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Next Week's Technology Symposium to Cover Analytics, DTC and AI Topics

On September 15, 2020, Wine Business Monthly will host its Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) as a webcast. This is a brand new look for the conference, but the virtual event will continue to bring experts in the field to discuss the key issues affecting data, direct-to-consumer technology, strategy and business in the industry. Register for the symposium at

Here's what you can look forward to at the event:

9:00 a.m. - 9:35 a.m.
Using AI, Machine Learning, and Recommendations to Elevate Experiences
Moon King, lead principal program manager, Microsoft Corp.

What are AI-ML and Recommendations really, why are they gaining momentum, and how can it apply to your business? Join Moon King as she talks about the work her team at Microsoft is doing to bring the latest advancements in AI-ML to the people and to businesses of all sizes. Learn how you can implement and adapt the technology in intuitive, simple ways to make it work for your needs. Empower your business to excel at what is essential, and unlock what you dream of building.
9:35 am - 10:20 am
Surviving and Thriving with Data: Tips, Strategies and Tools
Stuart Henry, director of technology, DuMol Winery
Alex Kessler, manager of business intelligence and consumer insights, O'Neill Vintners & Distillers
Jill Whitfield, senior marketing manager, Biltmore Estate
Ashley Trout, owner/winemaker, Brook & Bull, Vital Wines

Most wineries already have data on their consumers, sales and markets and this session will explore the best ways to make use of that information for wineries of all sizes and with different goals. Learn firsthand from experts at wineries of different sizes and with different sales strategies how they used their own internal data or worked with third-party market research and technology firms to better understand the rapidly changing market and take advantage of those trends.
10:25 am - 11:00 am
The Virtual Tasting Room: Getting Your Website in Order
Russ Mann, CEO, WineBid
Celeste Hope, director of digital marketing, Hope Family Wines
Sarah Conde, digital consumer success, Stoller Wine Group
Michelle Kaufmann, communications director, Stoller Wine Group

When tasting rooms and restaurants closed, the importance of a website as a sales channel became immediately apparent; Some realized the need to start investing time and money into the platform while others understood that continued investment was necessary. This session, meant for DTC programs large and small, is meant to show some of the best ways to build e-commerce sales with minor changes not just to the technology, but to the content and sales team workflow. Building a useful website that does the work for you isn’t difficult!
11:00 am - 11:20 am
Enhanced and Engaged DTC
Eric Johnson, director, consumer engagement technology, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates

This year has seen unprecedented market disruptions that have made direct-to-consumer and e-commerce sales even more vital to wineries. This session explores how Ste. Michelle Wine Estates used a new headless, integrated DtC and POS system that enabled it to quickly and efficiently adapt to the market for all of its brands. The system is also providing consumer insights to power segmented marketing and support automated marketing to maintain, engage and ultimately grow the winery’s DtC customer base.
11:25 am - 12:05 pm
The Sixth Channel: Virtual Tastings that Deliver on ROI
Nadia Kinkade, director, consumer development and loyalty, Far Niente Family of Wineries & Vineyards
Jason Moore, winemaker, owner, Modus Operandi Cellars
Brian Fairleigh, brand and wine education manager, Domaine Chandon

Wineries generated sales through virtual tastings through shelter-in-place orders, but how are they looking to grow these programs in a post-COVID world? This session will dive into why it’s important to keep these offerings, even when the tasting room re-opens. Learn from DTC managers who have realized actual revenue through the channel: what are the real expectations, how do they build consistent engagement, and what systems should wineries put in place to effectively gauge success?
12:05 pm - 12:25 pm
Moving Forward on the Analytics Path
Robert Zwerling, founder, managing director, Aurora Predictions

You have the data and the tech, what’s the next step? This session will explore how wineries can move from simply recording data to better understanding the “why” behind business trends to predicting them and ultimately implementing them. What are the tools and training needed to help move forward on the analytics path and how can you create a unified culture that fosters such development?
12:25 pm - 12:45 pm
Trends in Reservations, Travel and the Technology to Support Hospitality
Andrea Johnston, COO, OpenTable

Join Andrea Johnston, COO of OpenTable as she explores the many ways in which Covid has changed the way in which we engage with businesses. Now that reservations are required just about everywhere, Johnston has a unique vantage point to see how guests interact with brands. Are they making reservations through winery websites or finding businesses on platforms like OpenTable? How are smart operations using their CRMs to bring customers back, and how do they reach out to road trippers to bring new business in? She’ll also share some information on where business is booming and what wineries can learn from other industries.

With this all-new virtual platform, the team at Wine Business Monthly looks forward to bringing you a more comprehensive program than ever, featuring technology experts and influencers active in the wine business locally, regionally and nationally.

For questions and additional information, please contact or visit

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