Success Strategies for Increasing Wine Tourism

Distinguished professor of wine and professor of management at Sonoma State University, Dr. Liz Thach, MW, will present her global research on wine regions that have successfully integrated wine tourism into their sales channel. Morgen McLaughlin, Executive Director of Willamette Valley Wineries Association, and former Executive Director for Santa Barbara Vintners’ Association and Finger Lakes Tourism and Jeff Knapp, Executive Director of Visit McMinnville will inform a panel discussion on how to build and attract repeat wine tourism. Travel Oregon culinary and agricultural tourism developers Scott Bricker and Michelle Woodard will present their findings and case studies on the benefits of coordinating tourism efforts and will advise on strategies to secure Travel Oregon grant funding.

Speaker Bios

Scott Bricker serves as the Director of Product Development on Travel Oregon’s Destination Development team. Scott’s work includes serving as the Manager of the Oregon Outdoor Recreation Initiative, culinary and agricultural tourism and visitor transportation programs. Prior to full-time employment, Scott contracted with Travel Oregon to deliver 18 Bicycle Tourism Studios. Scott is a former non-profit Executive, leading America Walks for six years and the Bicycle Transportation Alliance with roles of Executive Director, Policy Director, and Education Director over 11 years. Scott earned a Masters of Urban and Regional Planning from Portland State and Bachelors in Political Science at SUNY Albany. Scott loves to wander, eat and drink his way across the globe. Scott lives on an urban farm with wife, daughters, chickens, bees, garden, and various pets.
Jeff Knapp is the executive director for Visit McMinnville. In his role, he creates and executes strategic programming to increase year-round, overnight visits to Oregon wine country. From 2008 to 2015 Knapp worked as the director of consumer relations for Sokol Blosser Winery in Dundee, Oregon, where Jeff was instrumental in helping the company achieve its growth objectives by overseeing a variety of business development and strategic planning responsibilities. Prior to Sokol Blosser, Jeff gained valuable experience in the regional tourism industry as the director of private events at Avalon Hotel & Spa, and as the private event manager at Bluehour Restaurant, both in Portland.
Morgen McLaughlin is the executive director of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, an Oregon-based wine trade association missioned to promote, enhance and protect the prestige of Willamette Valley wines. She previously served as the executive director of Santa Barbara County Vintners Association in California, president/CEO of the Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association, and managed a small family-owned winery and vineyard in Connecticut.
Dr. Liz Thach MW (pronounced “tosh”) is the distinguished professor of wine and a professor of management at Sonoma State University, where she teaches both undergraduate and wine MBA programs. She is an award-winning author who has published over 130 articles and eight wine books, including Call of the Vine, Wine – A Global Business and Wine Marketing & Sales. A fifth-generation Californian, Liz finished her PhD at Texas A&M University, and now lives on Sonoma Mountain where she tends a small hobby vineyard and makes Pinot noir. Liz obtained the distinction of Master of Wine (MW) in May of 2011, and she serves as a wine judge and on a number of non-profit wine boards.
As Grants Manager, Michelle Woodard administers and monitor’s Travel Oregon’s competitive and matching grants programs. A native Oregonian, Michelle enjoys spending time outdoors and exploring the state with her husband and two sons. She’s continually amazed by the fact that she can cut her own Christmas tree, pick her own berries and sample some of the world’s best wine all within minutes of her home.