Eastern Winery Exposition | Conference Program

2018 Conference Program

Plans are underway now for the 2019 EWE in Syracuse. The 2018 information remains in place for now. We’ll add the 2019 details as they evolve, beginning in the late Summer.

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“From wine marketing, to viticulture and enology, the Eastern Winery Exposition’s program schedule has it all.”

– Sam Filler, Executive Director, New York Wine and Grape Foundation

Highlights of the 2018 program:

    • 30 Conference sessions & Workshop modules with the focus on Enology, Viticulture and Money/Management/Marketing
    • 50% new-to-EWE Speakers: David Collins, Andrew Hodson, Jim Law, Luca Paschina, Emily Pelton, Roman Roth, Jeff White and more
    • Returning EWE Superstars: Barry Gump, Bubba Beasley, Tim Benedict, Denise Gardner, Lucie Morton, and more
    • One Full Day Workshop focusing on Sparkling Wines
    • A second Full Day Workshop on Managing Microbes to Avoid Spoilage
    • Emphasis on grape & wine issues, with more viticulture & enology sessions
    • Sessions dedicated to High-End Red Bordeaux style wines, Re-Thinking Cabernet Franc, Dry Rosé Sauvignon Blanc
    • Money/Management/Marketing: two special EWE sessions presented by the License to Steal Wine Marketing Conference
    • 30 state and industry associations offering conference registration discounts to their members

Workshops & Conference at a Glance

All EWE Workshop & Conference sessions take place in the Commonwealth Ballroom.

The program schedule and session descriptions in chronological order are available on the Schedule page. Speaker biographies can be found on the Speaker page. 

Click here to close all sessions.

WORKSHOPS: Workshop 1: Sparkling Wine

Sparkling Wine
Eric Baumann, Tim Benedict, Jerry Forest, Lisa Hinton, Richard Leahy, Gilles Martin & Maya Hood White
From prosecco to cava and sparkling moscato, sparkling wine is experiencing a boom in popularity with American consumers. Given the Eastern climate’s bright acidity for early-picked grapes, Eastern wineries can take advantage of this trend. This workshop will start with an overview of the world sparkling wine market and trends, then delve into production specifics with two sessions on traditional method sparkling wine, a session on petillant naturel or pét-nat along with forced carbonation method, concluding with the participating winemakers discussing how their sparkling wines are packaged and marketed.

Richard Leahy
Conference Manager Richard Leahy will present data on the world sparkling wine market trends.

Eric BaumannJerry Forest & Gilles Martin
Each of these traditional method sparkling winemakers will discuss details of their processing in the first stages, with data on harvest parameters, grape varieties and ratios, press time and pressure, free run vs. press wine, yeast preference, primary and malolactic fermentation time and temperatures.

Eric BaumannJerry Forest & Gilles Martin
In part 2, the panelists will shift to the second fermentation in bottle, time en tirage, blending lots including other grapes and older reserve lots, dosage, riddling and disgorgement, bottling, and time in bottle before release.

Lisa Hinton,Tim Benedict & Maya Hood White
Winemakers Lisa Hinton and Maya Hood White will speak on pét-nat sparkling wine, an ancient process for sparkling wine that is now getting trendy, while Tim Benedict speaks on forced carbonation sparkling wine for contract clients he manages.

Eric BaumannJerry Forest, Lisa HintonGilles Martin & Maya Hood White
The panelists will speak to how their sparkling wines are packaged and marketed to their target customers.

*This session will begin at 4:00 PM.

Workshop 2: Managing Microbes in Winemaking to Avoid Spoilage

Managing Microbes in Winemaking to Avoid Spoilage
Eglantine Chauffour and Molly Kelly
Microbial contamination and its consequences are major threats to wine quality. Controlling the growth of microorganisms during the winemaking process is vital to successful fermentations, wine stability and quality. During this full day workshop you will learn more about:

  • Major wine microbes’ development and faults, including two sensory sessions of microbial wine faults.
  • The proper use of anti-microbial agents and their effects on wines.
  • How to detect microbes in wines and the importance of being proactive with an early detection of microbes in the cellar and wine.
  • Basic sanitation principles.

We will also discuss the effects of SO2 in winemaking and how to produce stable wines with low or no SO2 additions, and will focus on antioxidant and antimicrobial alternatives to SO2.

Sanitation and microbial control is essential to produce quality wines. All winemakers, enologists and cellar workers will benefit from this workshop.

Eglantine Chauffour
Eglantine will outline the major spoilage microbes that affect wine, how they grow and manifest wine flaws. Also techniques to manage, negate or suppress spoilage microbes will be discussed.

Eglantine Chauffour and Molly Kelly
Eglantine and Molly will explain and associate wine flaws and off-flavors with spoilage microbes development. Attendees will experience in a sensory (only olfactory) evaluation.

Molly Kelly
Molly will explain the need for proper winery sanitation in reducing the risk of unwanted microbial activity and the importance/methods of early detection of microbes in the cellar and wine.

Eglantine Chauffour and Molly Kelly
Some of the most common wine flaws, which can lead to spoilage, develop when oxygen allows microbes in the wine to develop. Eglantine and Molly will work together and present a second sensory (only olfactory) evaluation of flawed wines based on microbes interacting with oxygen.

*This session will end at 3:35 PM.

Eglantine Chauffour 
Eglantine will discuss the effects of SO2 in winemaking and how to produce stable wines with low or no SO2 additions. She will focus on antioxidant and antimicrobial alternatives to SO2. The workshop will conclude with a Q&A session from both Eglantine and Molly.


Michael Jones
Michael will take a look at select alternative and non-traditional yeasts, their uses in the winemaking process with an eye towards Eastern issues/environments, and their potential beyond simply converting sugar into alcohol.

Heather Clauss, Kirsty Harmon and Justin Rose
Keg wine is a rapidly growing trend, and not just for giant conglomerates. Kirsty and Justin, Virginia winemakers at small wineries, explain why they are kegging wine, how it helps them with on-premise sales and some of the financial advantages. They will also cover:

  • The benefits for wineries to use kegs in distributing their wines
  • How kegs help a winery get into the marketplace faster and how they help increase wine by-the-glass programs at restaurants
  • How the winery’s profile is increased with keg wines and how it helps marketing efforts
  • The production issues and distributor relations when dealing with keg wines.

Heather, of Free Flow Wines in Napa, will discuss how Free Flow has pioneered the wine-on-tap category since 2009, providing keg leasing, filling and logistics services to wineries on the east and west coasts, while supporting operators nationwide to help facilitate converting BTG program to on-tap.

Benoit PineauPhil Plummer & Jeff White
In the last 15 years cabernet franc in the East has evolved from a curiosity, often made with virused plant material planted on the wrong rootstocks on the wrong soils, full of weedy bell pepper twang, to an elegant French style wine, fit for showcasing the best of Eastern terroir either as a varietal or a blend component. Session V01 explains what has changed on the viticulture side, and this panel of three Eastern winemakers will pour and discuss wines that should make us re-think cabernet franc today and how it can be well expressed in very different ways, ranging from the fresh, unoaked style to high-end reserve wines.

Jim Law, Luca Paschina & Roman Roth
How do you make a world-class red Bordeaux-style wine in the East? Three of the best winemakers in the East will pour and discuss their high-end red Bordeaux-style wines, with both blends and varietal examples, and their techniques. Jim and Luca will pour and discuss their iconic red meritage-style blends, Hardscrabble (cabernet sauvignon-dominant) and Octagon (merlot-dominant), while Roman will do the same with his ultra-premium merlot, Christian’s Cuveé Merlot.

Barry Gump, PhD
Barry will review the critical laboratory test equipment every winery needs, as well as how to set up your lab, conduct basic test calibrations, and how often to run various tests. Being capable of monitoring the chemical status of your wine gives the winemaker important information on how the winemaking process is going.

Barry Gump, PhD
In the analysis for acetic acid (the analytical measurement of VA) using a Cash still, there are a variety of published methods suggesting the collection of various amounts of distillate for titration. Using a standard acetic acid solution, Barry’s students verified that they had quantitative recovery with 100 mL of distillate. This means that wineries do not have to spend additional time collecting a larger volume of distillate.

The Ripper method using standard iodine to titrate free sulfur dioxide in wine is faster to run than the aspiration (Aeration/Oxidation) method. However, with red wines it is difficult to see the Ripper endpoint, and analytical results tend to be 10-15 mg/L of SO2 higher than those obtained with the aspiration method. Using an electrochemical endpoint for the Ripper titration eliminates the need for a visual endpoint and gives results closer to those obtained with the aspiration method in red wines. The analytical procedures for both VA and SO2 analyses will be described, along with an explanation of the calculations required for obtaining results.

Denise M. Gardner
Yeast assimilable nitrogen, or YAN, provides the nutritional content of a must/juice at the start of fermentation. Many winemakers have found an improvement in wine quality when they determine YAN and alter winemaking production decisions based on the value. Poor production decisions have previously focused on using the same nitrogen supplementation strategy with little consideration for the YAN or other parameters (e.g., fermentation temperature) that can affect fermentation. Currently, both industry and academia are working on YAN related research, and they continue to develop new nitrogen recommendations in order to minimize the risk of hydrogen sulfide production by the end of fermentation. This presentation will focus on breaking down outdated nitrogen supplementation routines, review the importance of treating fermentations specific to the fruit’s YAN content, and provide suggestions for supplementation when dealing with low or high YAN fermentations.


Jim Law
Jim grows wine in a climate where rain falls throughout the growing season. Years ago this was considered a disadvantage, but now we understand that our climate can contribute to making unique, terroir driven wines. At Hardscrabble Vineyard, Linden’s estate vineyard, Jim has spent over thirty years obsessively planting, removing, and replanting vineyard blocks to best conform to its soils, slopes and climate. Their cellar practices are traditional, eschewing additives, with the goal of showing terroir expression over winemaker intervention.

Tim BenedictDave Collins & Emily Pelton
Industry statistics show that sauvignon blanc is rapidly growing in popularity in the American market. Although small as a percentage of Eastern varietal white wines, outstanding sauvignon blanc in a regional style is now being produced across the East, giving producers a chance to showcase a popular, classy white alternative to chardonnay. Panelists will share viticultural highlights and processing regimens, and how they decide their styles.

Dave CollinsRoman Roth & Jeff White
Dry rosé has exploded in popularity across the U.S., especially near sophisticated urban centers, and the East has the natural advantage of high natural acidity and bright fruit across the varietal spectrum. Every Eastern winery should consider dry rosé, not only for consumer popularity but for quick ROI with release the spring after harvest. The panel members all make impressive dry rosés using red Bordeaux varieties and syrah. They’ll discuss viticultural highlights, blend ratios, fermentation regimen and oak vs. stainless use, style choices and consumer response.

As noted by Roman Roth, “Rosé needs to be elegant, light, vibrant and fresh. Finding the perfect balance is both an art and a challenge, but with planning and careful execution, the result is a wine that has distinct character and ripe fruit notes. When a winemaker takes the rosé category seriously, the rewards can be enormous.”


Monika Elling
The wine industry has historically used the word marketing in a loosely applied manner. Typically it has signified sales-related programming with a focus on distribution. True marketing involves all facets of communication tied to a brand story. It is time for wineries to discover how to build their brands with all aspects of true marketing. Monika will elaborate.

Jay Donovan
It may seem counter-intuitive to think that digital tools and content could play a role in the world of wine. After all, we’ve been making it, drinking it, and selling it just fine, for thousands of years without any digital help. However, as our world speeds up with each passing year of digital innovation, the tools and content afforded by these rapid changes have affected our consumer expectations and caused them to change just as fast. Even at the cost of what can feel like our own sanity, we expect more information, more efficiency, and more decision-making help with each product we make, see, or buy—courtesy of the little computers we carry around in our pockets called Smartphones. The truth is that Smartphones actually can help us see the world in a different way—metaphorically as well as literally. This leads to the next set of digital content and tools to contend with: Machine Learning and the powerful Computer Vision it enables. We’ll take a look at how this burgeoning technology is leaving the hype cycle and could help wine growers, sellers and buyers alike. 

Marybeth Williams and Lindsey Zahn
“They want me to do WHAT!?!?” How to remain afloat in the winding river of alcohol law?
Join industry legal experts for a spirited discussion on the ever changing regulations that impact how wineries do business today. We will discuss some recent regulatory and policy changes, along with providing some clarification on hot topics like advertising and social media. This discussion in a must for both current winery operations as well as those individuals thinking about starting a winery or wine business.

Dennis Urffer, CPA, CSEP
Dennis will provide guidance and tips for a profitable winery operation including the art of pricing your wine. He’ll discuss how to educate your customer and manage your business. Attention will be given to the secret of working on your business rather than working in your business. He will provide the basics of how to determine the cost of each bottle you produce, setting the correct profit margin in conjunction with the development of a working budget. Various tax matters concerning production costs will also be discussed.


Manolo GomezLucie MortonBenoit Pineau
In the last decade, cabernet franc has made a dramatic transformation in quality and style across the East. Session E03 will focus on winemaking, while the panelists in this session focus on the changes in viticulture that have enabled this transformation: certified ENTAV clones, site selection and rootstock matching for site and clone, and canopy management improvements like the timing of leaf removal, with examples from their vineyards.

Bubba Beasley and Lucie Morton
Hydro-geologist Bubba Beasley and viticulturist Lucie Morton apply the general definition of mapping — graphical representation of a procedure, process, structure, or system that depicts arrangement of and relationships among its different components, and traces flows of energy, goods, information, materials, money, personnel, etc.— to winegrape vineyard settings. Ideally, vineyard mapping will reveal the essential elements of a site including weather, topography, soil, flora, fauna, and hydrology in a way that informs decisions on varietal and rootstock selection, site development, vineyard design, and management strategies. They will team up to produce a memorable and educational “Power of Ten” view (from 106 to 10-6) of the ecosystem elements that go into quality fruit production.

Michela Centinari and Maya Hood White
Michela and Maya will present data on studies with different grape varieties in different states (PA and VA). Michela will present data collected in Pennsylvania on marquette, lemberger and riesling on defensive pruning strategies to reduce the risk of spring frost damage.

Maya will discuss frost and cold damage mitigation in grapevines in central Virginia, with a focus on the techniques implemented to lessen vine damage and crop loss due to frost and freezes. Techniques primarily include pruning strategies for cordon and cane pruned vines, as well as use of sprays and heat sources.

John Halbrendt
Only a few plant-parasitic nematodes cause problems in vineyards but the damage can be significant and long-lasting. It may take years for nematode populations to reach damaging levels and typically growers are not aware of the problem until the vineyard is in full production.  The most effective nematicides have either been banned or are highly regulated due to environmental concerns and it is difficult to control nematodes once an infestation is established. Therefore, the best practice is to prevent nematode problems from occurring. John will provide an overview of the various nematode problems that affect grapes and discuss available chemical controls and cultural practices that can be used before the vineyard is planted to mitigate or eliminate losses from nematodes.

Peter Oudemans
This presentation will focus on strategies and techniques for controlling diseases in the vineyard. Peter will cover the five major diseases that require significant attention throughout the season as well as other more recalcitrant diseases. Reasons for failure to control disease will be discussed and a troubleshooting checklist will be provided.

Kerry Scott
Who will harvest our grapes? What you need to know about how the H-2A guest worker program can solve your seasonal labor needs.

Conference Manager

Richard LeahyRichard Leahy has organized major wine industry conference seminar programs from Pennsylvania to Minnesota since 1997, and has been writing about wines of Virginia and the East since 1986. In 2007 he organized the Virginia Wine Experience in London which brought the top 64 Virginia wines there for leading British wine media and trade to taste. He was a regional editor for Kevin Zraly’s American Wine Guide, and was Mid-Atlantic and Southern Editor for the Oxford Companion to the Wines of North America. He was East Coast Editor of Vineyard & Winery Management for over ten years. He is a member of the Society of Wine Educators and the Circle of Wine Writers. Richard’s book on Virginia wine, Beyond Jefferson’s Vines, now in a second edition, was first published in 2012 by Sterling Publishing. He also has a website and blog focused on wines of the East at www.richardleahy.com.

Program Advisory Board

Thank you to the EWE Program Advisory Board for their input, ideas, feedback, and suggestions that continue to make the EWE Conference stronger every year.

  • Tim Benedict, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards, New York
  • Jerry Forest, Buckingham Valley Vineyards, Pennsylvania
  • Denise Gardner, Denise Gardner Winemaking, LLC
  • Patty Held, Patty Held Consulting, Missouri
  • Doug Moorhead, Presque Isle Wine Cellars, Pennsylvania
  • Lucie Morton, Lucie Morton Consulting, Virginia
  • Peter Oldak, Jewell Towne Vineyards, New Hampshire
  • Tom Payette, Tom Payette Wine Consulting, Virginia


EWE offers flexible registration options so that you can build a program just for you. From a day spent in the exhibit hall to full three days of workshop + conference sessions, networking events, and exhibit hall access, EWE has a pass for you. Registration opens November 15.