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Gathering Heralds New Technology

September 2008
by Paul Franson
Wine Industry Technology Symposium, WITS
Corporate marketing director Jennifer Lemming, vice president of channel development Andrea Johnston, and director of channel development Pascal Davis represent Inertia Beverage at WITS.
PHOTOS: Smoke Wallin/Wine Industry Technology Symposium
Napa, Calif. -- More than 300 attendees from wineries, technology suppliers and other organizations attended the fifth Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) in Napa, where participants heard about trends in logistics that could affect their companies.

WITS co-founder and co-chair Lesley Berglund said topics for the symposium were determined by a select winery council, with key issues including the next generation of direct consumer interaction, notably online social networks. Other key topics included upcoming compliance issues, "greening" of the industry, collecting and using meaningful data, and strategic technical leadership. Berglund also announced that the conference is donating funds for technical research to the Wine Institute.

Wine Industry Technology Symposium, WITS
Smoke Wallin (left), co-chairman of WITS, talks with Jack Clare of Constellation Brands.
Wine Industry Technology Symposium, WITS
Scott Rounds (right) of Domaine Carneros gets animated with Tim Heaton of Wine Strategies.

The first keynote speaker, Ben Gordon, is an expert in logistics who outlined the many changes occurring in shipping, primarily due to the high cost of fuel. The second keynote speaker was Scott Shaw, whose promotional company Fishbowl is named after the common depository for business cards at many retail locations. His firm helps restaurants mount e-mail campaigns, and he said they've proven a very effective means to promote businesses.

Wine Industry Technology Symposium, WITS
Bob Barnes, chief information officer of Korbel, raises a glass of his brand's sparkling wine.
Wine Industry Technology Symposium, WITS
Scott Diehl (right) discusses Trade Pulse, where he serves as VP of corporate technology.

Breakout sessions in four tracks--technology leadership, consumer direct sales, trade sales and marketing, and vineyard and winery--followed the general session.
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