David M. Collins

Winemaker and Co-Owner

David has 30 years of wine industry experience and leadership in the Mid-Atlantic wine region. He began his career in Virginia at Loudoun County’s first winery, Willowcroft Vineyards, in 1987 and in 1997 became the winemaker at Breaux Vineyards, also in Loudoun Co. He formed a partnership in 2011 with Randy and Jennifer Thompson to create Big Cork Vineyards in Washington County, MD.

David holds a degree in horticulture from Virginia Tech.He has extensive knowledge and experience in vineyard operations and winemaking techniques. He has spoken at numerous industry seminars and has consulted for many wineries. David is widely recognized for his award-winning wines, having garnered the Jefferson Cup in Virginia, the Jack Aellen Cup, the Maryland Governor’s Cup and has won the Maryland Comptroller’s Cup several times. Of particular note is his creative work with Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Nebbiolo, Viognier, and Russian Kiss, a blend using Eastern European grapes. Currently David is the winemaker and co-owner at Big Cork Vineyards, located in Rohrersville, MD where he oversees 35 acres of vineyards and bottles 7,000 cases of wine per year.

Donniella Winchell

Donniella Winchell is currently the Executive Director of the Ohio Wine Producers Association, and chair of their Vintage Ohio wine festival.   She, along with several Midwest state directors created the License to Steal, the national wine marketing conference.

She chairs the WineAmerica State Advisory Committee and sits on thre WineAmerica executive committee.  She active in Winegrape Growers of America, the Ohio Travel Association and is on a number of other state and national committees. She has contributed to several national wine publications, writes a regional weekly wine newspaper column, authors a marketing e-letter called Tuesday Tidbits,  speaks at numerous wine and tourism conferences. Winchell is a graduate of Allegheny College with a BA in history and taught in Ohio public schools before retiring to raise a family. She has been  Executive Director of Ohio Wines for over 25 years.

Jim Trezise

James (Jim) Trezise has been President of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation since its creation in 1985, and has been involved with the industry since 1982.  The Foundation is a private, not-for-profit organization which sponsors research and conducts promotion programs in support of New York grapes, grape juice and wine.  The Foundation’s research and promotion programs have received international recognition, as has its close and productive partnership with the State of New York.

Most recently, largely due to the Foundation’s work over the years, New York State was named 2015 “Wine Region of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast magazine as part of its Wine Star Awards.  Other contenders were Champagne, France; Chianti, Italy; Sonoma Coast, California; and Red Mountain, Washington.

Jim is also widely recognized for his leadership in the broader American wine industry, having received six national awards or other recognition for his many contributions: The “Grand Award” of the Society of Wine Educators in 2014;  one of “The 20 Most Admired People in the American Wine Industry” in 2013 based on a survey by Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine; the Wine Integrity Award in 2006 from the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission; the first-ever “Distinguished Service Award” in 2001 from the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (Eastern Section); the Perpetual Monteith Trophy (Thomas Jefferson Cup) in 1995 from the Vinifera Winegrowers Association; and recognition by “Wines & Vines” magazine as one of the “top 50 movers and shakers” in the United States wine industry.  In addition, in 2014 he received the coveted “Chairman’s Award” of the New York Wine & Culinary Center.

Jim is actively involved with several national and international organizations focusing on key issues affecting the grape and wine industry worldwide.  He is Founder and President of the International Riesling Foundation, a coalition of top Riesling producers from around the world seeking to promote Riesling and educate consumers.  He serves on the Presidential Council of FIVS (formerly Fédération Internationale des Vins et Spiritueux — International Federation of Wines and Spirits) based in Paris.  He also serves on the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of WineAmerica, the national organization of American wineries; as a Board member of the National Grape and Wine Initiative; as a Board member of the Wine Market Council; and previously served as Director of Communications for the International Organization of Vines and Wines in Paris.  He is a frequent speaker on major issues at conferences throughout the United States, as well as a professional wine judge at more than a dozen international competitions, and the author of articles which have appeared in The New York Times and other media.

Prior to his appointment as the Foundation’s President, Jim had been involved with the New York grape and wine industry for three years, first as Executive Director of the New York State Wine Grape Growers, and then as President of the New York Wine Council representing both growers and vintners.  His career includes more than 30 years of communications consulting, public relations, advertising, public policy, and strategic planning.  He holds a masters degree in International Communications from American University in Washington, DC, and a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Allegheny College.

A native New Yorker from Rochester, Jim lived in France for three years prior to his involvement with the New York grape and wine industry.  He now lives on Keuka Lake in the Finger Lakes wine region.

Marnie Old

Marnie Old is a “breath of fresh air in the wine world”, according to Michael Mondavi, and Kevin Zraly has described her as “one of the most efficient and entertaining wine educators in the US”.  An engaging performer, she is known for her upbeat approach to wine and the real-world relevance of her message. Marnie’s first book, He Said Beer, She Said Wine made a splash in 2008, when she teamed up with craft beer guru Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head Craft Brewery for a tongue-in-cheek battle of the sexes. In 2013, her first electronic book, Wine Simplified, was honored by Digital Book World with a Publishing Innovation Award for Best Non-Fiction App. However, Marnie is most proud of her most recent book, the award-winning Wine: A Tasting Course, published by DK in 2014, which Anthony Dias Blue called “perhaps the BEST wine basics book I’ve seen to date” for its ingenious visual explanations, jargon-free language and intuitive flavor-mapping of wine.

Since leaving the sommelier ranks to start her own business in 2001, Marnie has done it all. She served as the director of wine studies for Manhattan’s esteemed French Culinary Institute, and as the founding education chair of the American Sommelier Association. She has designed beverage programs for high-profile restaurants like Morimoto in Manhattan, designed training programs for some of the country’s largest wine companies, and even advised the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, one of the largest retailers of wine and spirits on earth. Nowadays, Marnie is sought-after for corporate entertaining on the national circuit and for innovative content marketing projects for the wine and beer trades. She has a cheeky monthly column for consumers called “Cheap Buzz” in the Philadelphia Daily News and writes features for professionals in Beverage Dynamics. Most recently, however, she wrote, produced and starred in a series of animated wine videos commissioned by the government of Spain, allowing her to finally achieve her lifelong dream of becoming a cartoon character.

Marnie Old
Old Wines LLC

Susan Myers

If you can’t find Susan Myers among the vines she planted in the Grand River Valley, you’ll likely find her at work publishing TheWineBuzz® magazine. Celebrating its 15th year in circulation, TheWineBuzz® is distributed to more than 500 retail locations and 100,000 readers throughout the State of Ohio.

Her experience as a grower, as a vineyard manager, and as publisher of TheWineBuzz® served Susan in her capacity as advisory committee member for the Kent State University, Viticulture and Enology Science and Technology Alliance (VESTA) program, and uniquely qualifies her as a tasting panel member for the Ohio Quality Wine Assurance program.

Passionate about all things wine, Susan has thoroughly enjoyed contributing as subject matter expert, speaker and instructor for wine enthusiast tastings and educational programs at the Cleveland Fabulous Food Show, and at Music in the Valley at the Hale Farm and Village in Bath, Ohio.

In addition to her successful publishing business, Susan is principal of Clear Blue Sky Design, LLC, a graphic and visual communications enterprise specializing in the development of corporate identity, outdoor, tradeshow, web and print design and graphic communications programs and materials. Susan is an active member, and served on the Leadership Team of the Cleveland Elite Professionals Chapter of BNI, a networking organization for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

A proud graduate of The Ohio State University, Susan earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design – Visual Communications, and cheers for her Buckeyes, every game day.

Susan can be reached at

Valerie Knoblauch

Valerie Knoblauch serves as President and CEO of Finger Lakes Visitors Connection, Ontario County’s tourism promotion agency. This is a position responsible for the economic development of the tourism industry in Ontario County. She has held the position since 1984. Prior to this position Valerie worked in the wine industry with pioneers such as Charles Fournier at Gold Seal Vineyards as a tour guide and as public relations manager.

Valerie has served various roles in a variety of community organizations including fourteen years on the Board of Education of the Canandaigua City School District. She has also served on the Finger Lakes Community College Foundation Board of Directors and the F.F. Thompson Health System Continuing Care Center Board of Directors. She has been recognized by the Canandaigua Chamber of Commerce as an Athena award winner. She is an advocate for economic development and engaged with the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.

Within the hospitality industry she is active on the national level with the U.S. Travel Association. Within New York State Ms. Knoblauch has leadership responsibilities with I Love NY and on the New York State Travel Industry Association. She is a frequent speaker on panels related to strategic marketing and planning, destination management, and small business marketing. She has held adjunct faculty positions at Rochester Institute of Technology (R.I.T.) and at Finger Lakes Community College, where she also sits on the advisory board to the tourism and hospitality program.

Mrs. Knoblauch is a graduate of Oswego State University College at Oswego with a degree in English Education. She graduated from the R.I.T. Simon School of Business with an M.B.A. with a concentration in marketing.

Travel, photography, culinary interests and bicycling are some of her hobbies; but she claims that her greatest achievement is “being the mother of three fine young men”. Valerie lives in Canandaigua, NY with her husband, Kurt.

George Hodson

George Hodson is the General Manger of Veritas Vineyards and Winery as well as President and Principal of Flying Fox Vineyards.  After a 10 year career in Surgical Device sales and marketing, George joined the family business and took on the role of General Manager.  George is an active voice in the emerging Virginia wine segment and is President of “Nelson 151” as well as President of the Monticello Wine Trail.  He lives in Crozet Virginia with his wife Tralyn and two daughters.

Tara Good

Tara Good is the Director of Operations where she works to develop and enrich WineAmerica’s partnership with its members across the country. Prior to WineAmerica she worked at Distilled Spirits Council of the United State as the Administrative Assistant for Government Relations.

Previous to working in beverage alcohol she was the Program Manager for the Levantine Cultural Center in Los Angeles where she managed cultural programming related to the Middle East and North Africa. A two-time recipient of the United States State Department’s Critical Language Scholarship she lived in Jordan and Oman where she studied Arabic. She received her M.A. from NYU in Performance Studies and her B.A. from Fordham University in International/Inter-cultural Studies and Theater.

Carlo DeVito

Carlo DeVito is a lifelong publishing executive who has worked for many of the most well names in the publishing industry. He is also one of the most experienced wine, beers, and spirits editors in the world working for many of the most well known names in those industries. He has appeared on television dozens of times including multiple times as guests on CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX morning shows in New York, as well as throughout the eastern seaboard. He is currently owner of the Hudson-Chatham winery and leads the Hudson Valley Wine Trail.

Dan Whitmyer
Northlich Agency

Vice President, Strategy

Northlich Agency is Adweek’s top agency in Ohio. Dan uncovers powerful ideas and insights that lead to emotional connections with customers while driving exceptional business results. He loves problem-solving and enjoys the varied nature of the challenges advertising presents. In his day-to-day work, Dan draws on the array of expertise he has developed over 10 years in varying roles in the marketing world: leading strategy, planning, measurement, relationship marketing, brand development, first-person consumer research, and business development. Dan is constantly staying ingrained in the digital space. He has worked with clients in industries such as finance, fast-moving consumer goods, food and beverage, and healthcare.