Creative Market Entry Strategies for 2021—Navigating the Three-Tier System

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: Growing Brands in the US Market.

This 6-webinar series explores topics critical to brands looking to enter or expand in the US. The goal of the education series is to help producers navigate and better understand the complexities of working in the US market. Each webinar features industry experts discussing the latest developments in the industry, beverage alcohol laws and regulations, opportunities for market entry and expansion, and case studies of successful brands.

Creative Market Entry Strategies for 2021—Navigating the Three-Tier System


This valuable session brings together experts from wine law, marketing, direct to consumer strategy and international brand development. Different strategies are needed for different geographic markets in the US and for different product assortments. As they share ideas on how to develop a strategy to approach the US market, our speakers clarify questions about the three-tier system with respect to:

  • The possibility of DTC into the US for a non-US based brand and whether they foresee any relaxing of laws that could help imported products
  • The importance of deciding what state (s) to target for US distribution of a brand; understanding economic factors and micro markets around the US
  • How small brands can find an importer and how to tell which distributors are a good fit for your brands based on product assortment alignment
  • How to assess your brand’s “health” from afar; key metrics a producer should always measure


John TrinidadJohn Trinidad, Partner and Legal Counsel to the Wine Industry, at Dickenson, Peatman & Fogerty

As a partner in the firm’s Wine Law, Business, Alcohol Beverage, and Geographical Indications practice groups, John Trinidad advises wine and alcohol beverage industry clients on a broad range of legal issues, including business formation, obtaining alcohol beverage licenses, and the drafting of key contracts, such as grape purchase agreements, vineyard leases, and distribution contracts, and the purchase and sale of winery brands and assets. John also advises clients on federal and state alcohol beverage regulations such as franchise laws, tied-house laws, labeling requirements, and the protection and promotion of American Viticultural Areas.

John is a graduate of Harvard College and the New York University School of Law. In 2017-2018, John co-taught wine law classes the University of California Davis School of Law and Napa Valley College. He has also been a lecturer on a variety of wine law issues at the University of California Berkeley School of Law, Sonoma State University’s Executive MBA Program, and the University of California Davis Executive MBA Program.

Also an avid photographer, John’s pictures of vineyards, wineries, and producers were recently published in a book on the history of the Champagne region, But First, Champagne.

Stephanie PeacheyStephanie Peachey, Recently Vice President of the Luxury Portfolio at Fetzer Vineyards which is owned by Concha y Toro, Chile; Former VP Direct to Consumer Kosta Browne Winery and Vintage Wine Estates

Stephanie Peachey has been successfully creating and executing marketing strategies for 16+ years – at both regional and global levels. After gaining vast experience in growing brands and the bottom line in a corporate setting in NYC, Stephanie married her love for marketing with her passion for wine and pursued her MBA from Sonoma State University.

While completing her masters, Stephanie joined the Vintage Wine Estates team where for almost six years she led their DTC business. Stephanie has since focused on U.S. fine wine sales and marketing strategies for the likes of Kosta Browne winery and the fine wine portfolio of Fetzer Vineyards parent company, Viña Concha y Toro, headquartered in Chile, including Don Melchor, Marques de Casa Concha and emerging California wines.

Stephanie is currently helping her two grade school sons, Lane and Davis, navigate the world of COVID education, while maintaining a close connection to the wine industry. During their not-so-downtime, Stephanie and her husband of 14 years, Derek, love to spend time outdoors with their boys.

Michael TraversoMichael Traverso, International Brand Manager, Jackson Family Wines International

Michael Traverso is a Brand Manager with Jackson Family Wines. He helps direct the company’s international winery brand efforts which include Tuscany’s Tenuta di Arceno and Chateau Lassegue in Bordeaux.

Before joining Jackson Family Wines, Michael spent six years developing and growing the Italian Portfolio for Wilson Daniels. He has held marketing and direct-to-consumer roles with iconic Russian River Valley winery Williams Selyem and his family’s long-time gourmet retail store, Traverso’s.

When not working, Michael enjoys cooking, golfing, hiking and exploring the back roads of northern California with his wife and two small children. Michael is a graduate of University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business and holds a level one Master Sommelier certificate.


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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