2019 “Why Wine Matters” EconAlliance/Santa Barbara Vintners Forum
Approximately 150 wine industry and economic stakeholders attended the June 27th EconAlliance/Santa Barbara Vintners “Why Wine Matters” Wine Forum held at the SYV Marriott. Program included an economic analysis of the region in comparison to other regions (Rob McMillan, EVP/Founder, Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division) as well as remarks by Santa Barbara Vintners CEO Alison Laslett on why a Wine Business Improvement District (Wine BID) would help make the region more competitive. A panel on the “Legacy Investment of Wine Country Vintners” was moderated by Bion Rice, CEO and Winemaking Director, Sunstone Vineyards and Winery, with panelists being: Katie Grassini, CEO, Grassini Family Wines; David Lafond, General Manager, Lafond Winery & Vineyards; Michelle Lafond, Marketing Director, Santa Barbara Winery/Lafond Winery & Vineyards; and Marshall Miller, Vice President Operations, Thornhill Companies. Audience tasting of wine from each of the three vineyards was included in the program, with attendees tasting the J. Wilkes 2017 Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay, the 2016 Lafond Winery & Vineyards SRH Pinot Noir, and the 2015 Grassini Family Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.