Organized by the Wine Business Institute of Sonoma State University (California) and sponsored by Lynmar Estate, the first world conference about wine business education was held under the name of “Global Wine Business Conference”.
The aim of the event was to pinpoint the emerging changes of the wine industry, as well as the core skills and competencies that professionals of the sector will need in the future. It gathered academic leaders from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Chile, China, England, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, and Spain, who presented the realities of each country’s wine industry and their wine business education programs. Javier Merino, CEO of Área del Vino, participated in this intense cycle representing Argentina.
Among the conclusions, participants stressed the main changes in the consumption and distribution in the markets.
Per capita consumption in the traditional countries, such as France, Spain, and Italy, has drastically dropped, whereas Canada, United States, and China have experienced a growth. Argentina’s phenomenon is similar to traditional countries’, suffering a significant fall in consumption in the past few decades.
Onther of the general observations was that those countries focusing their business on exports, like Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and Chile, have achieved an important expansion in hectares of planted vineyards and in the amount of wine produced.
Finally, it is worthy to highlight that in the last years, wineries’ direct-to-consumers sales and online sales have grown considerably.
Panel of owners and professionals of the wine industry
As part of the cycle of conferences, the event includes a panel of winery owners who took part in the discussions from their own experiences. This panel was comprised by Lynn Fritz from Lynmar Estate, Jeff O’Neill from Ram’s Gate, Peter Mondavi Jr. from Charles Krug, and Tom Klein from Rodney Strong. The topics posed were about the changes of focus, from products to sales, as well as on the increasing importance of the wine industry’s professional in the value chain of wine. Peter Mondavi underlined the importance that the knowledge of the market has today. Owners considered that it is crucial that vine-growers and winemakers think more systematically. Tom Klein, from Rodney Strong added that it is fundamental for wine professionals to acquire integral knowledge about all aspects of the business.
The event also saved a space for professionals that perform executive activities in wineries. This panel includes Joel Miller, from Jackson Family Wines, Nancy Bailey from Gary Farrell Winery, Tom Blackwood from Boisset Family Estates, Abigail Smyth from Estates Heck, and Michael Holden from Wine Estates del Tesoro. Panelists emphasized the need to train the workforce of the future, to face the uncertainty, to develop business models and to explore the multifunctional cultural management.
After several debates…
After intense debates on different aspects correlating the wine industry with the education of professionals, some conclusions were reached, such as how to adapt the curriculums in the Universities to offer students subjects more valued by different wine companies. Other of the observations was the need of understanding new consumers’ behavior: how to understand the “Millennials” generation and how to teach students this aspect. Finally, the importance of make students get involved in the industry was also highlighted in the conference.
Translation: Carolina Lucesole