Consumer Insights & Product Selection

Sonoma Wine Business Institute

Vinexpo America | Drinks America and the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University, a global leader in wine business education and research, present: 

Vinexpo America | Drinks America Deep Dive Series: Growing Brands in the US Market.

This educational series explores topics critical to brands looking to enter or expand in the US. The goal of the series is to help wine and spirits producers navigate and better understand the complexities of working in the US market. Topics covered include the latest developments in the industry, consumption and production trends, product pricing in both the on- and off-premise segments, product assortment, and working with distribution partners. Each session features industry experts discussing challenges and opportunities as well as sharing ideas in an open dialogue format while also addressing questions from participants

Consumer Insights & Product Selection


The ever-changing landscape of the wine and spirits market calls for up-to-the-minute knowledge of what is selling both from a style and price-point perspective. Analyzing where trends are going and what factors are driving key consumer beverage buying decisions can be a challenge. Ecommerce has also changed the way consumers buy wine. Combined with the necessity for different strategies and product assortments in markets across the US, this all adds up to a level of complexity that is daunting.

Managing this complexity calls for buyers and sellers to understand economic trends as well as how to interpret the vast amount of wine industry data put forward daily. Each expert panelist provides a data-backed perspective that will help viewers better understand what information can help them refine the strategic direction of their products and portfolios. Viewers will also gain insights into product-based trends, sustainability, health and wellness trends, as well as options for accessing and analyzing data at little or no cost. 


Karen Daenen, Director of Research & Consumer Insights, Jackson Family Wines

Karen has been with Jackson Family Wines (JFW) for the past 11 years where she oversees all consumer research with an emphasis on identifying and translating consumer and wine trends, analyzing brand equity, and spearheading new research methodologies. Prior to her role at JWF, Karen was a research manager at Nielsen Online where she developed consumer insights and supervised the synthesis and analysis of Nielsen proprietary online data to inform strategies of a diverse Fortune 500 food, beverage, and other consumer products client base. Before Nielsen, Karen was a senior research analyst at ORC where she translated consumer trends into actionable insight and marketing recommendations. At Kobrand Corporation she served for seven years as director of information services where she created and managed customized research for their diverse portfolio of wines and spirits. Karen holds a BA from Barnard College a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from Pratt Institute.

Kate Landman, Corporate Commercial Analytics Manager, Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits

As a member of Southern Glazers Wine and Spirits (SGWS) commercial analytics team, Kate is involved in the strategic analysis of external data to address business questions for SGWS’s strategic supplier group regarding performance tracking and market conditions. Monitoring industry and economic trends, she advises on pricing, promotion, trade marketing, distribution/assortment, and customer and shopper marketing insights. From 2012-2016, she was an import brand analyst at Chambers and Chambers Wine Merchants where she worked closely with the import specialists and sales director on developing and executing brand initiatives necessary to achieve supplier goals. Prior to that, Kate held positions at the San Francisco Wine Exchange and Astor Wine and Spirits (in NYC). She holds a BS from the University of Oregon and an MBA in Wine Business from the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University.

Curtis Mann, MW, Group Vice President – Wine, Beer, & Spirits, Albertsons Companies

A 20-year veteran of the US wine industry, Curtis was appointed Group Vice President of Wine, Beer, and Spirits for Albertsons Companies in 2020. The second-largest grocer in the US with 20 retail brands of stores, some locations stock close to 1,000 items in the wine and spirits section. The wine press has noticed his efforts as he is the only person to win Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Star Award for Retailer of the Year twice (once for Raley’s and once for Albertsons). He was also named one of the most influential people in the Wine Industry by Wine Business Monthly in 2020. He started his career in hospitality at ZD Wines in the Napa Valley, where he first discovered his passion for wine. After graduating with an MBA (University of California, Davis), he worked as a brand manager for Trinchero Family Estates and then at Information Resources Inc. (IR) as director of wine and spirits insights. From 2013 to 2020, Curtis worked for Raley’s, a 125-store specialty supermarket chain in California.


Geralyn BrostromGeralyn Brostrom, Wine Business Instructor – Wine Business Institute, Sonoma State University
Principal, Italian Wine Central

Geralyn has held positions in multiple channels: winery, import, distribution, retail, and the non-profit wine education sector. She teaches in the MBA program at Sonoma State University and has taught wine business at the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. Her published books include Into Italian Wine and The Business of Wine, which was nominated for the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards.

As co-founder of the Italian Wine Central (IWC) website, Geralyn is involved in developing an international network for wine professionals wanting to learn and teach about Italian wines. Prior to starting IWC, she was Vice President of education for Winebow. Geralyn holds a BS in Management and an MBA in Marketing. She is currently pursuing her doctorate in innovation and business studies at Bocconi University in Milan. A dual citizen of the United States and the Italian Republic, her professional wine credentials include the VIA Italian Wine Expert, the Italian Wine Professional (IWP), the Certified Wine Educator (CWE) from SWE and WSET’s Level III Award in Wines and Spirits.


Ray JohnsonRay Johnson, Executive Director, Wine Business Institute – Sonoma State University

Ray is executive director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State, the first university in the United States to offer a BS in Wine Business in 1998, the first to offer a Wine MBA in 2008 and the first in the world to offer an Executive Wine MBA in 2012.

Johnson joined the wine business in 1986 at the Christian Brothers’ Greystone Cellars in Saint Helena, California. He went on to sell wine, first on the supplier side, and later in retail, working directly with consumers. He earned his Master’s in Wine Business from the University of Adelaide in South Australia and taught for fourteen years.

Johnson’s work has been published in the Journal of Consumer Marketing, the International Journal of Wine Business Research, Vineyard & Winery Management, and in reviews for consumers and the primer The Good Life Guide to Enjoying Wine.


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