Momentum 2017

Momentum 2017 logo


The Must-Attend Event for the Lake County Winegrape Industry

Thursday, March 23, 2017
Soper-Reese Theater

Presented by the Lake County Winegrape Commission

Momentum 2017 graphic with John Szabo, panel of speakers and Liz Thach

2017 Momentum Program

  • Keynote: John Szabo, MS, author of Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power.
  • State of Lake County Wine Industry (Glenn Proctor, Ciatti Global Wine & Grape Brokers)
  • Preferences of the American Wine Consumer (Dr. Liz Thach, MW)
  • Business Succession Planning (Jeff Clark, Live Oak Bank)
  • Technical Tasting of Volcanic Wines (John Szabo, MS)

Keynote Speaker: John Szabo, MS

Volcanic Wines book by John SzaboMaster Sommelier John Szabo is partner and principal critic for, Canada’s largest wine publication. In 2004, he was the first Canadian to add the “MS” after his name, and he has been listed as “Canada’s best-known sommelier” in Meininger’s Wine Business International.

Mr. Szabo has published in dozens of magazines and newspapers, and his books include Pairing Food and Wine For Dummies and Sommelier Management. His latest book, Volcanic Wines: Salt, Grit and Power, hit the shelves in October 2016.

Preferences of the American Wine Consumer, Dr. Liz Thach, MW

What is the typical profile of an American wine consumer and what does he or she prefer from a wine marketing and product viewpoint? This fast-paced session provides insights into the types of wines Americans are drinking, as well as their reasons for doing so, average prices paid for wine, shopping locations, social media usage, and the answers to a few new questions on luxury wine, packaging, and label design.

Liz Thach, MWDr. Liz Thach, MW is the Distinguished Professor of Wine and a Professor of Management at Sonoma State University where she teaches in both the undergraduate and Wine MBA programs. Dr. Thach’s passion is wine, and she has visited most of the major wine regions of the world and more than 37 countries. In addition, she is an award-winning author who has published more than 120 articles and six wine books, including Call of the Vine and Wine – A Global Business and Wine Marketing & Sales.

Technical Tasting

Momentum 2017 included a technical tasting of wines from Lake County, inspired by John Szabo’s presentation on volcanic wines.
The tasting featured the following wines:

  • 2016 Shannon Ridge High Elevation Sauvignon Blanc, Lake County
  • 2013 Brassfield Estate Eruption, Volcano Ridge Vineyard, High Valley
  • 2014 Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Hills

It was led by Mr. Szabo with a panel of Lake County winemakers, including:

Joy Merrilees
Joy Merrilees
Director of Winemaking & Production, Shannon Ridge Family of Wines
Matt Hughes
Matt Hughes
Director of Winemaking,
Brassfield Estate Winery
Michael Terrien
Michael Terrien
Partner and Founding Winemaker,
Obsidian Ridge


View Recorded Videos from Momentum 2017

John Szabo, MS, Keynote Presentation

Dr. Liz Thach, MW, “Preferences of the American Wine Consumer”

Todd Azevedo, “State of the Lake County Wine Industry”

Jamie Watson, “Business Succession Planning”

Jay Silverstein, “Business Succession Planning”

Kaj Ahlmann, “Business Succession Planning”

Craig Ledbetter, “Business Succession Planning”

Jeff Clark, “Business Succession Planning”

“The Volcanics of Wine”: Discussion and Tasting


Download Momentum 2017 Presentations

State of the Lake County Wine Industry, presented by Todd Azevedo

Preferences of the American Wine Consumer, presented by Dr. Liz Thach

Considerations for Succession Planning, presented by Jeff Clark

Succession Planning, presented by Jay Silverstein

Estate Planning for Wineries and Vineyards, presented by Jamie Watson


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