SANTA ROSA -- In its first year, the North Coast Wine Industry Expo, set for Dec. 5 in Santa Rosa, has attracted nearly 200 exhibitors and registrations from more than 800 local wine industry professionals.
One hundred ninety exhibitors reserved booths in Grace Pavilion at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds, surpassing the original goal of 150 in two months, according to George Christie, a wine marketing veteran and one of the organizers of the North Coast Wine Industry Expo (707-433-2557, wineindustryexpo.com).
More than 800 have registered so far for the event. The building can accommodate 1,500. Organizers are considering renting the adjacent Hall of Flowers building for 2013, which could hold another 100 to 115 exhibitor booths.
"It's the time of year when a lot of wineries are planning for the coming year and vendors want to showcase new products and services," Mr. Christie said. "We want to make that planning easier.
The four conference sessions, which have three speakers each, start at 9:30 a.m. and run through 3:30 p.m.
The first panel will cover viticulture, particularly what growers can do to manage contracts and labor at a time of high demand for grapes. Speakers include Hector Bedolla, owner of Grape Wise and ranch manager for Stuhlmuller Vineyards in Sonoma County's Alexander Valley, Dickenson Peatman & Fogarty contract and real property attorney Caroline Boller and Mark Chandler, who started Lodi-based Chandler & Company wine and food marketing consulting firm earlier this year after two decades as head of the Lodi Winegrape Commission.
Next will be a panel discussion of marketing, particularly related to connecting wineries directly to consumers. Discussing the value of social media in this pursuit as well as properly collecting and managing consumer data will be social media critic Michael Houlihan, a founder of Barefoot Cellars, a management consultant with Houlihan & Jones and an investor in telesales firm Provino Wine Services; social networking analysis software developer and proponent Paul Mabray, chief strategy officer of Napa-based VinTank; and Ryan Thurman of Santa Rosa-based Contact Center Compliance Corp., which makes software that scrubs contact lists for numbers on the national Do Not Call registry.
The production panel will explore new versus long-used technologies. Speakers include winemakers Sara Fowler of Peju Province Winery on the Napa County side of Los Carneros appellation, Lisa Amaroli of Benziger Vineyards in Sonoma Valley and Nick Goldschmidt of Goldschmidt Vineyards near Healdsburg.
Tackling strategies for managing deals with distributors and brokers in the coming year will be Dan Kosta, founder of Sebastopol-based Kosta Browne Winery; Julie Pedroncelli St. John, vice president of marketing for Pedroncelli Winery in Alexander Valley, and Janet Viader, director of sales and marketing for Viader Vineyards in Deer Park near St. Helena.