Conference

2022 Conference Speakers

PETER BREHM is the owner of Brehm Vineyards where he has been helping amateur winemakers make better wine for over 45 years. He founded the retail shop Wine and the People in Berkeley, California in 1970 and began introducing home winemakers to fresh premium and ultra-premium grapes from renowned regions such as Carneros, Dry Creek, Stags Leap, Rutherford Bench, the Columbia River Gorge and Willamette Valley. In 1991 Peter created White Salmon Vineyard and Winery and assisted in the birth of the Columbia Gorge AVA. Brehm Vineyards is a leading provider of fresh and frozen grapes. Peter will answer your home vineyard questions in “Grape Growing Q & A”.

CHIK BRENNEMAN is the Winemaker and partner for Baker Family Wines.  In 1998, Chik graduated with a Master’s degree from UC Davis’s school of Viticulture and Enology and upon graduation, he went to work for Amador Foothill Winery, in Amador County, CA, Terre Rouge Easton Winery, and eventually became the production lab manager at Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi in Lodi California. In 2006, Chic was approached by the University of California at Davis to manage their winery. Chik retired from the University in March 2019 to devote full-time energy to Baker Family Wines. As well as being an enthusiastic home winemaker, in any given harvest he will make wine from over 50 different varietals. Chik also writes the “Varietal Focus” column in every issue of WineMaker magazine. Chik will lead “Managing pH & Acid” seminar on Friday and will also be part of the “Advanced Winemaking Q & A” seminar.  On Saturday,  Chik will participate in the “WineMaker Columnists Live: Winemaking Trends” and later will conduct the “Advanced Wine Chemistry” seminar. Chik  will lead the pre-conference “Home Wine Lab Tests Boot Camp” and post-conference “Wine Chem 101 Boot Camp” on Sunday.


NATHAN R. CARLSON Since 2010, Nathan has been the Winemaker and General Manager for Center of Effort wines in the Edna Valley AVA of San Luis Obispo, California.  More than two decades of managing production for small and large wineries has kept his learning curve steep.  Join Nathan on Friday for his “Sulfide Causes  Cures” seminar.


FEDERICO CASASSA Dr. Federico Casassa received a BS in Viticulture and a MS in Enology from the School of Agronomic Sciences in Mendoza (Argentina), and a Ph.D. in Wine Chemistry and Sensory Analysis from Washington State University (USA). He is an assistant professor of enology with the Wine and Viticulture Department of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he teaches wine sensory analysis and winemaking classes. He serves as the technical liaison for the commercial Cal Poly wine program at Cal Poly, regularly judges for local and international wine competitions, and consults in Chile, Argentina and the US. He was most recently awarded the new Best Scholar Award at Cal Poly. Dr. Cassassa will be leading “Impact of Different Maceration Techniques” on Saturday.


ALISON CROWE is a California native who credits much of her decision to become a winemaker to growing up on the Santa Barbara coast, just next door to wine country. A lover of science as well as the arts, applying to the world‐famous winemaking program at UC Davis was a natural decision. Two years into her studies she worked her first harvest season at Chalone Vineyard in Monterey County. After graduating from UC Davis with a double major in winemaking and Spanish, Alison made wine at Byington Winery and Vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains, specializing in estate Pinot Noir and spent almost five years at Bonny Doon Vineyard making wines with Randall Grahm. For the past seven years, Alison has crafted wines from Carneros, Monterey, Napa Valley, Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Santa Barbara County appellations. You may know Alison also as the author of the “Wine Wizard” column for WineMaker magazine. Alison will conduct the “WineMaker Workshop: Wine Wizard Live!” on Saturday and will join in on the “WineMaker Columnists Lice: Winemaking Trends” lunch program later.


JASON HAAS the son of Tablas Creek Vineyard founder and renowned importer Robert Haas, learned the wine business at an early age, accompanying his family on yearly European wine-buying trips and spending two summers working at Château de Beaucastel. After obtaining a Master’s Degree in Archaeology from Cornell and spending a four-year stint managing a tech company in Washington, DC, Jason moved to California to join Tablas Creek in April of 2002. At Tablas Creek, he oversees the business, winemaking, and sales and marketing operations. In addition to his work at Tablas Creek, Jason is Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, a past president of the Rhone Rangers, and a former board member of the Family Winemakers of California. His writing has been published in Wine Business Monthly, Wines & Vines, Decanter, Wine Industry Network and Zester Daily, and he is the principal author of the Tablas Creek blog, which has been a finalist at the Wine Blog Awards for Best Winery Blog eight times since 2008, winning in 2008 and 2011. Join Jason as the keynote speaker on Friday, July 16.

WES HAGEN received his training from the University of California-Davis extension program. He is consulting winemaker and brand ambassador for J. Wilkes Wines. Michael Cervin of Decanter Magazine recently declared Wes one of the most influential winemakers in the United States. Wes has grown and made wines that have scored 92+ in every major wine publication in the US. He also covers the world of hobby vineyards for WineMaker magazine writing our “Backyard Vines” column in every issue for the last 16 years. Wes offers home vineyard consulting, as well. He will be leading winemakers with “Home Vineyard Diseases & Pests” seminar on Friday as well as answering questions in “Grape Growing: Q & A” on Saturday.  During the Saturday lunch program, We will join other WineMaker columnists in the “Winemaking Trends” panel and later he will lead “10 Ways to Improve Wine in the Vineyard” seminar. Wes will be running the pre-conference “Backyard Grape Growing” Boot Camp on Thursday.


PAT HENDERSON
 is a veteran with more than thirty years of winemaking experience resulting in hundreds of gold medal winning and 90+ scored wines. Previously he has been chief winemaker for Kenwood vineyards, Valley of the Moon Winery and Hedges Cellars and he currently works as a winemaking consultant and wine educator in the Sonoma Valley. In addition to his work making wine, he also teaches winemaking classes for UC Davis Extension and Santa Rosa Junior College. A graduate of the Viticulture and Enology program at the UC  Davis, Pat supplemented his formal education by interning at five different wineries while getting his degree. After graduation he worked in both the Napa and Sonoma valleys before taking his first position as head winemaker at Hedges Cellars in Washington State in 1995. Pat will lead the pre-conference “Advanced Winemaking From Grapes Boot Camp” Thursday, June 2 and again on Sunday, June 5.

BOB PEAK Before joining The Beverage People in 2003, Bob was General Manager at Vinquiry, a wine testing laboratory in Windsor, California. Bob holds a degree in Chemistry from Harvey Mudd College and has pursued additional studies in wine at Santa Rosa Junior College and the University of California-Davis extension. Bob has a 1/3 acre hobby vineyard where he grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay and writes the “Techniques” column for the magazine. Bob will lead the pre-conference “Winemaking From Grapes Boot Camp” and post-conference “Judging & Scoring Wines Boot Camp.” On Friday, Bob will talk about “Finding and Choosing the Best Grapes” and will lead the “Enhancing White Wine Aromas” workshop. Join him on Saturday when he will  guide the conference seminar “Making Sparkling Wine at Home” seminar.

GENEVIEVE RODGERS is a winery and business consultant ranging from winery development, winemaking, new product development, and small business consulting.  Prior to becoming a consultant, Genevieve was the winemaker for Chateau Felice Winery. She is heading the “Starting Up a Commercial Winery Boot Camp” pre- and post-conference on Thursday and Sunday.

JOSE PIZARRO is a Technical Sales Manager for Fermentis Home segment in North America. He is a winemaker by trade from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, holds a MSc in Agriculture, Food Technology and Environmental Sciences from L’École d’Ingénieurs de Purpan in Toulouse, France and a few years ago did the Concise Course in Brewing Technology, from Siebel Institute. After graduating he worked three years in different wineries between France and Chile as a winemaker. In 2014 he joined Navarro y Cia and later Ge Corp, two craft beer supply companies based in Chile where he was in charge to develop business and give technical support to breweries in Chile, Perú and Argentina. In 2018 he moved to the United States to work for Fermentis in his current position. Jose’ will speak on Friday with “Choosing the Right Yeast Strain” seminar.


JIM SHUMATE Cellar master, winemaker and Cal Poly lecturer Jim Shumate brought lofty heights to the San Luis Obispo-based college’s Wine and Viticulture Program, implementing a new bottling line for the campus winery — among other notable achievements. Join Jim on Friday to hear him discuss “Must Adjustments”.


RICK THEINER is the President of Logic, Inc, makers of the Ecologic line of cleaning and sanitation products including One-step, Straight-A and San-Step. Rick will lead the “Cleaning for Better Wine” seminar on Saturday.


GAIL TUFFORD is the Technical Services Coordinator for Global Vintners Inc., the largest manufacturer of craft winemaking kits in the world. Gail has worked in the wine industry since 2007, specializing in craft winemaking and has helped thousands of winemakers across North America. Gail will lead the “Picking the Right Wine Kit for You” seminar on Friday and on Saturday, join Gail for “Wine Kit Troubleshooting”.