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January 18, 2013 | 2:05 PM

Everyone's gearing up for the sixth annual Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium slated for Thursday, January 24, at the South San Francisco Conference Center. We asked 2013 event chairman Brian Baker, VP of Sales & Marketing at Chateau Montelena winery, the top five reasons why marketing and sales teams shouldn't miss this year's symposium – and here's what he said:

1. It’s a Must-Attend Event: The DTC Wine Symposium is the wine industry’s only national, annual DTC marketing and sales summit. It’s managed by vintners, for vintners, so we are keenly aware of the issues facing winery’s direct-to-consumer operations, so we created a program to help showcase relevant, real-world solutions to expand their DTC business. Our summit also offers keynote speakers who can provide a visionary, outside-looking-in approach to marketing and selling wine.

2. Learn from Your Peers: Our workshop panelists and other presenters are industry stars who have developed proven strategies and tactics for increasing wine club sales; they’ve managed one-of-a-kind tasting rooms and visitor’s experiences and shaped the customer experience that result in impressive sales results and retention. It’s a great opportunity to learn from the best!

3. Location, Location, Location: This year we picked the San Francisco Convention Center in South San Francisco because it offers a larger venue with more convenient access to vintners from California’s Central Coast and outside the state. The South San Francisco Conference Center, with free parking, is just three miles north of San Francisco International Airport.

4. Trade Show: Our trade show offers a one-stop-shop for seeing what’s new and next by leading vendors. It’s also a great opportunity for marketers to create new relationships and contacts, and reinforce existing ones. This year’s event boasts more than 25 suppliers offering the latest technologies and products for improving direct-to-consumer operations.

5. Support Wine Direct Shipping: This event is both a summit and a fundraiser. The DTC Wine Symposium is an opportunity to increase knowledge of best practices in wine direct marketing and sales and to support Free the Grapes! and Coalition for Free Trade, the two organizations that have helped the industry by increasing the marketplace for legal, regulated direct to consumer shipping.

To register and for more information, go to


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