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Hundreds Gather Virtually for First Fully Digital Technology and Financial Symposiums

Sonoma, Calif.—On September 15-16, 2020 Wine Business Monthly hosted its Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) and Wine Industry Financial Symposium for the first time as a two-day webcast. Hundreds of technology- and finance-minded members of the wine trade from across the country gathered online to discuss the latest in sales, best practices and trends. 

Highlights from the Financial Symposium: 

  • The top industry leaders were honored throughout the conference and three special Leadership Awards were presented to Annette Alvarez-Peters, Norm McKibben and Mel Dick. 
  • Success in the off-premise and DTC channels is defined differently, as Danny Brager advised, sharing the last sales figures from Nielsen and Sovos/ShipCompliant and Wines Vines Analytics. 
  • Ben Dollard, president of Treasury Wine Estates, Americas, detailed the company’s latest 5-year strategic plan, it’s focus on successful celebrity collaborations and a commitment to sustainability. 
  • A panel focused on mergers and acquisitions, including what to expect to see in the next year, featured best practices from buyers and sellers, and those who help facilitate the biggest deals. 
  • Credit Suisse managing director Kaumil Gajrawala took a look at the ways in which beverage alcohol outperformed other consumer packaged goods and how much of the changes were already in the works, before the pandemic hit.

Highlights from the Technology Symposium: 

  • Microsoft’s Moon King explained how AI and machine learning could be applied in the wine industry to serve up useful recommendations.
  • Four winery analysts shared their experiences with various research and technology firms and how that has helped their businesses.
  • Virtual tasting pros delivered tips and practices to provide experiences that are engaging for the guest, and profitable for the winery. 
  • Robert Zwerling taught us how to move a company forward on the analytics path and how to use it to make smart decisions. 

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