Managing Growth Strategies in a Crowded Market

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: 

Market Entry Strategies for 2023: Seizing Opportunity

This year’s series builds on last year’s ‘Deep Dive’ series with an emphasis on practical strategies for growth in the current market. Topics include the latest developments in the industry, an overview of the US import & distribution landscape, production and marketing cycles, geographic assessment of markets, understanding consumer preferences, and best practices for working with distribution partners. Each live session features a group of industry experts discussing challenges and opportunities, sharing ideas, and addressing questions from participants in an open dialogue.

Managing Growth Strategies in a Crowded Market

Finding the right fit for your wine or spirits portfolio

Available On-Demand

This panel is a must for anyone looking to grow in today’s US market environment. Themes will focus on persevering to succeed at market penetration, especially what it takes to thrive when you are a small fish in a big sea. The discussion will include ideas on standing out in a crowd and the pros & cons of being a wine in a spirits dominated portfolio and vice versa.  Finally, panelists will address the ever-daunting questions around market selection, the importance of marketing programs, and how to methodically and effectively grow a brand one state, one market at a time.


Nunzio Castaldo, President, Panebianco Wines Importing

The Panebianco portfolio, available in New York and New Jersey, is centered around carefully selected producers representing the best of Italy. As president, Nunzio is responsible for the strategic direction of the company and oversees all aspects of operations including product acquisition, supplier relations and execution of sales and marketing plans. Prior to his role as president of Panebianco, Nunzio was senior vice president, brand management of the Leonardo LoCascio Selections (LLS) Italian portfolio of the Winebow Group for 30 years.
In 2015, Nunzio was inducted into the Italian Trade Commission’s Wines of Italy Hall of Fame, which honors professionals in the wine industry who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing the understanding, appreciation, and sales of Italian wines in the United States. He has also been inducted as a lifetime member into several prestigious wine organizations including the Maestro Ordine dei Cavalieri del Tartufo e Vini D’Alba and the Confrairia du Porto.

Cheryl Durzy, Founder, CEO, LibDib

After nearly 20 years of managing wholesale sales for her family’s 80,000-case winery, Clos LaChance on Northern California’s Central Coast, Cheryl founded LibDib in June 2016. The company is based on the concept that the beverage industry needs efficient distribution options for craft distilleries and family-owned wineries to be successful on their own terms. As CEO, Cheryl leads a team building and marketing this platform-based alcohol distribution business. Via a proprietary marketplace, LibDib is available to any wine or spirits maker for three-tier distribution and is based in San Jose, California.
She has a full understanding of the industry and issues regarding alcohol distribution in the United States, and she sits on several boards, including the California Sustainable Wine Association and Free the Grapes. She is also the former President of the Board of the Santa Cruz Mountains Winegrowers Association.

Ruggero Raymo, CEO & Co-Founder, Portofino Dry Gin

Ruggero founded Portofino Dry Gin as a tribute to his grandfather Klaus Pudel, who was admired for having saved Portofino from destruction during World War II. Located in the heart of the Italian Riviera, the gin is an homage to this beautiful region. Ruggero’s past experience has factored into Portofino’s success in this artisanal category, due in large part to his vision and marketing and sales expertise. Prior to entering the spirits industry and planting the seeds of the Portofino Dry Gin project, Ruggero worked in prestigious global sports institutions with roles at Laureus, FIFA, Eurosport and AC Milan. Ruggero moved to Milan after living in Asia, South America and Europe.


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. Most recently she completed her Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) 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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