2020 Hill Country Wine Symposium


SKU: WINE-SYMPOSIUM 2020 Category:


6th Annual Hill Country Wine Symposium 2020

January 20-22, 2020     |     Horseshoe Bay Resort

The Hill Country Wine Symposium was established in 2015 by Texas Hill Country Wineries.  Symposium includes two days of seminars, lectures and panel discussions with over 25 sessions in four dedicated tracts: Vineyard, Winery, Business & Marketing.  Past speakers have included Tammy Boatright-VingDirect, Al Wagner-Clos du Val, Clark Smith-WineSmith, Don Brady-Robert Hall Winery, Gary Finnan-GFC|Evoke, Doug Beckett-Peachy Canyon Winery, Christophe Hedges-Hedges Family Estate, Dr Andrew Landers-Cornell University, Sandra Hess-DTC Wine Workshops, Dr Gregory Jones-Linfield College, Michael Wangbickler-Balzac Communications and many more.

Symposium also includes an intimate trade show for the opportunity to connect with your vendors and discover new suppliers.  With a small ratio of exhibitors to attendees, there is ample time and space to visit each booth.  Attendees are able to enjoy the 2 hour networking reception, sharing wines from across Texas and enjoying local cocktails and beer at the end of the first day.

Special presentations during the two lunch breaks include a State of the Texas Wine Industry: Presidents Panel and the Hill Country Wine Industry Scholarship Awards Presentation.  The Presidents Panel will host presidents from Texas Hill Country Wineries, Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association and High Plains Winegrowers Association with updates on each association initiatives and collaborations.  To date, over $25K in scholarships have been awarded to students across Texas working towards a wine industry related field.

The Grape Exchange event has been a priority during the Symposium from the beginning even though the format has changed over the years.  The goal of this tasting event is to connect Growers who have available fruit or Wineries/Crush Operations who have available Texas bulk wine with wineries in need. Two separate Grape Exchange sessions will includes one for available fruit and one for available bulk Texas wine this year in a “live-classifieds” setting.

We hope you’ll join us in 2020!


EMAIL US if you are interested in becoming an Exhibitor, Sponsor or Grape Exchange participant.



Pre-Symposium Events: Monday, January 20

8am – 2020 Golf Tournament: Details and Registration HERE

12pm – Exhibitor Setup & Registration Open

4pm – 6pm – THCW Annual Owners & General Membership Meeting (THCW Members ONLY)


NOTE: Sessions are subject to change time/day slots.  More session details coming soon!


Tuesday, January 21

8:30am – Registration & Exhibitors Open


9am – WELCOME – THCW Board of Directors  (Main Ballroom)


9:30 – 10:30am

WINEMAKER PANEL & TASTING: Viognier in Texas – sponsored by Ag Texas

Moderators: Carl Hudson & Amie Nemec

Panelists: Jim Evans – Lost Oak Winery, John Rivenburgh – Kerrville Hills Winery, Michael Dickey – Longhorn Cellars, Mike Nelson – Ab Astris Winery, Bénédicte Rhyne – Kuhlman Cellars.

(Main Ballroom)


10:30 – 11am – Exhibitor Break


11am – 12pm

MARKETING: Navigating Social Media in our Industry – Dayna DeHoyos, Stella Haus Films

In this session Dayna will go over the basics of what you need to know. She will also cover advanced techniques for successfully showcasing and accessing your desired audience through photo and video.

(C Ballroom)


BUSINESS: Bitter? How to Better Understand Your Insurance Coverage to Avoid Future Heartache – Ashley Hunter, HM Risk Management

Have you ever wondered what happens when a patron enjoys your wine a bit too much? Or what’s being said in those 100+ pages you receive annually from your insurer? Then look no further, our panel of insurance professionals will walk you through the cheers and tears of the wonderful world of insurance.

(Main Ballroom)


VINEYARD: The Vineyard Farm Labor Drought: Using the H-2A Program to Solve Your Workplace Woes – Sabrina Houser, The Bracero Group

There is a need to provide winery and vineyard owners with the legal alternatives to utilize non-immigrants for agriculture labor.  As a former winery and vineyard owner, sourcing and hiring reliable and professional agricultural laborers is an all too common problem. This labor sufficiency and reliability is especially compounded in rural areas. The H2-A program is a legal way to obtain agricultural labor for seasonal/peak vineyard operations, often times stabilizing production output and providing peace of mind. This presentation will highlight the differences between H-2A and H-2B programs, the pros and cons for employers, and how the process works between three key agencies – TWC, DOL and USCIS.

(AB Ballroom)


12 – 1:30pm – LUNCH – sponsored by Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association

State of the Texas Wine Industry: Association Presidents.  Panel: Jennifer McInnis & David Kuhlken – Texas Hill Country Wineries, Bree Nelson – High Plains Winegrowers, Paul Bonarrigo – Texas Wine & Grape Growers Association.

(Main Ballroom)


1:30 – 2:30pm

WINERY: Fundamentals of Commercial Wine Production – Michael McClendon, Sages Vintage

This presentation will give an overview of key concepts of winemaking that are applicable for seasoned winemakers and startups.  The topics will be introduced with a brief explanation of how they can affect wine quality and how they all work together and should be addressed vintage to vintage.

(C Ballroom)


MARKETING: Are We There Yet? Sommeliers’ takes on Texas Wines in the Global Market

Moderator: Adam Ehmer – Republic National Distributing Company

Panel: Scott Ota – High Street Wine & Fabien Jacob – HEB

This session will show how sommeliers analyze and assess wines for selection into restaurants and wine bars. It will assess the opportunities for the Texas Hill Country to define an identity with regard to varietal character, a sense of place, food-friendliness, and quality in the global context. What can Texas Hill Country wineries do to turn sommeliers and wine buyers into advocates for this emerging wine region?  Session includes blind tasting of 4 wines with candid feedback from panel.

(Main Ballroom)


THCW DIGITAL PASSPORT TRAINING: Training on the new Digital Passport program for THCW events.

(AB Ballroom)


2:30 – 3pm – Exhibitor Break


3 – 4pm

MARKETING: Building Trust, Respect and Brands in the Media – Denise Clarke, DC Communications, and Jessica Dupuy, Wine Writer

Get the straight talk on working with wine media with two of Texas’ frontline public relations and journalism professionals. Do you like seeing your winery name in print? Do you think Texas wines get enough publicity on the national stage? Do you understand how the media works and how journalists differ from influencers? Do media not respond to your emails? If you don’t see sales result from a story, does that mean PR is not working for you?
Public relations is multi-faceted and changing every day, but it’s an extremely effective part of a winery’s marketing and branding mix. Denise Clarke, owner of DC Communications, will share her expertise and experiences managing successful wine PR programs. She will be joined by Jessica Dupuy, wine journalist for Texas Monthly, Forbes.com and other wine outlets, who will provide her perspective on how wineries can better understand what to expect from media coverage. With more than a decade of working together within the Texas wine industry, both Clarke and Dupuy will help dispel the myths, misconceptions, and challenges of wine in the media.

(C Ballroom)


WINERY: So You Want to Get Into Cans?  – Andrew Thompson, Saxco

An overview of cans and all the critical information to know before going diving into cans.

Tasting provided by Yes We Can – Sway Rosé

(Main Ballroom)


VINEYARD: Auxinic Herbicides and Their Effect on Grapevines – Jim Kamas & Brianna Crowley, Texas A&M AgriLife

While auxinic herbicides such as 2,4-D and dicamba provide grain growers and ranchers with an inexpensive tool to manage broad-leafed weeds, the off-target movement of these chemicals has been the bane of grape growers for decades.  Because these chemicals have been so harmful to Texas grape growers, the A&M viticulture team conducted applied research to document vine response over time and to collect data on commercial vineyard exposure.  This presentation will review the history and development of this class of chemistry, how these products affect grapevines and how they degrade in plants and soils.  In the second part of this presentation, the results of 2019 applied research and vineyard exposure incidence will be presented with a discussion on how the industry needs to proceed.

(AB Ballroom)


4 – 4:30pm – Exhibitor Break


4:30 – 5:30pm

BUSINESS: How to Expand Your Winery’s Footprint: DtC Shipping & Compliance – Keri Hensley, WINE CUB


(C Ballroom)


WINERY: Barrel Repair Tools & Techniques & Barrel Head Removal with Tasting – Michael Peters, TN Coopers

Demonstration on ways to repair any barrel leak as well as removing and reinstalling the barrel head.  Tasting: the role of oak as a finishing and fixing concept in winemaking.

(Main Ballroom)


VINEYARD: Tater Tots and Jelly – Daniel Pate, Apical Texas

Mechanical leafing? Applying more fertilizer? Rogue vines? Rip out the block? Tater tots and jelly have the answers.

(AB Ballroom)


6 – 7:30pm – 6th Annual Symposium Reception – sponsored by Texas Department of Agriculture

Cocktails provided by Azeo Distillery

Beer provided by Vista Brewing

Sparkling Water provided by Rambler Sparkling Water

(Palm Pavilion)



Wednesday, January 22

8:30am – Registration & Exhibitors Open

9 – 10am

MARKETING: What is an Influencer and why should I care? – Matt McGinnis, Pen & Tell Us

This session will discuss the value of Influencer Marketing to wineries. Arguably social media influencers have replaced wine bloggers with their ability to reach a wine audience of wine buyers. Whether working with influencers in an organic (unpaid) way or paying for posts, influencers are integral to targeting specific audiences with efficiency and authenticity. Knowing how and when to work with influencers can be confounding. We’ll explore how to determine who is a real influencer, and who is in it for the free wine, as well as how to get the most marketing bang for your buck by working with the right influencers.

(C Ballroom)



VINEYARD/WINERY:  Winery-Grower Panel

Moderator: Jim Kamas

Panel: David Kuhlken – Pedernales Cellars, Anthony Furguson – Farmhouse Vineyard, Chris Brundrett – William Chris Vineyards, Andy Timmons – Lost Draw Cellars, Bret Perrenoud – Becker Vineyards, Steve Newsom – English-Newsom Cellars, Rebecca Conley – Brennan Vineyards

(Main Ballroom)


BUSINESS: Music Licensing: What You Need to Know – Tara Good, WineAmerica

The in’s and out’s of music licensing. What you need to know to protect your business. How WineAmerica is working on this issue on Capitol Hill.

(AB Ballroom)


10 – 10:30am – Exhibitor Break


10:30 – 11:30am

VINEYARD: The Dirt on Vineyard Soils – Travis Conley, Brennan Vineyards

A comprehensive discussion regarding the soils evolutionary relationship with Vineyard and Wineries.

(C Ballroom)


WINERY: Residual Sugar in Wine – Maureen Qualia, Texas Tech University

Residual sugar can be a valuable tool in finishing a wine or a winemaker’s worst nightmare.   We will explore the implications and impact of RS in wine, including potential spoilage issues.  This session will include sensory evaluation of wine sugars, potential faults, and examples of RS in finished wine.

(Main Ballroom)


MARKETING: AVA Development – Establishing a New AVA–The Petaluma Gap Experience – Doug Cover, Petaluma Gap Winery Association

The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) is the Federal agency responsible for approval of American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). Any person may submit an AVA petition to the TTB to establish a grape-growing region as a new AVA, to change the boundary of an existing AVA, or to change the name of an existing AVA. With regard to establishing a new AVA, the TTB has published specific requirements and guidance for what information is required to be submitted in a petition. But how does it really work? California’s Petaluma Gap AVA received final TTB approval in January 2018 after a journey of nearly four years. This presentation will provide an overview of the TTB process and will reveal what information was key to the successful petition.

(AB Ballroom)


11:30 – 1pm – LUNCH sponsored by Comerica Bank

Hill Country Wine Industry Scholarship Awards Presentation

(Main Ballroom)


1 – 2pm

BUSINESS: Unique Challenges and Legal Considerations – Rebecca Smith, Rebecca Smith Law Firm, PLLC

Every business faces a variety of legal concerns and challenges.  Labor issues, licensing problems, seasonal uncertainty, shifting tariffs, taxes, regulations, liability concerns, and the list goes on. The wine industry faces unique challenges unlike any other industry. This presentation will provide an overview of recent regulatory changes and industry specific legal concerns.

(C Ballroom)


WINERY: The Good, The Bad & The Bubbly – Faith Armstrong, Onward Wines

Teaching the skinny on sparkling wine from production through marketing and sales.

(Main Ballroom)




  • Bingham Family Vineyards
  • Buena Suerte Vineyard
  • Messina Hof Winery
  • Reddy Vineyards
  • Slate Mill Wine Collective
  • Texas Wine Company


2 – 2:30pm – Exhibitor Break


2:30 – 3:30pm

BUSINESS: Confessions of a Grape Counter – Livia Schorlemer, Pedernales Cellars

Fun Tips for Managing Inventory

(C Ballroom)


MARKETING: Off the Beaten Path: If you build it, and market it, and promote it, and…

Panel: Jennifer McInnis- Bending Branch Winery, Amanda Koraska- Flat Creek Estate, Roxanne Meyers- Lost Oak Winery, Karen DeBerry- Torr Na Lochs Vineyard & Winery

All wineries face many of the same challenges but location brings a different perspective on how you manage your business.  Talk with four successful wineries who have paved their own path in locations off the busy wine roads about the pros & cons of making your winery a destination, marketing events & driving traffic, wine clubs, location & 2nd tasting rooms, and staffing.

(Main Ballroom)


VINEYARD: Crop Estimation: Current Best Practice & Emerging Technology – Ed Hellman, Texas Tech University

Predicting vineyard yield during the season is critical for managing crop loads and planning harvest logistics, but obtaining consistently accurate estimates is very challenging.  This session will review current best practices for crop estimation, highlighting methods to improve accuracy.  Emerging technology may soon provide mechanized crop estimation; recent advances in applying sensor technology for this task will be described.

(AB Ballroom)


3:30 – 4pm – Final Exhibitor Break


4 – 5pm – WINEMAKER PANEL & TASTING: Bordeaux in Texas – sponsored by Frost Bank

Moderators: Carl Hudson & Mitchell Sharrock

Panel: Sergio Cuadra – Fall Creek Vineyard, Todd Crowell – Ron Yates Wines, Chris Brundrett – Wiliam Chris Vineyards, Jim Evans – Lost Oak Winery, Daniel Bingham – Bingham Family Vineyard

(Main Ballroom)


– If you are interested in a table at the 2020 Grape Exchange, please EMAIL US –




Registration includes:

  • Two days of seminars, lectures and panel discussions including tasting sessions
  • 6th Annual Reception on Tuesday evening
  • Lunch both days
  • Trade show
  • Access to all presentations to be emailed after event

Late (December 21 – Symposium)

THCW Member 2 day, $250          THCW Member 1 day, $200

Non-Member 2 day, $350              Non-Member 1 day, $300

*Students, Educators, Media – contact us HERE for registration



LODGING – Horseshoe Bay Resort

Reservations Call Center at (877) 611-0112

Book online HERE



TDA Uncork Texas Wines          Texas Wine & Grape Growers
AgTexas Logo


Producer Supply Co

BriteIdea Marketing Group

Peary Photography



– If you are interested in becoming a 2020 sponsor, EMAIL US –



-ACIC Cork & Closures

– Agroland Equipment & Supplies

– Allied Ag

– Bottle Service

– Boulder Designs- Hill Country

– BSG Wine

– C&C Sales & Marketing

– Carlsen & Associates/Johnson & Associates

– Comerica Bank

– Dan Humphries Sales Co

– Flextank

– Fortis Solutions Group

– G3 Enterprises

– Hotsy Carlson Equipment Co

– JSC Agricultural Supply

– Nadalie USA

– Novavine

– O-I Packaging

– Producer Supply Co

– Scott Labs

– Special Point of View

– Sunridge Nurseries

– TDA Uncork Texas Wines

– Reddy Vineyards

– Texas Tech University

– Texas Wine Company

– Texas Wine Growers

– The Bracero Group

– The Vintner Vault

– Tonnellerie de Mercurey USA

– William Chris Vineyards


– WinStar Insurance Group

– If you are interested in becoming a 2020 exhibitor, EMAIL US –


Additional information

Ticket Type

Early Bird Member 2-day, Early Bird Member 1-day, Early Bird Non-Member 2-day, Early Bird Non-Member 1-day, Member 2-day, Member 1-day, Non-Member 2-day, Non-Member 1-day, Late Member 2-day, Late Member 1-day, Late Non-Member 2-day, Late Non-Member 1 day