The second annual Wines & Vines Packaging Conference recently held at the former Copia in Napa, California highlighted that fact. More than 300 artisans, wine makers and food enthusiasts attended the event. An outstanding lineup of speakers hosted seminars throughout the day on a variety of topics from innovative packaging and brand building to the technical aspects of wine packaging and its effect on wine quality.
The event, which is one of a kind to the wine industry, was created by Wines & Vines in 2014 and grew naturally out of their business-to-business business model, publishing, and data services.
Chet Klingensmith, President and Publisher of Wines & Vines, states “Wines & Vines identified the need to bring the wine industry together to focus on the critical subject of packaging. In this highly competitive industry with more than 9,000 wineries in North America, it is extremely important for wineries to have the best packaging strategy from concept through design, bottling and sales.”
Keeping industry professionals’ needs in mind, they created a key formula for making the event as helpful and educational as possible. With a full suite of expert speakers covering the most relevant issues in packaging from design to bottling, featuring exhibitors critical to packaging support, and having participants from all arenas in attendance, making it was a key networking experience.
“Wines & Vines has developed a unique event in the W&V Packaging Conference to present the industry with latest research, trends, best practices and technical aspects of packaging in a format that brings wineries and packaging vendors together for a highly targeted networking opportunity,” Chet Klingensmith continues.
With attendance up this year by 15% and a sold out trade show, the conference has fulfilled an important need within the industry.
Chet Klingensmith says, “This year we evolved and expanded the conference to present enhanced content on the subject of packaging.”
Those enhancements included many interactive experiences available to attendants throughout the day.
There were two technical labs examining wine quality and wine packaging. The morning session was devoted to exploring how bottle head- space related to wine quality and included comparative oxygen-in-wines tasting courtesy of Nomacorc. The afternoon lab focused on alternative packaging, with a discussion held about the pros and cons of packaging under cork vs screw cap and barrel vs keg aged wines used in bars and restaurants for wine quality. The lab was grounded in a comparative tasting sponsored by MALA Closures.
The all-day event also hosted a popular Speed Dating with Designers hour, giving attendees the chance to have private one-on-one consultations with acclaimed designers. With eight industry experts offering personal ten- minute consultations, participants got a rare and important chance to talk about their ideas and get sought after, individual feedback.
And, with the Conference’s sparkling wine bar opening at the same time, the area was effervescent with creativity and conversation.
Another highlight was the world premier of AC Nielsen’s survey reflecting the public’s true thoughts on wine packaging based on consumer buying trends. The survey was created and conducted explicitly for the 2015 Wines & Vines Packaging Conference. The enlightening results, presented by Steve Lamoureux, Senior VP of Product Innovation and Design Solutions for the consumer market and research firm Nielson, were discussed at length including what makes a product stand out to consumers using a variety of research methods.
With the design element of packaging being featured throughout the event, the conference included an inaugural package design contest. The entries were displayed throughout the day with participants voting on their best picks. There were two category winners Most Innovative and Best Overall and the winners were announced at the wine reception concluding the conference.
These new interactive elements married with cutting edge seminars led by industry experts the likes of Joe Wagner, Hend Letaief, and Gordon Burns, to name a few, created a seamlessly fun and educational experience.
Suppliers filled the hall with the newest and latest in wine packaging while attendees mixed and mingled between seminars, meeting old friends and making new ones.
The conference cast a wide net attracting many who work in fields orbiting the wine industry. Jeri Stoeber, Sales Representative for Spicer Bags, a San Francisco based company specializing in cork related gifts such as bags and wallets, attended to see if the conference would be a good venue for her company to exhibit her experiential winery tasting room gifts. Her positive experience left no doubt in her mind the event would greatly enhance her company’s exposure.
“I was amazed at the quality of the event. I came to make connections and see if this would be a good place to exhibit our products and decided it absolutely was. The layout was great, the coffee and snacks, the caliber of the people present was just exceptional. I made great connections and was impressed with what a good use of time it was, there was nothing extraneous about the event, everything was educational, innovative, and interesting,” Jeri Stoeber continues. “And the people there were all so friendly and one-on-one, it was a great experience and a perfect venue for those wishing to showcase their winery related products.”
Wines & Vines Packaging Conference will return in August 2016.