Thank you to all our 2019 presenters.
Keynote Speaker: Emily Pelton
Head Winemaker, Veritas Vineyards
Emily graduated from Emory University with a B.S. in Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology, and a focus in Infectious Diseases. She moved to Virginia from Atlanta in 1999 to take a year off, and work alongside her parents in the development of Veritas Vineyard and Winery. It didn’t take long for her to realize that she was not going back to her original field of study. After completing her Masters in Oenology at Virginia Tech, Emily joined the family venture full-time.
Allowing the Virginia terroir to show through in her wines, Emily focuses primarily on vineyard-specific qualities. Elevated by a strong family business, she has grown up making wine solely for Veritas Vineyard and Winery. Emily won Virginia’s Wine Person of the Year in 2017 and also manages the Virginia Winemakers Research Cooperative to further the progress and growth in the Virginia Wine Industry through winery driven research. Outside of wine she has an extensive orchid collection and two beautiful girls.
Assistant Professor and Extension Viticulture Specialist with the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service
In his Extension role, Justin provides educational programming and technical support for grape growers in the Texas Gulf Coast Region and North Texas. His research program focuses on best management practices for vineyards in areas of Texas affected by Pierce’s Disease. Justin also teaches undergraduate courses in the Department of Horticultural Sciences at Texas A&M University in College Station and serves as a member of the graduate faculty.
Regional Sales Manager, Nadalié
Mark Evich joined Nadalié USA in January 2015 representing the Nadalié and Marsannay barrel lines, as well as Oak Add-In products covering Sonoma, Oregon and East Coast regions.
Previously, Mark spent 18 vintages in wine production in both Sonoma County, California and the Willamette Valley in Oregon. He began in the cellar and worked his way up to Barrel Master at Kenwood Vineyards, where he spent 11 vintages, followed by Assistant Winemaker for both 12th & Maple Wine Co and Van Duzer Vineyards in Oregon. Mark then returned to California to manage production for a Custom Crush facility in Sonoma, before deciding to “hang up the hoses” for a chance to work for Nadalié- a 5th generation family-owned and operated cooperage with production facilities located in the Napa Valley, CA, France, Australia, and Chile.
Mark grew up in Sonoma County and lives in Santa Rosa with his wife Lisa, a winemaker at Simi Winery in Healdsburg, son Rex, and daughter, Elena. When his spare time allows, he’s a committed baseball player and wine consumer.
Executive Winemaker, St. James Winery, MO
St. James Winery’s Executive Winemaker Andrew Meggitt is a veteran of the wine industry for more than 20 years, having worked in wineries in both the New and Old Worlds.
This experience has brought a new kind of innovation to the American wine industry, and he’s chosen to take this entrepreneurial spirit to the Midwest. He spends his days meeting with his team, collaborating on new ideas, and embracing new challenges.
Michael came on board with Scott Laboratories in 2007 with over 35 years of winemaking experience under his belt. Since then he shared his wealth of knowledge with North America by traveling extensively to trade shows and seminars throughout the country, many times as a speaker. A UC Davis graduate, Michael has lived and worked in Burgundy, France and the Hunter Valley, Australia. Domestically, Michael built his experience at Novavine, Hanzell Vineyards and Caymus Vineyards. He also spent 19 years at Domaine Chandon where he put on a multitude of hats and was involved with the vineyards, operations, winemaking, laboratory and was part of the team that established the Wine Education program. Prior to his start in the wine industry, Michael spent a year traveling cross-country by freight train, stopping to work on a shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, pitch hay in San Antonio and sell art in New Orleans.
A UC Davis graduate, Michael has lived and worked in Burgundy, France and the Hunter Valley, Australia. Domestically, Michael built his experience at Novavine, Hanzell Vineyards and Caymus Vineyards. He also spent 19 years at Domaine Chandon where he put on a multitude of hats and was involved with the vineyards, operations, winemaking, laboratory and was part of the team that established the Wine Education program. Prior to his start in the wine industry, Michael spent a year traveling cross-country by freight train, stopping to work on a shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, pitch hay in San Antonio and sell art in New Orleans.
Vinoptic, Vineyard Manager
A native of San Francisco, Aaron has held top management and production positions at a number of vineyards and wineries in California. Under his consulting company Vinoptic, he has consulted for companies on both the east and west coasts.
He began his wine career in viticulture services under the tutelage of Steve Matthiasson working with premier Napa and Sonoma wineries such as Paul Hobbs, Duckhorn, and Opus One, among others. Later, at Gallo Vineyards, Aaron helped the company gain the world’s first-evervineyardISO certification (which includes sustainability practices) for their Monte Rosso Vineyard.
Aaron has been the director of vineyard operations at Keller Estate; director of vineyard operations and winemaking at D’Ambrosio Vineyards and Verismo Wines; and head winemaker at Glimpse, Stretto, Stella, and Argo Navis. He also teaches a course on “Practical Vineyard Management” in Sonoma State University’s Wine Business department.
In short, Aaron really knows his way around a vineyard and a winery. Aaron is actively involved in all aspects of the wine industry: vineyard operations, winemaking, brand development, marketing, sales, and staff training. But in keeping with his start in the industry, Aaron still looks to the vineyard first: “I feel that most of winemaking begins in the vineyard—and when a particular vineyard is producing premium fruit, then stellar wines will follow.”
Enology Instructor, Surry Community College
David Bower was hired as Surry Community College’s winemaker and enology instructor in 2012, overseeing the creation and distribution of the student-produced wine label, Surry Cellars, at the Shelton-Badgett North Carolina Center of Viticulture and Enology on the Dobson, N.C., campus in the heart of the Yadkin Valley American Viticultural Area. Under his leadership, the Surry Cellars label has won more than 75 medals including state, regional, national and international awards. David is a leader of sparkling wine production in a community college setting. He also created the initiative for the inaugural Southeastern United Grape & Wine Symposium, now in its eighth year. David is a 2011 graduate from Cornell University with a B.S. in Plant Science and a B.S. in Viticulture and Enology. He earned an M.S. in Plant Science with a concentration in Winemaking from Missouri State University in 2018. A recipient of the Nelson J. Shaulis Award for the Advancement of Viticulture, David developed and completed a number of research initiatives at Cornell, including wine chemistry research, vine stress physiology research on Riesling, and methoxypyrazine research on Cabernet Franc. He also helped plant Cornell’s first organic vineyard and taught several classes there as a teaching assistant. David has worked as a winemaker and wine consultant for Lake Ontario Winery and Vineyards in western New York, planting the first vines and bottling the first vintages at the family-owned winery.
Assistant Professor - Horticultural Science, North Carolina State University
Mark Hoffmann is Assistant Professor and the Small Fruits Extension Specialist in the Department of Horticultural Science at North Carolina State University (NCSU). He started his position in July 2017 and has extension and research responsibilities for the bunch grape, muscadine and strawberry industry. He is of German origin, has lived in the U.S. since 2013 and in North Carolina since 2017. His program currently focuses on (1) the development of extension services, products and teams to serve the industry in the state of NC, and (2) the exploration and communication of knowledge, emphasizing research on the management of vine health in different pathosystems.
Megan joined Scott Laboratories in the spring of 2010. A Virginia native, she received her BS in Biology in 2001 and her MS in Food Microbiology in 2003, both from Virginia Tech. Prior to joining Scott Labs, Megan worked for Novozymes Biologicals for six years. She has also worked at two wineries in Virginia and looks forward to being more deeply involved with the East Coast wine industry.
Viticulture Instructor, Surry Community College
Sarah Bowman joined the Surry Community College faculty as Viticulture Instructor in January 2018. In 2013, she received her M.S. in Horticulture from Southern Illinois University where she is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Agricultural Science.
Sarah was actively involved in the Illinois grape and wine industry for 10 years before relocating to North Carolina. During her time in the Midwest she co-managed a commercial vineyard, conducted educational workshops with the Illinois Grape Growers and Wine Makers Alliance, provided viticultural consulting services to regional growers and held the position of Illinois State Viticulturist.
In her teaching, she emphasizes the importance of understanding the biological systems and practical management decisions that support sustainable production of high quality winegrapes. She shares her knowledge and experience in a straightforward, approachable manner and is thrilled to be educating and training individuals with the curiosity and courage to pursue a career in wine.
Marketing Director, Nadalié