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New Trade Show for Eastern Wineries

Eastern Winery Exposition to debut in March 2012 in Pennsylvania

by Hudson Cattell and Linda Jones McKee
Bob Mignarri
Bob Mignarri is busily planning the inaugural Eastern Winery Exposition for March 2012.

Lancaster, Penn.—January through April tends to be the quiet season in North American vineyards, which is why it’s become the go-to season for conventions, seminars, trade shows and state meetings for the grape and wine industry. For decades, it’s been kicked off by the massive Unified Grape & Wine Symposium, based in Sacramento, Calif., in late January. Washington state and Oregon each hold convocations the following month ; the Midwest Regional in St. Louis, Mo., and the Cold Climate Conference in Minnesota also are scheduled in February; and Wineries Unlimited in Richmond, Va., takes place in March. Many states east of the Rockies have statewide meetings that include small trade shows during the same time period.

Does the wine industry in the East really need another trade show? Bob Mignarri of Quality Event Management in Warwick, R.I., thinks the answer is a definite “yes.”

In 2011, Wineries Unlimited moved its trade show and conference from Pennsylvania to Virginia. Given transportation costs and economic restraints, many growers and winemakers in New York, New England and even Pennsylvania felt that southern Virginia was too far away to get to easily, and chose not to attend.

As of 2012, that segment of the industry will have another option: Mignarri recently announced that he will stage an eastern-focused wine industry trade show and conference called the Eastern Winery Exposition in Lancaster, Penn., on March 7 and 8, 2012. His goal is to provide Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern wineries and vineyards with an easily accessible, low-cost professional meeting with a large number of winery and vineyard suppliers in early March, prior to the start of spring work in the majority of vineyards. A strong Eastern-focused conference program and networking events also will be featured.

Exhibitors already sign up

Mignarri, who managed the Wineries Unlimited trade show from 1994 to 2010, has 29 years of trade show and conference management experience and will be in charge of producing the Eastern Winery Exposition. Richard Leahy, who was the program director at Wineries Unlimited from 2000 to 2010, will be the conference director. His responsibility will be to develop a practical, relevant seminar program for eastern wineries and growers, with respected industry leaders speaking about eastern-oriented viticulture, enology, marketing, economic and environmental sustainability issues.

According to Mignarri, the Eastern Winery Exposition will be exhibitor-friendly. All eastern vineyards and wineries will be able to attend the trade show at no charge. Exhibitors will have an unlimited supply of free trade show admission passes, which can be used to invite customers and prospects both electronically and by hard copy to the exhibits and to the free exhibit hall lunch.

The Eastern Winery Exposition will be held at the Lancaster Convention Center and Marriott Hotel, a new facility that opened about two years ago. In less than two weeks after the trade show was announced, 55 exhibitors had contracted for booth space. Plans are under way to work closely with state associations to ensure their participation.

Mignarri told Wines & Vines, “Our goal is to provide a forum for Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern wineries and growers to meet with suppliers. This will give them another opportunity to engage in networking opportunities.”

For general information or information on exhibiting, contact Bob Mignarri. Quality Event Management at (401) 885-8788, ext. 11; or by email at Contact Richard Leahy about the conference program at (434) 293-6230, or by email at

There is no connection between Eastern Winery Exposition and Wineries Unlimited. Wineries Unlimited is expected to be held again in 2012 in Richmond, Va.



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