2023 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 “Keys to Wine Clarity” seminar on Friday and later this same day, he will also conduct the “Oak Side-By-Side Trials: Winemaker Workshop”.  On Saturday,  Chik will begin the day with “Troubleshooting Q & A” to answer your winemaking questions, and later Chik will participate in the “WineMaker Columnists Live: Winemaking Trends”.  On Thursday, June 1, Chik  will lead the pre-conference “Home Wine Lab Tests Boot Camp”.

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 17 years. Wes offers home vineyard consulting, as well. He will be leading winemakers with “Canopy Management” seminar on Friday and later with “5 Biggest Grape Growing Mistakes” seminar the same day. On Saturday, Wes will be answering questions in “Grape Growing: Q & A” and later that day during the Saturday lunch program, he will join other WineMaker columnists in the “Winemaking Trends” panel. Wes will be running the pre-conference “Backyard Grape Growing Boot Camp” on Thursday, June 1, 2023.

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 1. Join Pat on Friday when he leads “Advanced MLF Techniques” seminar.

AARON HYDE Aaron has been home winemaking and distilling for the last 15 years, and homebrewing for over 25 years. In 2008 he opened Brewstock Homebrew Supplies in New Orleans. He sold the business after five years and moved on to work as Director of Homebrew at Briess Malt. In 2018 he accepted a position at Bevie, where he is currently the global Portfolio & Strategy Manager, leading new product development and strategy for all categories of homebrewing, including Still Spirits branded products. Aaron has studied viticulture, wine making, and distilling, receiving certifications in all three areas from UC-Davis, Texas Tech, and the Institute of Brewing & Distilling, respectively. Let author of “How to Distill” walk you through the small-scale distilling process of brandy and answer your questions on Friday morning at the conference. Aaron will also be conducting “Distilling Boot Camp” pre-conference on Thursday, June 1.

JAMES OSBORNE James is a Professor and Enology Extension Specialist in the Food Science and Technology Department at Oregon State University and a member of the Oregon Wine Research Institute. He received his PhD from Washington State University in 2005 researching interactions between wine yeast and bacteria after which he spent time in his native New Zealand working at the University of Auckland. His research focuses on the impact of wine lactic acid bacteria, Brettanomyces, and non-Saccharomyces yeast on wine quality. James provides outreach programs for the Oregon wine industry such as technical workshops and seminars to aid in the transfer of relevant research results to winery application. In addition, James teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in support of the enology and viticulture program at Oregon State University. Join James on Saturday for his “Maximizing Cold Soaking” seminar.

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 Saturday, Bob will talk about “Making Limoncello & Citrus Liqueurs” and will be part of the  WineMaker Columnists Live: Winemaking Trends”.

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. Genevieve will discuss “Making Italian Reds” on Saturday and will be heading the “Small Winery Start-Up Boot Camp” post-conference on Sunday.

CLARK SMITH has been in the wine industry since 1972 and making wine since 1976.  Besides producing an eclectic mix of wines under and his own WineSmith label, he has dedicated for four decades his widely varied talents as a consulting winemaker, inventor, author, musician, and teacher to the Wine Industry throughout the globe with a particular focus on supporting small winery businesses.  Besides service to small winery business throughout the country, we also work to support the Sonoma community.  Clark will conduct a pre- and post-conference “2-Day Fundamentals of Modern Wine Chemistry Boot Camp“. You can also hear Clark on Saturday when he leads the “Post-Modern Tools for Building Wine Structure” seminar. 

J. RICHARD SPORTSMAN, PH.D. is the President of Vinmetrica, a company specializing in products for wine, beer and kombucha analysis, with a focus on simplicity, low cost, and quality. Rich has a Ph. D. in analytical chemistry from the University of Arizona and was the Vice President of Reagents and Assays at Molecular Devices from 2002-2008. He has over 25 years experience in life sciences research and development. Join Rich on Friday when he presents “Calibrating Wine Equipment” seminar and later this day with “Basics of Wine Analysis & Tests”.

began his career as a research and development chemist and went on to manage laboratories and quality assurance programs for several years in the food industry. He joined King Estate in 2011, working as Lab Manager and Director of Quality Assurance before moving into winemaking. In 2016 Brent was named Winemaker, adding Chief Operating Officer to his duties in 2018 where he is responsible for day-to-day oversight of winery operations. He received formal training in enology at Washington State University and earned his master’s degree in Agricultural Food and Life Sciences from the University of Arkansas. Meet Brent on Friday as the keynote speaker for lunch as he discusses why the Willamette Valley is so unique.