We will close out the 2023 RISE Climate & Wine Symposium with a dialogue on the state of wine industry sustainability. The aim of the RISE Symposium is to accelerate sustainability and climate action, and focus our sites on critical issues, opportunities, resources, and partners. Now how do we turn aspiration to action and impact, growing regional resilience and longevity while also leveraging our powerful platform to motivate global progress on all six pillars of sustainable winegrowing leadership?
Master Sommelier, Andrea Robinson, will lead a conversation about the State of Sustainability. Esther Mobley, Senior Wine Critic for the San Francisco Chronicle will share her thoughts on the future of the Napa Valley and the steps necessary to remain in the global spotlight; Will Drayton, Director of Technical Viticulture, Sustainability & Research at Treasury Wine Estates, will share an international perspective on wine industry sustainability, including the evolving landscape and mandates of Environmental Social Governance (ESG); Kia Behnia, owner of Neotempo Wines & KiaTra Vineyards, will share some cutting edge approaches to sustainable winegrowing, including glass and packaging innovation; and Alexandria Villaseñor, co-founder of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike and founder of Earth Uprising International, will share her perspective on the urgency of the climate crisis, particularly for Gen Z.
Andrea Robinson is a world-renowned Master Sommelier who takes the seemingly daunting subject of wine and food, and brings it down to earth for all to understand and enjoy. Robinson, one of only 26 female Master Sommeliers in the world, couples this distinction with a strong culinary pedigree as a graduate and former Dean of the French Culinary Institute, and the winner of three James Beard Awards. In addition, she has been widely featured across leading national television networks and publications as the “go-to” expert for all things wine. She and her husband John live in Napa Valley.
Esther Mobley is the wine critic at the San Francisco Chronicle. Prior to joining the Chronicle in 2015, she was an assistant editor at Wine Spectator magazine in New York, and has worked harvests at wineries in Napa Valley and Argentina. She was the 2019 Feature Writer of the Year in the Louis Roederer International Wine Writers’ Awards.
Find her work at: http://sfchronicle.com/wine
Will Drayton is the Director of Technical Viticulture, Sustainability and Research at Treasury Wine Estates
(TWE), one of the world’s largest wine companies. Will has been with TWE since 2008, beginning in
viticulture at Etude Winery and has held many positions within the viticulture and winemaking groups.
In his current role, Will guides TWE’s US sustainability efforts in addition to technical and scientific aspects of winegrowing in California. He serves on the committee that guides the Sustainable Wine Roundtable, Chair of the PD-GWSS board for the CDFA and board member of the Los Carneros Water District.
Will holds a Master’s degree from UC Davis in Horticulture and Agronomy and undergraduate degree in
Natural Sciences from the University of Cambridge. Will resides with his young family in Sebastopol, CA.
Marlen Garcia is a student at the college of agricultural & environmental sciences and the college of letters & science at the University of California, Davis (Wintun Land). When she moved away from home to attend college, she learned about the climate crisis and environmental injustice. Ever since she learned about such matters and came to understand the ways the climate crisis impacted her and her communities, she has devoted much of her time and efforts learning, sharing her learnings, and advocating for environmental and climate justice—thus she joined YvA as a Community Education Coordinator. Environmental justice to her means: “caring, protecting, and loving of all that makes up our environment. It’s the restorative actions and healing of the damages we already made to all that makes up our environment. It’s maintaining and sustaining our love, care, and just treatment towards all that makes up our environment even after we heal. It’s keeping all that makes up our environment healthy for EVERYONE in an equal and just way!”
Kia is a technologist turned vintner – Kia and his wife Tracy have owned and operated KIATRA vineyard since 2011. From the beginning the idea was to combine organic and biodynamic methods with the use of precision farming technologies to continuously improve quality of the fruit while reducing the impact on the environment and reduce the use of critical natural resources. KIATRA vineyard is now under the stewardship of Phil Coturri and his highly skilled team at Enterprise Vineyards to combine their organic and regenerative growing experience with Kia on precision farming practices such as smart irrigation and computer vision for crop evaluation and all electric Monarch tractors for a diesel free future.
Kia and Tracy are launching their new wine brand NEOTEMPO wines which has a commitment to bringing to market many innovations from ‘dirt to glass’ for lowering carbon emissions and building a playbook on climate resilience.
Mr. Behnia is a frequent industry speaker at industry events and active in participating and leading industry wide initiatives for the adoption of new technologies.
Prior to his time in Napa, Kia held senior executive roles at public and private large scale enterprise technology companies – Splunk, BMC Software, IBM/Tivoli, and Marimba.
Mr. Behnia has 28+ years of industry experience in IT Operations, cloud platforms, enterprise mobility and digital transformation. Mr. Behnia holds a B.A. degree in Computer Science from University of California at Davis.