GaragisteCon 2023 Speakers

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JENNE BALDWIN-EATON has been a winemaker in the Colorado wine industry for the past 27 years. For 22 years, Baldwin-Eaton made award-winning wines from 100% Colorado grown grapes and was involved in all aspects of running a commercial winery. The success and growth of the Colorado wine industry is very important to Baldwin-Eaton and in 2017 she developed the first Associates of Applied Science Viticulture and Enology program at Western Colorado Community College, a division of Colorado Mesa University in Colorado. Baldwin-Eaton teaches a multitude of classes in the program, runs the wine lab, carries out practical research each harvest and leads the newly established Warren Winiarski/Gerald Ivancie Institute to Viticulture and Enology. Jenne will speak from 11 a.m.- Noon (EST) on “Improving Winery SOPs”.

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 speak from 2:15 – 3:15 p.m. on “Your Small Winery Lab”.

MICHAEL GAMBLE is the owner and winemaker at Blue Mule Winery in Fayette County, near Round Top, Texas.  He began his winemaking hobby in 2011 and moved on to commercial winemaking in 2014 at a local established winery.  The family decided to open their own winery in 2017 on the 10 acre farm purchased in 2011. Blue Mule Winery opened its doors in March 2018 in an existing building on the farm.  The success of the winery is its people and good wine, with an average annual increase in revenue over 25% and that includes being shut down for half of 2020. He is also a retired Project Director who managed successful petrochemical projects from hundreds of millions to over six billion dollars.  Michael graduated from LSU with a degree in Civil Engineering. Join Michael from 11 a.m. to Noon when he will speak about “Lessons I Learned Opening My Winery”.

PHIL PLUMMER has been making wine in New York’s Finger Lakes region for over a decade, spending the bulk of those years at Montezuma Winery, where he has served as head winemaker since 2013.  In his time at Montezuma, Phil has taken a lead role in the development and production of a wide-ranging portfolio of wines made from grapes, fruit, and honey, and was instrumental in the launch of Montezuma’s sister wineries, Idol Ridge and Fossenvue. Phil will discuss “New Yeast Technologies” from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.

JULIE RHODES, With over 13 years of experience on the business side of the beer industry and even more prior years within the service industry, Julie Rhodes is an authority on beer sales, digital marketing, sales team management, and distributor partnership management. She is the owner and operator of Not Your Hobby Marketing Solutions, an educational services and business consulting company built specifically for growing craft beverage brands, where she teaches small to medium-sized beverage alcohol companies how to increase sales by learning how to work smarter, not harder. In addition to being an educator, she is also a beer business writer, public speaker, is Cicerone Certified, a chapter leader within Pink Boots Society, and a member of the BA, the North American Guild of Beer Writers, the American Cider Association, Women of the Vine & Spirits and multiple state brewery guilds. Join Julie from 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. when she speaks about “Turning Social Media Posts into Wine Sales”.

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. From 4:45 – 5:45 p.m., Clark will discuss “Mitigating Smoke Taint”.

BRAD AND LISA WARNER, owners of Rutherford Equipment Rental and Leto Cellars, a commercial winery located in south Napa, help wineries reach their full potential. An innovator in wine production, Brad leveraged his experiences to develop cellar protocol that is used in nearly every modern winery today. He is also available as a consultant at any point in the winemaking lifecycle including equipment valuation, winery design, winemaking and winery equipment selection. For more than three decades, Lisa has honed her expertise in winery production strategy, supply chain and business operations. Having worked at every level in the wine business, she is known for maximizing efficiencies and solving problems to drive results. Lisa understands the needs and priorities of every department and leverages her experience on her customer’s behalf to achieve big goals. Join Lisa and Brad as they discuss “Renting Winery Equipment to Fit your Scale Goals” from 2:15 – 3:15 p.m.

GENI WHITEHOUSE is a consulting team member with the accounting and advisory firm, BDCo. Geni has been named one of the 25 most powerful women in accounting by CPA Practice Advisor, one of the Top 100 Influencers by Accounting Today magazine, and one of the Top 25 Thoughtleaders in Accounting. Geni is an instructor at the WISE Academy, where she teaches accounting concepts to winery staff and is a former board member of the Napa/Sonoma Chapter of Women for WineSense where she served as Education Director. Geni’s seminar on “Winery Financials 101” from 12:15 – 1:15 p.m. is the first of two discussions this day with her second discussion from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m. on “Moving the Needle on Winery Profits”.

DAVID WONDER from MoreFlavor will be speaking from 3:30 – 4:30 p.m. when he leads the “Determining New Winery Equipment Needs” seminar.