Nearly 200 vintners, public officials, economic stakeholders and industry leaders gathered Wednesday, July 26, 2017 at the Santa Ynez Valley Marriott for the EconAlliance Wine Forum organized in cooperation with the Santa Barbara Vintners Association. Keynote speaker Rob McMillan, VP/Founder, Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division, gave some surprising statistics, comparing Santa Barbara County to Napa, San Luis Obispo and other counties. Wine quality is world-class, but tourism and Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) sales are not competitive with other key wine regions due to a variety of factors, as evidenced by dialogue among DTC panelists Francesca Lindley (Sanford), Katy Rogers (Jackson Family Wines) and Sonja Magdevski (Casa Dumetz). Moderator Gabe Saglie of Travelzoo and Santa Barbara NewsPress generated discussion among tourism panelists Glenn Morris (Santa Maria Chamber and Visitors Bureau), Paul Patel (Explore Lompoc), Shelby Sim (Visit SVY) and Jennifer Walker (Visit Santa Barbara) about how marketing collaboration could be enhanced. The forum ended with a panel entitled “Visitors, Venues and Regulations”, featuring panelists Das Williams (1st District Supervisor, Santa Barbara County); Steve Lavagnino (5th District Supervisor, Santa Barbara County); and John Peschong (1st District Supervisor, San Luis Obispo County). Moderator Mike Brown, former Santa Barbara County CEO and Director of the Coalition of Labor, Ag and Business for San Luis Obispo County, had panelists draw comparisons between the two counties as to wine and tourism support.
The day ended with a reception featuring Kità and other Santa Barbara County wines and hors’ d’oeuvres. Premier Event Sponsor for the event was the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash, with event sponsors Clos Pepe, Aera Energy, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Soilmoisture Equipment Company, and Halsell Builders also supporting.
Click here to view Power Point: Steve Pepe’s Welcome Opening Remarks
Click here to view Power Point: Rob McMillan Keynote Speaker – EVP & Founder of Silicon Valley Bank