Insights into the industry that drives commerce in the Napa Valley, as well as the wildfire challenge that helped to define the area’s character, will be delivered at the Business Journal's 12th annual Impact Napa conference on Aug. 20.
Conference guests will get a look inside the Napa Valley wine industry as Richard Mendelson, of counsel for Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty in Napa as well as a noted author about the history of the industry in Napa, will interview Linda Reiff, president and CEO of Napa Valley Vintners. It's a not-for-profit trade organization that represents 550 wineries and 99% of the wine production in the region that promotes the industry and conducts education efforts about its impact in the local economy.
Reiff, a part of that effort as its leader since 1995, has family roots in the wine business in Yolo County and her late husband, Richard, was the co-founder and managing partner of Saintsbury vineyards and winery in Napa. She’s served on the board of the Land Trust of Napa County and Visit Napa Valley.
Wine and the current state of the Napa Valley wine industry will be explored by a panel of major players in that business. Mendelson will moderate, and discuss current trends and future outlooks will be Carol Reber, senior vice president, chief marketing officer of Duckhorn Wine Company; Jon Moramarco, managing partner of BW 166 LLC; and John Conover, general manager and partner in Plumpjack, CADE and Odette wineries.
BW 166 provides advisory services and data intelligence to the beverage alcohol industry. He’s also editor of The Gomberg Fredrikson Report and worked 10 years in leadership at Constellation Brands.
Conover joined PlumpJack Winery as general manager in January 1999 to oversee the daily operations of the estate winery and vineyard, provide strategic direction for the newly established property. it has steadily increased production from 1,000 cases to 10,000 cases annually. He’s a former board member of the Land Trust of Napa County.
Reber came to Duckhorn and the wine business in 2006 from stints at The Walt Disney Company, E. & J. Gallo Winery, Sony Pictures and Universal Studios. She helped conceive and launch nearly 40 new wines and Duckhorn Wine Company’s first new brand in 10-plus years.
The lessons of fire preparedness through the experiences of those who lived through historic 2017 wildfires will come from conference speakers Chris Canning and Ryan Gregory.
Canning was first elected to the Calistoga City Council in November of 2010 and in recent years has helped guide the Napa Valley community through business expansion, especially in the hotel industry. Along with the other citizens of Calistoga, Canning’s skills were tested by what came to be known as the Tubbs Fire, which erupted three miles north of the city on Oct. 8, 2017, eventually burning nearly 37,000 acres and destroying thousands of homes in Napa and Sonoma counties.
That fire, along with the Nuns and Atlas Peak fires, would burn about 140,000 acres, including portions of Napa County that Gregory represents on the Board of Supervisors. He was elected in 2016, bringing experience as a civil engineer to the board.
A present and the future look at the city of Napa is set to come from Mayor Jill Techel, who has held that post since April 2005, preceded by six years on the Napa Valley Unified District board.