Eager to tap into the latest technology, trends, and innovations shaping their industry, 14,000 wine and grape industry professionals from all over the world attended the 21st annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, which concluded its three-day run in Sacramento, Calif. on Jan. 29.
As the largest wine and grape industry event of its kind in the Western Hemisphere, the Unified event provides industry professionals with a unique opportunity to hear from experts on a range of emerging wine, wine grape, and marketing issues, while also visiting nearly 700 exhibitors spread across a 170,000 square-foot trade show floor.
Presented since 1995 by two nonprofit organizations, the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) and the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG), Unified’s growing importance highlights the wine industry’s critical need for current data and information.
“Winegrowers and winemakers are investing and managing for the long term, which is why solid, reliable information is so highly prized in our industry,” said John Aguirre, CAWG president.
“For over two decades, the Unified has served as a clearinghouse for that information, making the show a ‘must attend’ event.”
Setting the stage for the week was keynote speaker Rick Tigner, president of Jackson Family Wines, whose Tuesday luncheon address emphasized the importance of brand, quality, and sustainable practices.
Unified’s signature “State of the Industry” session on Wednesday morning delivered some of the most sought after perspectives on emerging marketing and production trends. This year, speaking to a standing-room only audience, the session’s experts forecasted a positive year ahead for high-end wine sales.
While Unified focuses primarily on American winemaking and wine grape production, nearly 30 countries are represented among the guests and exhibitors, underscoring the international flavor of the event. Each day includes sessions featuring expert panels addressing four topic areas: grape growing, winemaking, marketing-public relations and business/operations.
“No matter what aspect of the industry our attendees specialize in, they recognize the Unified as the starting place to make their plans for the year and to connect with services, suppliers and experts who can help them succeed,” said Lyndie Boulton, ASEV’s executive director.
“At the same time, the Unified is widely seen as the hub for friends and colleagues to reconnect, conduct business, and have some fun.”
The 2016 Unified will once again be held in Sacramento and is slated for January 26-28.