from the University of Reims, Champagne. Prior to moving to the United States in 1997, Nicolas worked in Burgundy, Provence, Champagne and Portugal.

In the United States, Nicolas began his winemaking career in California in the Central Coast. Subsequently, he moved into head-winemaker positions in Washington and Oregon. In 2005, Nicolas earned an MBA from the University of Washington. He became general manager at Bonny Doon Vineyard in California and supervised the restructuring of the family business, which involved a significant brand sale transaction.

Nicolas led the spin-off of the Pacific Rim brand from Bonny Doon Vineyard and returned to the Northwest, becoming Pacific Rim’s general manager and winemaker as the company merged with Banfi, acquired Firesteed and created Vinmotion Custom Wine Services.

In 2018 Nicolas became the chief winemaking and operation officer for the Crimson Wine Group. He is responsible for the operation and the quality of six luxury wineries and estate vineyards in California, Oregon and Washington.


Leslie Sbrocco

An award-winning author, speaker, consultant and television host, Leslie Sbrocco is known for her entertaining and educational approach to wine. Voted one of the Top 100 most influential people in the American wine business, Sbrocco’s engaging personality, deep wine knowledge and unique ability to connect with readers and viewers are her trademarks.

She has written two books and is working on a third. As host of the PBS restaurant review series “Check Please! Bay Area” Sbrocco has won a coveted James Beard award, three Taste Awards, and three Emmy awards in the span of 11 seasons on air. She appears frequently on national television outlets and is a regular guest on NBC’s “Today Show.” She is currently filming “Taste This!,” a new digital drinks series for PBS. Sbrocco has built wine programs for and consulted with companies such as Target, Virgin America Airlines, Harry & David and Kimpton Hotels.