Lisa Adams Walter
Director of Programs
Wine Industry Symposium Group
Lisa Adams Walter joined the Wine Industry Symposium Group in 2014. She brings a diverse background that includes PR, promotional marketing and writing experience in wine, travel, entertainment, high-tech, publishing, pro sports and corporate environments. Lisa opened her boutique PR agency, Adams Walter Communications (with a focus upon wine, food and the arts) 15 years ago, and simultaneously continues in that role while working as Director of Programs for the Wine Industry Symposium Group.
A “native” of California’s Wine Country, Lisa began her wine industry career in the Hospitality Center of Inglenook Napa Valley in the early ‘80s. She majored in Communication Studies at California State University Sacramento, graduating with an emphasis in PR and Advertising. Her prior professional experience includes working as the Director of Marketing and PR for Wine Business Publications, for the Napa Valley Vintners on the second Premiere Napa Valley and as the Director of Public Relations for the Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance. She currently serves as the Assistant Executive Director of the Academy of Wine Communications, as well as an appointed representative on the Arts and Culture Advisory Committee to the Napa County Board of Supervisors and is a founding member of Napa County’s “100 Women Who Care.”
United Winegrowers of Sonoma County
Since 1987, Bob Anderson has served as the Executive Director of the United Winegrowers for Sonoma County, representing winery and grower members on land use planning, water and ESA issues affecting their business interests in Sonoma County.
He served two terms as Chair of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Control Board. Since 1990, he has been a director of the Open Space Fiscal Oversight Commission reviewing expenditures from a voter-approved sales tax dedicated to protecting Sonoma County’s agriculture and natural resources.
He attended the UN Climate Summit in Copenhagen and is involved in local efforts advancing the transition to a clean energy economy. He serves on the Health Action Committee and is chairman of the Citizens Advisory Committee on transportation. Prior to coming to Sonoma County, Bob worked in Washington, D.C. for the U.S. House of Representatives as a staff member to the House Agriculture Committee and in Iowa for the Extension Service and on a dairy farm. He has a bachelor’s degree in public administration and a master’s degree in family relations. He lives in Healdsburg.
Director of Grower Relations
Jackson Family Wines
John Azevedo is the Director of Grower Relations for Jackson Family Wines (JFW), headquartered in Santa Rosa, California. Starting out as a Grower Representative for the company in 2008, he was promoted to the Director position six years later. In this role, John leads a team of field representatives providing all aspects of grape supply including purchases and sales. John is responsible for overseeing the pricing, sourcing, and negotiating of all of JFW’s contracts for outside fruit. He is able to manage the grape supply at JFW by having an understanding of market trends and by balancing company needs with mostly long-term grape contracts that offer growers financial stability. John has more than 17 years of experience in Grower Relations. Prior to joining JFW, he worked for Diageo Chateau and Estate Wines.
John is the current President of the Sonoma County Farm Bureau and holds a Bachelor of Science Degree from California State University at Fresno in Plant Science with an emphasis Viticulture. He is also a graduate of the California Agricultural Leadership Program class 37, where he had the opportunity to visit Asia in conjunction with consulting with other international agricultural leaders.
John is no stranger to the grape market, having grown up on a ranch in Healdsburg, California, which has been in the family since 1904. He continues to manage his family’s vineyard in addition to his responsibilities at Jackson Family Wines.
Managing Director North Coast Agricultural / Premium Wine Group
Bank of the West
Adam Beak is Senior Vice President and Manager of the North Coast Agricultural Banking Center/ Premium Wine Group in Napa. In this role, he oversees all winery, vineyard and wine industry related business for Bank of the West.
During his tenure at the bank, Beak has developed a wine and agricultural specialist team and increased a loan portfolio from $56 million to $800 million. He has been the relationship manager for a number of the bank’s largest syndicated wine industry credits. Beak is also part owner of the Sean Minor Winery in Napa.
A graduate of the UC Davis Wine Executive program and the Pacific Coast Banking School, Beak served as COO/CFO for Heron wines prior to joining Bank of the West in 2005. He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from California State University, Sacramento.
Nicholas F. Bonsignore, P.E.
Wagner & Bonsignore Consultation Civil Engineers
Nick Bonsignore holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of the Pacific, Stockton, CA. He is Registered Civil Engineer in California and a principal of the firm of Wagner & Bonsignore, Consulting Civil Engineers, and has over 33 years’ experience in water resources engineering. His specific areas of practice include acquisition and administration of appropriative water rights pursuant to Title 23 of the California Code of Regulations; hydrologic analyses in connection with water availability studies and water diversion projects; and design of water diversion, storage and conveyance facilities including pipelines, pump stations, and dams and reservoirs.
Mr. Bonsignore provides consulting services to a wide variety of public and private sector clients including water districts, private water companies, large and small corporate-owned entities, attorneys, and small proprietors and individuals. Mr. Bonsignore represents clients before the California State Water Resources Control Board, Division of Water Rights, concerning acquisition, modification and licensure of appropriative water rights; coordination of environmental processing to address California Environmental Quality Act requirements; and monitoring and annual reporting of water diversion and use. He also represents clients before the California Department of Fish & Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries, and other agencies for acquisition of regulatory permits and approvals.
Mr. Bonsignore has designed and/or supervised the construction of numerous water storage reservoirs including the original construction, modification, or repair of over 20 earthen dams under the jurisdiction of the California Division of Safety of Dams.
Napa County Agricultural Commissioner / Sealer of Weights & Measures
County of Napa
Greg Clark has worked for Napa County since June 2000 when he was hired to work as the assistant ag commissioner/sealer, effectively responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Department of Agriculture. In December 2013 the Board of Supervisors appointed Greg to a four year term as Napa County’s eighth agricultural commissioner/sealer.
The Napa County Department of Agriculture is a regulatory agency dedicated to sustaining a healthy agricultural industry while protecting the environment, the agricultural work force and the community. The Napa County Department of Weights and Measures is dedicated to providing fair competition and equity in the marketplace and ensuring that the interests of the buyer and seller are protected through education, inspection, and enforcement.
He was born and raised in the Modesto-Oakdale area and previously worked for Stanislaus and Santa Clara counties, Weibel Champagne Vineyards, and American Farmland Trust. He received a Bachelor of Science Degree from California State University, Fresno, in Agricultural Science, with a concentration in viticulture. He also received a Master of Public Administration degree from San Jose State University.
The Correia Company
Tony Correia is widely recognized as a leading authority on the valuation of agricultural and rural properties, with a special emphasis on vineyards and wineries. He holds the professional designation of Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARA), and is currently an owner of The Correia Company. He provides a wide array of valuation and consulting services on agricultural and rural properties, specializing in more challenging valuations involving wineries, vineyards, estate planning and settlement, undivided partial interests in real property, and water rights. He is also an instructor of valuation courses and seminars throughout the nation and Mexico, and is also a frequent public speaker on agricultural properties, appraisal, taxation, estate planning issues, water rights, and the vineyard and wine industries. Tony has extensive experience in appraisal of vineyards and wineries, having been professionally engaged in such appraisals for over thirty years. He has also planted, replanted and operated his own vineyards, and has operated vineyards as a professional manager. He has developed and taught most of the professional appraisal seminars and courses on the topic, and has contributed to several textbooks published on the subject. Tony also provides expert witness valuation services and is qualified as an Expert Witness in many local, State and Federal courts in California, Arizona, Nevada and Illinois.
After undergraduate work at Saint Mary’s College of California and Syracuse University, Tony graduated from California State University, Fresno, with a major and post-graduate work in English and a second major in Russian. Prior pursuits include former lives as a grape grower, partner in a large commercial real estate brokerage, and various government positions, including tours as an IRS examiner, and as a military intelligence analyst, cryptologist, and linguist. He now lives in Sonoma, with his wife Stephanie, and enjoys travel, photography, great literature and music, fast cars, slow cooking, gardening, the study of wine, and the pursuit of knowledge.
Silverado Investment Management Company
Mark Couchman formerly served as President of Silverado Premium Properties, an investment fund devoted to achieving superior returns from developing and managing premium wine grape vineyards in California. The company currently oversees more than fifteen thousand acres of wine grapes in Napa Valley, Sonoma and the Central Coast regions of California and sells wine grapes to over 85 winery customers in California. Mark also oversees Plata Wine Partners, an affiliate of Silverado Investment Management Company (SIMCO), which processes grapes into wine for a number of wholesale customers. Mark founded Silverado Premium Properties with his partner David Freed in 1997 and brings to Silverado a background that combines both agricultural experience along with commercial real estate and capital markets expertise.
Prior to 1997, Mark was Executive Vice President in charge of real estate acquisitions for G.E. Capital Investment Advisors in San Francisco. At G.E. Mark managed a national acquisitions team acquiring commercial properties for pension fund and other institutional clients.
Mark began his investment career with Prudential Insurance Company in 1983, with asset management responsibilities for several large agricultural ventures in California. At Prudential, Mark’s responsibilities included real estate investment and mortgage lending as well as corporate finance activities. Mark concluded his tenure at Prudential as Managing Director, Private Asset Management Group, where he was responsible for re-designing Prudential’s commercial real estate investment portfolio to become more focused on the opportunities in the public real estate securities markets.
Mark was raised on a dairy farm in Modesto, and he continues to be a partner in the family business. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of California at Davis and his Masters of Business Administration from the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkeley. Mark lives in Sonoma with his wife Mona and their two beautiful daughters.
Bulk Wine Broker
Marc Cuneo joined Turrentine Brokerage as a Bulk wine Broker in 2010, bringing industry experience ranging from grower relations to wine marketing. Marc entered the wine business as a sales representative for Southern Wines and Spirits in San Francisco after receiving a Business Administration degree at the University of the Pacific. He then moved on to work at his family’s winery, Sebastiani Vineyards. During his decade at Sebastiani Vineyards, he began as a cellar worker and steadily advanced within the company, serving as the Vice President of Grower Relations and as a member of the executive team. Marc has also received his executive MBA from Sonoma State University.
In his spare time, Marc can be seen riding horses with his wife and four kids in Sonoma and is also an avid traveler and hunter.
Regional Manager North Coast Food & Ag
Starting in 2008 with a small LPO (essentially a start-up in the spare bedroom of his Santa Rosa home), Charles Day and his team built one of the largest portfolio of Food and Agriculture clients in the North Bay. With a focus on the wine industry, the team based in both Napa and Sonoma Counties managed $500 million in commercial loans and is now supported by retail branches in Napa, Sonoma and Santa Rosa. Rabobank’s dedication to the Food and Ag space has developed long-term sustainable relationships that have grown into a platform for future growth. Before joining Rabobank Charles held positions at First Republic Bank and Silicon Valley Bank. He is a graduate of San Diego State University.
Hal Forcey, ARA
Hal grew up on a small cattle ranch in Southern California, and graduated from Chico State in 1980. He started his Farm Credit career, 35 years ago, in 1981 with the Federal Land Bank of Santa Rosa, as an appraiser/loan officer, serving Napa and Sonoma County. In in the mid 80’s he was hired as the Branch Manager for the Federal Land Bank of Ventura, overseeing the credit and appraisal staff, and managing a large credit portfolio. In 1985 he moved to the District Bank in Sacramento, to help build a Facility Appraisal Department, responsible for complex agricultural facilities throughout a 5 state territory. In 1987 Hal returned to Santa Rosa as their Facility Appraiser, primarily responsible for their rapidly increasing winery portfolio.
Hal holds the Certified General Real Estate Appraiser’s and a Real Estate Broker’s license in California, and has also earned the Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARA) designation with the American Society of Farm Managers and Rural Appraisers. He has extensive education and experience in both real property and personal property valuations. While he works on a wide array of commercial and agricultural properties, most of his time remains devoted to appraising wineries. At last count, he has completed over 650 winery appraisals throughout California.
Hal and his wife Helen, have been together since 1979. Their daughter, Elisa, a Cal Poly graduate, lives in San Diego, and works in corporate cyber security. Hal enjoys endurance auto racing and go-fast cars, camping (RV only), hiking, mountain-biking, and golf. Hal plans to retire from American AgCredit at the end of 2016, and start his own appraisal company, focusing on winery and facility valuations. His current plan is to work fewer hours, and spend more time with his family, friends, and hobbies.
The Silverado Group
David I. Freed is a former tax and corporate attorney with undergraduate and law degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. Mr. Freed practiced law at Tobin & Tobin in San Francisco for more than 15 years before transitioning to a full time focus on vineyard and winery investments.
In 1988, Mr. Freed organized UCC Vineyards Group to consolidate all wine-related activities into a single company with properties in Napa and Sonoma. In 1991 Mr. Freed relocated the company offices to Napa, California. In 2004 UCC merged into Silverado WineGrowers, LLC resulting today in a company with over 2,000 acres in the coastal regions of California.
In 1992, UCC helped organize the first Wine Industry Financial Symposium, which has become an annual event. In 1995, an additional event was launched in the Central Coast area, which is now known as the Central Coast Insights program and a year later the Vineyard Economics Seminar was launched in Napa.
In 1994 Mr. Freed organized Silverado Partners in association with Michael Moone, George Vare and Richard Lemon which provided the equity for the sale/leaseback of the Callaway Vineyards in Temecula, California. In January 1996, Silverado Partners participated in the acquisition of the Beringer Wine World Estates from Nestle International in association with The Texas Pacific Group (now TPG Capital). The Silverado Partners also facilitated the purchase of Chateau St. Jean Winery and Stag’s Leap Winery by Beringer.
In October 1997 Mr. Freed and Mr. Mark E. Couchman organized Silverado Premium Properties, LLC in association with Colony Capital, Inc. and principals of the Texas Pacific Group and today serves as its Chairman. To date, under the direction of Mr. Couchman, its President, SPP owns in excess of 10,000 acres of premium wine grape vineyards in California’s coastal counties.
Business Development Executive
Ted Grafe, a business development executive, with Moss Adams, Accountants & Consultants assists companies across a wide-range of industries, including the wine industry, helping them address their unique challenges by pairing them with the specialized expertise of Moss Adams professionals. Grafe has more than 10 years of experience serving companies throughout Greater Bay Area, with an emphasis and passion for the winery & vineyard land, food & beverage and consumer products industries. Grafe is an active member of the Wine Symposium Group Steering Committee, Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute, Sonoma County Vintners, Napa Valley Grapegrowers, California Craft Brewers Association, and Sonoma County Craft Beer, Cider & Spirits.
Senior Vice President
Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Tom is a Senior Vice President and Senior Credit Products Officer for the North Coast Commercial Banking Office of Bank of America Merrill Lynch (“BAML”). BAML’s North Coast Office has expertise in serving the specialty food and beverage industries, including substantial wine and wine grape vineyard relationships. In his role, Tom is responsible for structuring and delivering BAML’s full complement of credit products to its clients, spanning real estate lending, equipment financing, working capital financing, hedging products and treasury management services. Tom is a 30-year veteran of BAML, with his entire career spent serving clients in San Francisco North Bay Area markets. Tom is BAML’s wine industry lending specialist, supporting the BAML’s national wine lending practice. Tom graduated from the University of California at Davis with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural and Managerial Economics.
Walsh Vineyards Management
Towle Merritt, grandson of Towle Bundschu, grew up in Sonoma working on his family’s vineyard since he was 17 years old. After finishing college (Humboldt State B.S.), he was off to France where he worked as a harvest intern for Domaine Compte Georges de Vogue. Returning in 2001, he continued on in the wine business working full time for Gundlach-Bundschu winery, culminating in the role of Viticulturist. Today, he has expanded his role to include other top quality wine producers on the North Coast. This was achieved by joining Walsh Vineyards Management. Walsh Vineyards Management, is Northern California’s most established complete-service vineyard management company. With a lineage dating back 30 years, Walsh is known for its embrace of the best quality and most efficient grape growing practices. Towle’s goal is to contribute to the financial success of Walsh’s North Coast clients. Towle is currently attending the Sonoma State Wine MBA program. Personal interests include spending time with family and the outdoors.
Mike Needham is a Grape Broker for Turrentine. He grew up in the San Joaquin Valley town of Linden before earning a degree in viticulture from Fresno State and worked as a research assistant for both Cliff Ohmart and Keith Striegler. In 1997, Mike joined McCarty Company and managed three ranches, totaling approximately 2,000 acres. He transplanted himself and his family in the year 2000 to Anderson Valley, working for Madrigal Vineyards. Mike started with three vineyard sites adding up to 65 acres. Over the next few years, he farmed nine vineyards and 250 acres, and was selling the grapes to a long list of ultra-premium wineries.
Mike’s employer decided to build a winery in the Napa Valley in 2007 – and they tapped Mike as General Manager. They built the winery just in time for harvest. Mike helped recruit six high-end custom crush clients to maximize facility efficiencies. He was soon responsible each vintage for roughly 100 lots of wine, destined for bottles that retail from $15.00 to $250.00 per bottle.
Hungry for opportunity to grow, he applied to Turrentine Brokerage, hoping to leverage his organizational and negotiation skills, his network of associates and friends, his knowledge of the business, as well as his knowledge ranging from soil types to rootstocks to grapes to wine to bottle. Give Mike a call (707-849-4337) with Napa Valley, Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Lake County or Suisun Valley grapes for sale. Turrentine Brokerage serves as a trusted and strategic advisor to deliver customized solutions for growers, wineries and financiers brokering grapes and wines in bulk.
David Pardes is a Tax Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers based in San Francisco. David has been part of the Private Company Services practice since he arrived at PricewaterhouseCoopers and is responsible for tax consulting and compliance services to numerous agricultural companies that include vineyards & wineries, olive oil producers, and cattle ranches. Additionally, David has experience working with high net-worth individuals, which has enabled him to advise on the implications of shareholder investments and the transfer of wealth to future generations. David has been a guest speaker at UC Davis Extension and Walla Walla Community College to assist in teaching a course on Accounting for Vineyards/Wineries. David has obtained his MBA with a concentration in Finance from Boston University, an MS in Taxation from Golden Gate University and prior to working at PwC worked for several years within the finance department of a large multi-national corporation.
Wine Business Monthly
Cyril Penn has been Editor in Chief of Wine Business Monthly since 2000. Mr. Penn joined Wine Communications Group in September 1998 as Editor of Wine Business Insider. He has over 15 years of wire service, magazine and broadcast experience. Mr. Penn began his career as a journalist in New York at Reuters in 1987, where he covered the energy industry. He moved on to become freelance reporter specializing in energy, high technology and biotechnology. He previously served as Managing Editor of the California Energy Markets newsletter in San Francisco. Mr. Penn holds a bachelor’s degree in Media Studies from Fordham University in New York.
Managing Director – AgriBusiness
Bill Rodda has a 35+ year career in Agribusiness Banking, which began in 1981 with the Farm Credit System at the then Sacramento Bank for Cooperatives, a five year tenure with a Commercial Bank and for the last 23 years with American AgCredit. His current position is Managing Director of Agribusiness for American AgCredit covering the Wine and Food commodities. Bill is a graduate of California State University at Sacramento, with a B.S. degree in Finance and Economics and M.B.A. in Finance from Golden Gate University.
Napa County Assessor Recorder, County Clerk
County of Napa
John is in his fifth term as Napa County’s elected Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk. Prior to the January 1998 consolidation of offices John served for 11 years as County Assessor. John’s earlier public service included two terms as Napa County Supervisor from 1973 through 1980.
John and the staff of all divisions are committed to prompt, friendly and efficient customer service.
John lives with his wife, Vee, and the third and fourth generations of ranchers on the cattle ranch that his parents bought in 1951. John holds degrees from Yale University and UC Berkeley and has taught at the community college level.
Director Grower Relations
Constellation Brands, Inc.
With over 24 years of experience in the wine business, both in the winery and in the field, Scott has been managing North Coast grape supply for Constellation Brands since 2007. During these last eight years, he has been fortunate to work with many exceptional North Coast growers and popular brands, including Robert Mondavi Winery, Franciscan, Simi, Ravenswood, Clos Du Bois, Mark West, and Dreaming Tree, to name a few. Scott is also involved in vineyard and real estate acquisition for Constellation Brands throughout California. He resides with his family in Napa.