2023 Hill Country Wine Symposium - Texas Hill Country Wineries

2023 Hill Country Wine Symposium


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Thank you for joining us for the 9th Annual Hill Country Symposium.

2023 was an amazing event thanks to the THCW Board, Symposium Committee, Sponsors, Speakers, Exhibitors, Volunteers and Staff.

We are already planning for the 10th Anniversary Symposium, save the dates for February 4-7, 2024 at Horseshoe Bay Resort.

Registration available Summer 2024.

January 15-18, 2023   |   Horseshoe Bay Resort


Speaker Bios

Sunday, January 15

Winter Winemaker Dinner

Join us for an evening at Horseshoe Bay Resort for a perfectly paired dinner with wines from all 7 Texas Hill Country Wineries Board Members.  Guests will be seated with an owner, winemaker or special representative from Grape Creek Vineyards/Heath Sparkling, Bent Oak Winery, Pedernales Cellars, William Chris Vineyards, Wedding Oak Winery, Becker Vineyards and Kerrville Hills Winery.

Details & Tickets HERE

Monday, January 16

8am Registration Open – sponsored by Tarpon Blue Insurance & Sunridge Nurseries


9am – 10am NEW VINEYARD/WINERY: Plant The Rainbow: A Pocket Guide For Avoiding Positive Cash Flow –  Daniel Pate, Apical Texas

session sponsored by Texas Tech

Let’s be real; figuring out how the heck to spend profits is THE WORST!!! I’ll share with you exactly how to prevent profits from the start, using endless experimental trials, rare varieties, and low yield strategies.


Ballroom FG
9:30am – 4:30pm Texas Wine Certification Course


Main Ballroom
10:30am – 11:30am NEW VINEYARD/WINERY: Winery Equipment – Seth Urbanek, Wedding Oak Winery


Ballroom FG
11:30am – 1pm Lunch – on your own


1pm – 2pm NEW VINEYARD/WINERY: Winery Permitting 101. What you need to know about starting a winery (and maybe a brewery and distillery, too) – Kimberly Frost – Martin, Hill, Frost

This session will review details of obtaining your winery, brewery and distillery license with state, local and federal requirements.


Ballroom FG
1pm – 2pm Texas AVAs: The Present & The Future –

This session is designed to discuss the process of submitting a request to establish a new AVA, to walk through the case study of the submission of the petition for Llano Uplift AVA currently pending with the TTB and to determine future needs for AVA submissions. The last half of the session will be an open forum for attendees to discuss opportunities for differentiation of the Texas terroir by suggesting options and providing discussion points for prioritization of additional AVAs in the state.

The Moderator of the panel is Chris Brundrett. We will spend about 20 minutes walking through what we have done, then open up the floor for comments and discussion.

The panelists include:
Dr. Justin Scheiner, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Services
Blake DeBerry of Torr Na Lochs and President of Texas Wine Growers
Andrew Sides, of William Chris Wine Company


Ballroom BC
2:30pm – 3:30pm NEW VINEYARD/WINERY: Winery Lab Equipment – The Fundamentals – Andreea Botezatu, Texas A&M (Virtual Presentation)

This presentation will cover the equipment that is commonly found in winery labs and that is necessary for day-to-day wine quality monitoring. Basic parameters covered: pH, TA, SO2 (free and total), Volatile acidity, Soluble Solids, Alcohol.


Ballroom FG
 3pm – 4:30pm THCW Annual Owners & General Membership Meeting


Ballroom BC
4pm – 5pm NEW VINEYARD/WINERY: Practical business wine planning without a template – Roxanne Myers, Lost Oak Winery

session sponsored by Texas Department of Agriculture/Uncork Texas Wine

Real life stories of starting and running a winery. A 17-year veteran shares her personal experiences of joining a family owned and operated winery and transitioning from a hobby to a business.
Cash flow, sales and Marketing strategy, location, compliance, production planning and building a team. A 360-degree look at all the components it takes to run a winery.


Ballroom FG
6pm Texas Hill Country Wine Industry Scholarship Awards Presentation & Reception


Main Ballroom & Foyer

Tuesday, January 17

8am Registration Open – sponsored by Tarpon Blue Insurance & Sunridge Nurseries


8:30am Welcome


Main Ballroom
9:30am – 11am TASTING – sponsored by Capital Farm Credit

Blind Tasting for Winemakers: Practical Applications for Blind Tasting in the Winery – Joanna Wilcozch, Pedernales Cellars

The goal of this session is to outline different methodologies and applications of blind tasting as tools in wine production. While Sommeliers may focus on identifying regions and varietals in a blind tasting, Winemaker’s can utilize blind tasting to better understand the grapes they are working with. We will discuss best practices in blind tasting and several different ways to utilize them to evaluate your wine program. The session will conclude with a five wine tasting that will require participants to evaluate and score each wine. Results will be provided by the end of the Symposium.



Main Ballroom
11:30am – 12:30pm Breakout Sessions

1 – BUSINESS: HR Recruitment – Liz Mercer, WISE Academy

It’s a time of The Great Resignation and hiring good people AND keeping them is harder than ever. If we can even find the right people, the cost of hiring and training is extremely high, so high turn-over is not what we want either. Take a deep dive into how we’re recruiting, interviewing, hiring, onboarding, compensating and retaining staff. In this session, WISE will help you think through your processes and give insights on what works, what doesn’t, steps to great hiring, and ways to keep your superstars, yours.


2 – VINEYARD: Farming Profitability in the Hill Country – Ryan Thomas, Vine Ops


3 – WINERY: Winemaker Panel – Adapting to Texas. Moderator – Michael Barton, Hilmy Cellars. Panel:  Jackie van SantDownes – Driftwood Estate Winery, Travis Proctor – Augusta Vin & Bénédicte Rhyne, Wine Country Consulting



Ballroom BC





Ballroom FG


Main Ballroom

12:30pm – 2pm Lunch sponsored by WINECUB

THCW Presidents Panel & Texas Crush Survey Report

THCW Presidents Panel – Philip Hawkins, Heath Family Brands &  John Catalano, Bent Oak Winery

Texas Crush Report and Vineyard Production Survey for Crop Year 2021 – Justin Scheiner, Texas A&M

This presentation will highlight the results of the Texas Crush Report and Vineyard Production Survey for the 2021 crop year.


Main Ballroom
2pm – 3pm KEYNOTE – sponsored by Moss Adams

What’s Wine Worth? $276 Billion – Jim Trezise, President & Michael Kaiser, Executive VP & Director of Government Affairs – WineAmerica – (Virtual Presentation)

The wine industry boosted the American economy by $276 billion in 2022, up by 25% from the $220 billion in 2017, according to a new study sponsored by WineAmerica, the National Association of American Wineries in Washington, DC. And even though Texas is fifth in the number of wine producers, it’s second in terms of total economic impact at $20 billion because of its large population and related consumption levels. The study contains detailed data on the national level and for all 50 states, showing that wine is truly the ultimate value-added product.   Presenters: Jim Trezise, President, and Michael Kaiser, Executive Vice President and Director of Government Affairs.


Main Ballroom
3:30pm – 4:30pm Breakout Sessions

1 – BUSINESS: Metrics that Mean Something – Philip Hawkins, Grape Creek Vineyards

This session will cover things to track in your tasting room and your marketing (ie: web and more) and how you can use that information to make informed business decisions.


2 – VINEYARD: Soil Science of the Hill Country – Travis Conley

session sponsored by Inland Desert Nursery


3 – WINERY: Understand forestry and barrel making to enhance Terroir in Texas wines – Guillaume Maugeais, Bernard Barrels & Bénédicte Rhyne, Wine Country Consulting

Explanation of the forest and wood selection , the evolution of the selection in the last decade, economic of the forest industry, the importance of seasoning, some processing and the toasts, theirs  evolution and the different parameters for a optimum barrel selection.



Ballroom BC


Ballroom FG


Main Ballroom

5pm – 6pm Breakout Sessions

1 – BUSINESS: Wine Club Panel moderated by Dave Bryant.  Panel: Beth Bayliss – Texas Wine Collective, Valerie Elkins – William Chris Vineyards & Sheila Laigle – Dry Comal Creek Vineyards


2 – VINEYARD: Recent Findings about the Spread of GTDs and Options for Management – Brianna Crowley, Texas A&M

An update on the most current research findings about Grapevine Trunk Diseases and most effective prevention and management practices
Bio- Brianna Crowley is the Texas A&M AgriLife Viticulture Program Specialist for the Hill Country region. She has worked with fungal pathogens since 2019 and perrennial crops since 2012, performing molecular and applied research in university and extension programs. Her current duties are to conduct applied research and advise commercial grape growers on viticulture from site evaluation through crop production, and the many areas of concern in between.


3 – WINERY: Managing High pH and High TA wines through Cation Exchange – Misha Kwasniewski, Penn State

Managing High pH and High TA wines through Cation Exchange- A number of factors can cause fruit with both high pH and high titratable acidity. Such as high potassium uptake, warm temperatures, and elevated transpiration. This can be particularly common when dealing with some interspecific hybrid varieties. Unfortunately, these problems are hard to avoid in some vineyards have few options for how to resolve them in the winery. This talk will discuss the practical use of cation exchange as a way to lower a wine’s pH with minimal impact on titratable acidity. Which can be an important tool for winemakers in making predictably stable wines.


Ballroom BC





Ballroom FG







Main Ballroom

6:30pm – 8pm 9th Annual Reception

Bring Your Own Wine – please bring wines to the Symposium registration desk when you check-in


Palm Pavilion



Wednesday, January 18

Registration opens 8am

8am Breakfast Tacos Limestone
9am – 10:30am TASTING:  The nose knows, but do you? Variations in human sensory perception (as applied to wine) – Anna Katharine Mansfield, Associate Professor of Enology, Cornell AgriTech

We all know that good sensory evaluation is important—but how well do we know our own sensory capabilities? Do you have to be born with a great nose, or can you learn with practice? How accurate are descriptions in sensory notes, anyway? In this session, we’ll explore the sights, smells, and tastes of wine from a sensory scientist’s point of view, try some simple tasting exercises, and bust some wine-tasting myths along the way.


Main Ballroom
10:45am – 11:45am Breakout Sessions

1 – BUSINESS: Sales Training – Liz Mercer, WISE Academy

We miss 100% of the shots we don’t take…what’s holding our team back from closing the sale? And what can we do to help? Sales is an extension of great hospitality and if we’re doing our job right, we’re playing matchmaker for our guests – matching the wines or the clubs that would best suit their interests. Studies show that people buy with emotions and justify the purchase with logic, so in this session, learn how to close the sale using emotional connections and sales skills like planting sales seeds, identifying buying signals and other ways to make an organic, effective close. Attendees will gain tips, tricks and build confidence in the WISE Triple Score: asking for the sale in a brand-appropriate way, effectively presenting the wine club, and inviting guests to join the mailing list.


2 – VINEYARD: Impact of Rootstock and Irrigation on Nutrient Uptake and Fruit Quality – Misha Kwasniewski, Penn State

This talk will cover some of the biology and practical uses of rootstocks in managing nutrient uptake and fruit quality. This will include the presentation of data acquired as part of a multistate NSF grant investigating what role rootstocks can play in adapting to climate change (specifically in regard to instances of drought and other extreme weather events)


3 – WINERY: TA and pH: the basics (and acidics) – Gavin Sacks, Cornell University (VIRTUAL presentation)

Measurements of pH and titratable acidity (TA) have been near-ubiquitous in wineries for decades as proxies for grape maturity or to predict the sourness and stability of a finished wine. This talk will review the basics of the acidics, with content appropriate both for new and established winemakers. Why measure both pH and TA, since the are both metrics of acidity? How can a wine have both high TA and high pH? Why adjust pH and TA, and how do common approaches to acid management lead to different final outcomes? Participants should be able to answer all of these questions by the end of the seminar.


Ballroom BC








Ballroom FG



Main Ballroom

11:45am – 1pm Lunch sponsored by Texas Wine Growers

KEYNOTE: The Future of Texas Wine – Jean Hoefliger, JH Wine Consulting

A discussion of Winemaker Jean Hoefliger’s first two vintages in Texas and his thoughts on where the industry is going in the next 10 years. A focus on winemaking, vineyard development and the opportunities for growth.


Main Ballroom
1:15pm – 2:15pm BUSINESS: Top Texas Wines – What grape varietals, vineyards, regions, and wineries are producing the most Gold medal award winning Texas wines? – Bryan Chagoly – Sandy Road Vineyards & Top Texas Wines

In this session, we will deep dive into 5 years of data from international wine competitions to help get an understanding of what grapes to grow and wines to produce in Texas for Gold medal winning results. We will look at trends in growing regions, varietal popularity, and pricing. We will also showcase and congratulate the top award winning Texas wines and wineries of 2022. You can see all the top ranked Texas wines and wineries by visiting toptexaswines.com


VINEYARD: Sustainable Viticulture in the Hill Country. Moderator: Michael Bilger, Adega Vinho.  Panel: Doug Lewis – Lewis Wines, Cole Harper – Precision Viticulture & Michael Maynard – Kuhlman Cellars

The panel will discuss building soil health, soil fertility, introducing compost, fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, bio-cides, and canopy & water management.


Ballroom BC








Ballroom FG



Main Ballroom

2:30pm – 3:30pm KEYNOTE – sponsored by TricorBraun WinePak

Why Texas? – What is attractive about the Texas wine industry that is driving established brands from other states into our area

Moderator – Amie Nemec. Panel: Sarah Garrett – Serrano Wines, Hailey Zurschmeide – Bluemont Vineyard, Chris Missick – Missick Cellars

What is attractive about the Texas wine industry that is driving established brands from other states into our area? What is attractive about Texas? And why did these wineries seek a tasting room outside of the area of their original location? How is Texas similar, and how are we different from where they came from? Join us in a panel discussion about why Texas is an attractive area for wineries to grow.


Main Ballroom
4pm – 5:30pm TASTING: There’s more to Spanish grapes in Texas than Tempranillo. A whole lot more!  – Daniel Kelada, Vinovium

This session aims to take a closer look at two other Spanish varietals that in many ways have already started to draw attention and raise eyebrows for their quality and consistency vintage-over-vintage. We’ll discuss the growing areas, production and styles of Albarino and Monastrell and make an effort to link them back to styles produced in Texas. Through an interactive tasting we will be able to discuss what parallels we can draw from and also what are the apparent differences each wine exhibits that may inform us about what’s possible (or not possible) in Texas using these varietals.


Main Ballroom

Speaker Bios


  • Symposium Registration: September 2-December 14 – Member* $275/Non-Member $375
  • Symposium Late Registration: December 15-January 18 – Member* $325/Non-Member $425
  • Texas Wine Certification Course: $250/person, limited to 50, includes lunch, does not include Symposium registration.
  • No refunds available after Monday, January 9.

Registration includes:

  • 3 days of educational sessions (not including Texas Wine Certification Course)
  • Lunch on Tuesday & Wednesday
  • 9th Annual Symposium Reception
  • All 3 tasting sessions (limited to 200 seats per session)
  • Tradeshow

*THCW Members – check your email for Symposium Member Rate Discount Code or EMAIL US if you need assistance.

Academia/Student Rate available, please EMAIL US

2023 Sponsors





CLICK HERE for 2023 Sponsor info and registration


2023 Exhibitors

  • Alain Fouquet French Cooperage
  • Allied Ag
  • Barrel Associates
  • Bucher Vaslin North America
  • C&C Sales & Marketing – Glass Tech
  • Carlsen & Associates
  • Columbia Label
  • Comerica Bak
  • Commerce7
  • Euro-Machines
  • G3 Enterprises
  • Hotsy Equipment Company
  • Homeland Environmental Solutions
  • Inland Desert Nursery
  • InnoVint
  • JSC Agriculture Supply
  • Knights Grapevine Nursery
  • Nadalie USA
  • Novavine
  • O-I Packaging
  • OrderPort
  • Producers Supply
  • Prospero Equipment Corp
  • Scott Laboratories
  • Slow Texas Winery Consulting
  • Spectrum Wine Specialties
  • Sunridge Nurseries
  • SWBC Employee Benefits Consulting Group
  • Tarpon Blue Insurance
  • Texas Hill Country Corkers
  • Texas Tech University
  • The Bracero Group
  • The PEO Link
  • TN Coopers
  • Tonnellerie De Mercurey
  • TricorBraun WinePak
  • Uncork Texas Wines – Texas Department of Agriculture
  • Vintners Vault
  • Vinwizard
  • WineCub
  • WineTankBroker.com
  • WinStar Insurance Group

CLICK HERE for 2023 Exhibitor info and registration

Limited to 35 Exhibitors

THCW Member Exhibitor $400 – includes one (1) attendee, lunches, reception, 6 ft table, chair, wifi

Non-Member Exhibitor $750 – includes two (2) attendees, lunches, Reception, 6 ft table, chair, wifi

 Additional Exhibitor $150 – includes lunches and Reception

 Additional Table $75 – includes additional 6ft table, chair

Setup: Monday, January 16, 9am – 4pm or Tuesday, January 17 8am

Tear Down: Wednesday, January 18 after 2pm

Please contact January@TexasWineTrail.com for questions about your membership or becoming a THCW member.

THCW Membership is separate from other Texas wine associations.  

LODGING – Horseshoe Bay Resort

A group room rate of $181/night has been set up for this event. 

Book online here – Texas Hill Country Wineries Association 2023 or call 877-611-0112.  

Rate expires on December 15, 2022 – book early to guarantee this rate.

Join us for the 9th Annual Hill Country Wine Symposium!

The Hill Country Wine Symposium was established in 2015 by Texas Hill Country Wineries.  Symposium includes THREE days of seminars, lectures and panel discussions with over 20 sessions in 4 dedicated tracks.: Vineyard, Winery, Business & New Vineyard/Winery.  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 current Texas clients while meeting new potential accounts.  With a small ratio of exhibitors to attendees, there is ample time and space to visit with all attendees.  Sponsors, Exhibitors and 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 Crush Survey Report.  The Scholarship Awards presentation and reception will be hosted on Monday evening.  To date, over $55K in scholarships have been awarded to students across Texas working towards a wine industry related field.

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

Texas Wine Certification Course – SOLD OUT

Consumers that taste Texas wine are either brand new to wine, familiar with wine but unfamiliar with Texas wine, or have been tasting Texas wine for decades as the Texas wine industry has grown into itself. To meet every consumer where they are at in their Texas wine journey, the Ambassadors of our state must be armed with not only a strong understanding of our product and place-of-origin, but also be able to translate this importance to each consumer in a meaningful way. This course is designed to get DTC folks on their feet and armed to apply a high standard of understanding directly to any consumer. It is exercise-based, full of stories, tasting, and far from boring. Those who pass through this course are awarded a custom Texas Wine lapel pin that tells everyone that they have a strong knowledge of wine with a focus on understanding of the Texas wine industry.

Details HERE