Morning Keynote Presenter

Randall Grahm – Bonny Doon Vineyard

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. Some time later he found himself working at the Wine Merchant in Beverly Hills sweeping floors.  He returned to the University of California at Davis to complete a degree in Plant Sciences in 1979. 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. In 2010, he was  able to purchase an extraordinary 400-acre property near San Juan Bautista, which he calls “Popelouchum,” (the Mutsun word for “paradise”), and has very ambitious plans to breed 10,000 new grape varieties there and perhaps produce a true vin de terroir in the New World. He lives in Santa Cruz with his muse Chinshu, their daughter, Amélie, and his thesaurus.

Afternoon Keynote Presenter

Luis Osorio – Wine Intelligence

Luis joined Wine Intelligence in October 2014 after working as a consultant in an auditing and consulting firm, where he developed strategy related projects in Portuguese-speaking countries in industries such as oil & gas, banking, media and retail. Prior to this, he spent two years developing entrepreneurial projects, including start-ups and an NGO. He also did a six-month internship with a major Portuguese wine producer. Luis graduated from Lisbon Technical University with a BA in architecture / civil engineering and later with a master’s degree in business administration majoring in strategy from the Catholic University of Portugal. He also holds the WSET Level 2 qualification in wines and spirits. Luis’ passion for wine started early within his family of wine producers; he then went on to launch a wine bar and in one year he opened five more wine bars in Lisbon, later selling the company and making a valuable profit.

 

Breakout Room Speaker

Christina Atkinson – DJB LLP

Christina Atkinson is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) with over 25 years of senior HR and leadership experience. She holds a Master of Arts degree in Psychology, the Human Resources Management designation and is a Certified Executive Coach (CEC).  Christina is a member of the Niagara chapter of the HRPA, as well as the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) in the US. Christina is a strong people leader who combines experience, a keen business acumen, and best practices to create solutions for people and business leaders to help drive performance. Her breadth and depth of experience in HR has led to demonstrated success in developing and maintaining partnerships with leaders to link HR initiatives to business objectives and corporate strategies. Christina’s experience includes work in corporate and not-for-profit environments, including healthcare, manufacturing, retail, distribution, transportation, developmental services, hospitality, and financial services. As the Director, Human Resources, Christina oversees both the internal HR department and the HR Advisory Services practice, providing leadership and direction to DJB senior management on all HR matters and providing the full range of HR services for external clients.

 

Breakout Room Speaker

Todd Bliss – LCBO

As the Director of Customer Experience at the LCBO; Todd Bliss leads the Visual Merchandising, Space Planning and Gifting. The Customer Experience team links together product and marketing strategies for stores to execute. Integrating with Retail, Merchandising, Marketing and Store Design, Todd has created new store layouts, product placement methodologies and sold space programming. Under Todd’s leadership retail communication, supplier relations and stores attention to detail have improved. Todd has naturally become a key influencer within the retail network. Todd combines his Retail operational experience, progressive roles in Merchandising and his creativity to impact the customer experience. Todd’s passion for retail and commitment to the customer is evident in his approach with teams and partners. Todd sets and shares a vision, inspiring teams within and outside the organization. Pushing the LCBO strategic plan of Customer Centricity.

Breakout Room Speaker

Tyler Calder – Marketer | Lecturer

Tyler Calder has been a revenue-focused marketer over the past 13 years. Currently, Tyler is the VP of Marketing for PartnerStack, a fast-growing Toronto based software company. He’s previously held Head of Marketing and Sales roles across industries such as Travel, Technology, and Wellness. Tyler has managed over $100M in digital media budgets, across both Enterprise and SMB clients. He is a sought-after speaker, regularly speaking at the Search Marketing Expo and the Search Engine Strategies conferences. He was named to Marketing Magazine’s Top 30 Under 30 and has been teaching Search Engine Marketing at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies since 2012.

Breakout Room Speaker

Laura Carr – Chez Nous

Laura is the owner/operator of Chez Nous Wine Bar, which has been described as “a neighbourhood local that also just happens to be a wine bar”.  It has also been dedicated to serving nothing but Ontario wines (along with a few craft beers and local spirits) since day one.  Born and raised in Niagara Falls, Laura’s passion for all things local continued to grow as she spent a number of years living and working abroad, never very far from a wine region.  She returned to Canada for good in 2016 after a stint running a wine bar and restaurant in New Zealand, with Chez Nous as a fully-formed idea that would take shape and become a reality over the next year.  It’s now been over three years, and hopefully will continue to support local wineries and help everyone realize just how awesome our wine is!

Breakout Room Speaker

Pierre Costa – SommDigital

Pierre is based in Napa Valley, California and has an exotic mix of digital marketing and wine experience. He founded SommDigital a consulting firm that develops and implements innovative digital marketing strategies specializing in wineries. He also lectures at Sonoma State University in Sonoma, California focused on Wine E-commerce and Digital Marketing. Before he moved to Napa, he spent over five years working with Digital Media Agencies in London (England) and Dublin (Ireland) managing the digital marketing of large corporate accounts including Bank of Ireland and eircom (telecom). He spent 10 years working in the wine industry in high knowledge positions including head sommelier for star Michelin restaurant Bon Appetit in Dublin (Ireland) and Café Journal in Brazil along with finance and marketing roles with Inglenook winery, Delicato Family Wines, and Naked Wines. He is known for having a fantastic palate which was proven when he won the 2014 Top Taster blind wine tasting competition at Flavor! Napa Valley. He holds a Masters degree in Electronic-Business from University College Dublin and an Honors degree in Mathematics from UNESP (Brazil). Pierre is a passionate Star Wars fan and enjoys archery and meditation.

Breakout Room Speaker

Greg Demmery – DCMS Network

Greg is shared owner of DCMS Network, DCMS Media, and DCMS Studio which combined creates the perfect retail storm.  The major focus of the retail based businesses includes Architectural Design, Retail Analytics, Linear Optimization, and Operational Augmentation, across Canada, USA and South America. His dedication and passion for retail was nurtured by working in various segments of the retail spectrum. These segments range from manufacturer to direct to consumer big box retailer, and his responsibility range from revamping new store designs, Category/Merchandising flow and agencies, marketing elements and operational efficiencies.  Furthermore, his obligation is to manage those relationships with corporate and franchisee stores to ensure a symbiotic relationship. In his spare time, Greg is a sports athlete, coach, mentor and supporter of non-for profit initiatives that develop our community and enhance the livelihood of the next generation. His devotion to supporting the community translated into volunteering as an executive for Habitat for Humanity and coaching multiple basketball teams at the house league and provincial level.

Breakout Room Speaker

Alana Fletcher – Alana Fletcher Interiors

Alana Fletcher is a Toronto-based designer who has worked in the interior design industry for over ten years. Bringing years of experience in film, fashion and travel to her work, her design focus has been primarily high-end commercial and residential spaces. Alana’s keen eye for innovative design and attention to detail has created dream spaces for a wide portfolio of clients. With an aesthetic favouring clean lines and modern spaces that are liveable and warm, Alana believes in timeless, solutions-based design. She and the skilled team of professionals at Alana Fletcher Interiors bring a global flavour and focus on classic materiality to every project, marrying their skills, vision and years of experience with the needs of every dream-space-in-progress.

Breakout Room Speaker

Peter Harris – LCBO

As an Auditor with Internal Audit Services of the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Peter oversees the management, administration and application of the Winery Audit Program. Performing audits on behalf of AGCO, VQA Ontario and the LCBO, the program ensures compliance to the Wine Content and Labelling Act, the Liquor Control Act and the Vintners Quality Alliance Act for each winery in Ontario and its appropriate government agency. While performing a full complement of audits, site inspections, inventory reconciliation and analysis are part of the audit program, providing information, insight and working collaboratively within the industry are, for Peter, equally top of mind. Peter has been with LCBO since 2008 and in his current role since 2012. In that time, the number of licenced wineries in Ontario has more than doubled and the modernization of the industry has continued unabated. When not immersed in all things Ontario Wine, Peter is an avid runner, yoga enthusiast, voracious reader and is currently learning to speak Italian.

Breakout Room Speaker

Suzanne Janke – Stratus Vineyards

Born and raised in the Niagara Peninsula, Suzanne’s passion for agritourism ignited with her first summer job at a prominent Niagara-on-the-Lake market that focused on selling local farm products to international visitors. There, her intrigue with clients from Asia propelled her to spend three years working in Japan and Korea after completing her degree in Business Communications. Excited about the evolution of Niagara’s culinary and wine potential, she returned home and has dedicated her career to the growth of Niagara’s wine industry from a visitor, cultural and consumer perspective – first as the Director of Tourism Marketing at Chateau des Charmes where she developed the wineries visitor and events program; and since at Stratus Vineyards where she was recruited in 2005 to be part of the opening management team. In her current role as Estate Director of Stratus, she is responsible for the retail, digital, hospitality programs and revenue, media and public relations as well as product, packaging sustainability and partnership initiatives. Known for her thorough understanding of Niagara’s wine evolution, progressive thinking and global vision, Suzanne actively participates on numerous industry committees and boards and has served as Board Chair for Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership, Wineries of Niagara-on-the-Lake and the International Cool Climate Chardonnay Celebration. Beyond work, she is happily sharing life’s adventures, delicious, cultural and otherwise, with her two young sons, Ellis and Félix.

Breakout Room Speaker

Paul Leary – Assemblage Consulting Group

Paul Leary is the founder of Assemblage Consulting Group, a firm focused on optimizing the profits of consumer-packaged goods businesses in California. As a leading Northern California entrepreneur and senior executive, Mr. Leary brings more than 20 years of business leadership, brand marketing, sales and operations expertise to his roles. Leary’s continual business concern is to build a company’s brand equity and financial returns by ensuring product and service quality while spearheading niche sales & marketing strategies that create consumer demand in the direct and wholesale distribution channels. During his tenure at St. Helena-based Duckhorn Wine Company, Leary oversaw the marketing and consumer sales for three distinct wine brands including Duckhorn, Paraduxx and Goldeneye. “Over the last decade, the premium sector of the consumer-packaged goods industry has become increasingly fragmented and competitive. The focus is on niche marketing, establishing direct relationships with clients, and maximizing the chain of influencers and peer-to-peer referrals. It’s up to the company to create the brand and then to let customers tell the story,” Leary says. Leary earned a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, a Certificate in eBusiness Strategy and Management from U.C. Davis Extension and a Certificate in Business Administration from U.C. Berkeley Extension. Paul and his wife live in the Napa Valley with their son and daughter where he is a proud husband, father and member of the Napa community.

Breakout Room Speaker

Richard Liu – Ontario Craft Cider

Richard Liu has been the Chair of Ontario Craft Cider Association since 2018, responsible for advancing craft cider’s industry development. A devoted local agriculture advocate, Richard grew up spending much of his childhood on his grandparent’s farm in Changhua, Taiwan. Having made stops in Taichung, Vancouver, Toronto, Taipei, Beijing, and Hong Kong, Richard has called Niagara-on-the-Lake home since 2013. Prior to entering the cider industry, Richard worked as a marketing specialist for various corporations, including Weber Shandwick and J.P. Morgan. Richard holds bachelor degree in Communication Studies and Political Science from York University.

Breakout Room Speaker

Laurie Macdonald – VQA Ontario

As the chief staff officer at VQA Ontario, Laurie oversees the management and operations of the Province’s wine authority.  VQA Ontario administers the Vintners Quality Alliance Act and associated regulations that establish an appellation of origin and quality assurance system for Ontario VQA wines.  VQA certification provides consumers with label integrity and the industry with a foundation to build consumer confidence in local wines. Laurie has been with VQA Ontario since its inception in 2000 and seen the Ontario wine industry establish an international presence and more than triple in size. Before joining VQA Ontario, Laurie was Registrar and CEO of Professional Engineers Ontario, responsible for the regulation of the practice of engineering in Ontario under the Professional Engineers Act.  Trained as a mining engineer, Laurie started her career in the mining and consulting engineering sector.

Breakout Room Speaker

Scott Morrison – Ontario Craft Distillers Association

Having left a three decade career in Design and Advertising Scott decided it was time to take his abundant enthusiasm and energy on a whole new adventure… making alcohol! After three years of dedication and hard work Heretic Spirits is producing and in the LCBO. With the second phase build out of a 40,000 square foot facility underway in Collingwood, Heretic Spirits is actively working with our fellow distillers to help make long term changes (for the better) to the distilling industry. His areas of interest are advocacy, branding and happily crafting new products on the still whenever he can. Scott is the CEO Heretic Spirits Inc., VP of Communications Ontario Craft Distillers Association.

Breakout Room Speaker

Shiraz Mottiar – Malivoire Wine Co.

Born and raised in Fergus, Ontario, Shiraz entered the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute at Brock University and was a member of its first graduating class in 2000. In the fall of that year, Shiraz joined the staff of the Malivoire Wine Company, a new winery on the Beamsville Bench recognized for raising the bar of Ontario wine with innovative methods, as Assistant Winemaker. He became Winemaker in 2005 and has embraced Malivoire’s founding philosophy: a winery’s excellence begins with healthy soil and vines. Shiraz continues to design and identify sustainable wine growing practices in Ontario, respecting each vintage as a unique event. Shiraz believes that the Niagara Peninsula is still defining its terroir, and he is determined, with each succeeding vintage, to contribute to that definition. Shiraz also owns a small Beamsville Bench vineyard, purchased in 2003, where he and his wife Isa live and farm three hectares of chardonnay, melon de Bourgogne and pinot noir.

Breakout Room Speaker

Rob Peck

Rob was born and raised on a small tender fruit farm in Prince Edward County. He received his Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1991.  Rob is a digital-signal-processing and software architecture specialist and has worked for various high-tech firms over the past 25+ years in Ottawa, Calgary, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Santa Clara. Rob is married with 3 children. Their family-owned 13+ acre vineyard was established in 2002 and contains 7 vinifera varietals.  Their winery retail store opened in 2007, with a core goal of producing 100% estate-grown wines. Rob used his engineering expertise to produce a point-of-sale software suite designed specifically for Ontario wineries. It not only provides sales features, but also generates all of the tax remittances necessary for Ontario wineries.  The software is currently running in 50+ wineries.

Breakout Room Speaker

Dave Robinson – Destination Canada

Prior to joining Destination Canada, Dave was Director General, Strategic Coordination at Veterans Affairs Canada, responsible for managing corporate governance, and the Department’s cabinet and parliamentary business. From 2001 to 2010 Dave led the Government of Canada’s preparations for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games. He led the coordination of over 30 federal departments and agencies and worked with provinces, local municipalities and First Nations to make the 2010 Games, “Canada’s Games.” Along with his team, Dave created the strategies and sought the funding that allowed the Government of Canada to take full advantage of the unprecedented platform the Games provided for the promotion of Canada internationally. From 1999 to 2000 Dave was Director of Government Relations for the Canadian Bankers Association. Prior to that, from 1993 to 1999, Dave worked as a senior political advisor to the President of the Treasury Board, supporting the Minister with the development of the Canada Infrastructure Works Program, the Minister of International Trade supporting the Minister’s work on International Business Development and planning for the Team Canada Mission (1997) and finally as Chief of Staff to the Minister of National Defence.

Breakout Room Speaker

Scott Simmons – Ontario Craft Brewers

Scott Simmons has been the President of the Ontario Craft Brewers Association since August 2017. Prior to that he spent 33 years in the packaged goods, retail, agency, and sport administration industries, most recently as CEO of Golf Canada (2007 – 2017), the governing body of golf in Canada. Simmons also has a deep interest and knowledge of the brewing industry, having previously worked as vice president, marketing and business development for The Beer Store (2001 – 2007), where he led the development of a long range strategic plan to guide the organizational retail renewal program. He has lived in Mississauga for the last 18 years, and he and his wife are the proud parents of four daughters.

Breakout Room Speaker

Julia Sousa – LCBO

Julia has been developing engaging and award-winning marketing campaigns for over 18 years. As a retail and brand marketing expert, she is a passionate believer in the vital role that communications plays in delivering engaging and memorable customer experiences that build customer loyalty. She is currently the Director of Category Marketing at the LCBO. She’s an Ontario Wines enthusiast. Her favourite style? A fresh flute of sparkling from our local regions.

 

 

 

Breakout Room Speaker

Sandra Tavares – Tavares Group Consulting Inc. / Staarsoft®

Sandra, an approved Ontario Viticulture and Winery Sustainability Auditor and certified Sustainability Professional, was introduced to Sustainability in her global Environment and Health & Safety (EHS) role for UK-based Marconi plc. In 2005, Sandra established Tavares Group Consulting Inc., a firm that emphasizes the process approach to sustainability. This approach has been formalized via the Sustainability Toolkit and its associated Staarsoft® software, which incorporates risk assessment and stakeholder concerns to ensure successful implementation of sustainability programs and meaningful reporting on material environmental and social issues. The approach has been successful in a number of sectors and presented at a number of national and international conferences, including Canect 2019, Automotive Industry Action Group’s 2015-2018 Corporate Responsibility Summits, 2016 World Ethical Apparel Roundtable, Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s 2015 Annual Conference & Expo, and the Canadian Society of Safety Engineering’s 2015 Professional Development Conference.

Breakout Room Speaker

Darren Ward – Vineland Research Innovation Centre

Darren Ward is the Manager of Business Planning and Commercialization at the Vineland Research and Innovation Centre.  Darren works with Vineland’s research teams providing support with commercial aspects and mapping the pathways to market for Vineland’s technologies. With a focus on the application of automation, machine vision and Artificial Intelligence technologies, he works directly with Vineland’s partners to ensure successful commercialization and the creation of impact in the horticultural sector. Darren’s past experience includes over fifteen years of product management, successfully managing and growing portfolios of high-technology products from initial customer need to launch and onwards. Darren holds an MBA and B.Eng in Electrical Engineering from McMaster University.

Breakout Room Speaker

Rick Wismer – MNP LLP

Rick Wismer, P.Ag, CAFA, CPA, CA, LPA, is a Partner in MNP’s St. Catharines office and Leader of the Agri-food and Beverage team for South Central Ontario. Rick delivers a broad range of services to businesses in the primary agriculture and food and beverage industries, such as wineries, craft breweries, cideries and distilleries, greenhouses and viticulture and horticulture operations. For 35 years, Rick has owned and operated commercial farm operations specializing in viticulture, cash crops, fruit and farm management services. This has given him real-life understanding of the challenges his clients face and the opportunities that can help them thrive. As a result, Rick is able to devise creative solutions to difficult problems. Rick has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Guelph, where he majored in business and economics. He is a Professional Agrologist (P.Ag.) and a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA), qualifying as a Chartered Accountant (CA). Rick is also a member of the Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) and a Licenced Public Accountant (LPA).

WHEN

THURSDAY, APRIL 2nd, 2020

Registration/Continental Breakfast: 8:00 a.m.

Conference: 9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Trade Show: 10 a.m. – 6:30 p.m.

WHERE

The Beanfield Centre (2nd floor), Canada’s greenest conference centre at Toronto’s Exhibition Place 105 Princes Blvd., Toronto, ON, M6K 3C3

Drop Us a Line

Let us know if you have any questions about the Ontario Craft Wine Conference & Trade Show?