Thank you to all our 2016 presenters.

  • Erick Byrd

    UNCG Bryan School of Business

    Erick Byrd, an associate professor of sustainable tourism and hospitality, holds a PhD from NC State and has worked in the commercial recreation and the travel and tourism industries. His areas of research interest include tourism marketing, sustainable development, community involvement and barriers to development. Byrd is often touted for his capability of using professional experiences to link theory and concepts to practical application.

  • Jerry Douglas

    President, Biltmore Wines | Keynote Speaker

    Jerry Douglas is responsible for marketing, production, and sales of all Biltmore wine both on-site and throughout the United States. Over time, Douglas has been active in many national wine industry organizations including the American Vintners’ Association, the American Institute of Wine and Food, and the North Carolina Wine and Grape Council; he is a founding member of the Wine Market Council where he currently serves as a board member. During the program, Douglas will reflect on his experience in wine marketing with a specific emphasis on the crucial element of hospitality and how it is the driving force behind any winery’s success.

  • Joseph Geller

    Viticulture Instructor, Surry Community College

    Joseph Geller earned a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from the University of South Carolina in 2010 and a master of science in Viticulture and Enology from California State University Fresno in 2012. His interest was always in science, and after many trips to Napa, California, to visit family, he realized he could apply his science background to an exciting career in the wine and grape industry. He was a teaching assistant for viticulture courses during his time at Fresno State where he presented his graduate research at a number of technical conferences. He realized early on that he had a knack for relating to an audience and effectively communicating often complicated scientific topics, which is why he wanted to become an instructor.

    Geller has been working at Surry Community College since July 2014 as the Viticulture Instructor. He enjoys sharing his knowledge with others and providing students with professional expertise. Previously, Geller served as a viticulturist at Treasury Wine Estates in the Napa, Sonoma, and California Central Coast regions. He also worked in production and sales at Idle Hour Winery in Oakhurst, California.

  • Tremain Hatch

    Viticulture Extension/Research Associate

    Tremain Hatch currently serves as the viticulture research and extension associate at Virginia Tech where he received a Master of Science in Horticulture degree in 2010. Within this role, Hatch generates and delivers innovative research to Virginia grape growers; he is responsible for developing programs and outreach for new and experienced grape farmers in Virginia’s growing wine industry. Hatch’s current research focuses on wine grape pruning methods, vineyard cost flow projections and vineyard fertilizer programs. During his studies, Hatch completed vineyard and winery practicums in Italy, New Zealand, and Virginia. He will address how to think outside the box and employee innovation in mid-Atlantic vineyards in order to perpetuate success.

  • Patty Held

    Patty Held Winery Consulting

    Winery consultant Patty Held graduated from California State University at Fresno with a bachelor’s degree in Enology and then went on to become the winemaker at Taylor Wine Company in New York before returning to her family-owned winery, Stone Hill Winery in Hermann, Missouri, where she served as director of public relations and special events. Currently, Held has her own winery consulting business, Patty Held Winery Consulting. She has served as a judge at prestigious wine competitions across the country and was instrumental in forming the Hermann Wine Trail. She is an adjunct online instructor for VESTA teaching Small Winery and Tasting Room Management classes along with serving as America’s Wine Trail’s industry advisor and part of the marketing team for the website and mobile app. Held will share her insights from years of experience and consulting on the intricacies of crafting regional wines.

  • Dr. Charles Safley

    Department Head at North Carolina State University’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

    Dr. Charles Safley develops business models for North Carolina farmers growing a variety of small fruits, and has also used his wealth of industry knowledge to teach and help agricultural professionals in eastern Honduras, Czechoslovakia, Poland and Bulgaria. Safley will present the findings from his North Carolina Wine Consumer Survey. The discussion will focus on identifying the consumer bases in wine markets across North Carolina, Virginia, and New York to help winery managers make better marketing decisions for their products and services.

  • Dr. Stephan Sommer

    ASU Fermentation Sciences

    Dr. Stephan Sommer earned an Engineering Diploma in Beverage Technology from Hochschule Geisenheim University and a PhD in Microbiology and Wine Science from Johannes Gutenberg University, both in Germany, and is now a professor in the rapidly growing Fermentation Sciences program at Appalachian State University. He has over eight years of industry experience in various fields of beverage production including wineries, sparkling wine companies, and breweries. Additionally, Dr. Sommer managed a commercial beverage laboratory and was involved in research projects in the German wine industry. Dr. Sommer will share his expertise on fermentation with an emphasis on sensory science as well.

  • Samuel Troy

    UNCG Bryan School of Business

    Samuel Troy and Erick Byrd, both from the Bryan School of Business and Economics at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, have been instrumental in the Bryan School’s continuing partnership with North Carolina’s wine and grape industry, a key in providing business intelligence and research that boosts the sector’s economic potential. The duo will share their wealth of combined marketing and business expertise as it pertains specifically to the wine industry.

    Troy currently serves as an executive in residence at UNC-G and holds a degree in Higher European Studies from the College of Europe, Bruges, Belgium; a Master of Arts from East Carolina University; and a Bachelor of Arts from Elon University. He has held numerous executive positions within the US Department of Commerce in which he planned, managed and implemented major business, industry and international initiatives. Mr. Troy is also the recipient of several distinguishable awards including North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine and the Distinguished Leadership Award from the National Association of Community Leadership.