Three Tiers for Fears: Get Out of the Cellar and Be a Seller

Selling wine in the three-tier system has never been easy, but the game has changed and competition is more fierce than ever. Winemakers must leverage their knowledge and clout to make the most of supplier visits. Learn sales strategies that work, how to speak the language of distribution, and why building lasting relationships is critical to success.

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Speaker Bios

Andrew Bandy-Smith is a Midwestern preacher’s kid turned philosopher turned sommelier turned winemaker. He approaches winemaking from a craft-oriented perspective, accentuated by a lack of formal education and encapsulated by a deep quest for knowledge. He eschews the idea of style and instead sees the role of winemaker as translator and mediator, an intermediate step on the path from vineyard to bottle. As winemaker for Antiquum Farm, Andrew works with owner and farmer Stephen Hagen to usher a distinct interpretation of place into each wine.

After receiving a degree in political science from Boston College and moving to Washington, D.C., Stacey Gibson quickly realized that politics wasn’t going to be her life’s work. She packed up and moved to New York City and started as a hostess at a restaurant in the Flatiron District. She loved learning more about food and wine and fell hard for the energy and pace of the restaurant floor. After managing the wine list at Momofuku Ma Peche, she moved on to Corkbuzz Wine Studio under the mentorship of Master Sommelier Laura Maniec. In 2013, she moved to Portland to start a family and be closer to the Willamette Valley. After managing several wine lists in the city, including for the Bruce Carey Restaurant Group and The Woodsman Tavern, Stacey is now a partner and general manager for the bar at Park Avenue Fine Wines. She and her husband also own a food and wine focused event business called Parallel Food & Drink. Stacey is an Advanced Sommelier through the Court of Master Sommeliers.
Merritt Olson, a Northwest native, is the director of sales for Mitchell Wine Group, Oregon’s leading independent wholesaler of fine wines. Prior to her position at Mitchell, she worked on all sides of the wine business including originating the roles of portfolio manager and general sales manager at Galaxy Wine Company, as well as stints in national sales at Owen Roe, K Vintners and Charles Smith Wines among others. She is an active member of the ¡Salud! Auction committee. Merritt lives in Portland with her husband and two young daughters.
Ken Pahlow marked the launch of his dream in 2008 when he and his wife, Erica Landon emptied their meager retirement accounts and used the funds to form Walter Scott Wines. Previously, Ken had worked in the wine industry for almost two decades, beginning in 1994 by working production, sales and harvests at St. Innocent Winery alongside winemaker Mark Vlossak for 14 years. Concurrently, Ken continued to expand his knowledge by representing world-class wine distributors, including a 10-year stint with Vin de Garde followed by two years at Galaxy Wine Company. These two portfolios represented many of the top wine estates in the world, and provided a unique opportunity for Ken to educate his palate. His obsession with Chardonnay was fueled by working alongside winemakers Isabell Meunier and Dominique Lafon at Evening Land Vineyards.

Ken has been involved with the International Pinot Noir Celebration, the Oregon Chardonnay Celebration, the Oregon Chardonnay Technical Tasting and Oregon Pinot Camp, where he has sat on the selection and planning committees, was selected for panel discussions and has served on the Board of Directors. Today, Walter Scott has found a home in the Eola-Amity Hills and Ken has earned a position among the great producers of Pinot noir and Chardonnay.