Once you’ve committed to being a sustainable, values-based business how do you engage your whole team and make it a part of your DNA? As you implement leading sustainable and climate action practices how do you best communicate these achievements to guests, retailers and distributors? How have other industry leaders approached PR campaigns and what have they learned?
During this Salon, Kelli A. White, Director of Education for the Wine Center at Meadowood, will lead the conversation. Sarah Unger, Co-Founder of CULTIQUE, will share examples of how their cultural analysis has transformed management and communications strategies; Linzi Gay, President of Clif Family Winery & Farm, will share how they build internal community and support the broader community; and Janie Brooks Heuck, Managing Director of Brooks Winery, in the Willamette Valley, will share how they’ve used data and feedback to get employees and guests engaged in their sustainability story.
Kelli A. White is the Director of Education for the Wine Center at Meadowood in Napa Valley. Prior to that, her work as a sommelier, first at New York City’s Veritas and then at PRESS in St. Helena, has been covered by many of the wine industry’s top publications, and in 2013 she was named one of Food & Wine’s top sommeliers in the country. Her writing has appeared in World of Fine Wine, GuildSomm, Robb Report, Sommelier Journal, Le Pan, and Vinous, among others. At Vinous, Kelli was a key member of the maps team, and worked with famed Italian cartographer Alessandro Masnaghetti to map many of the appellations of Napa Valley. In 2011, she co-founded a small wine brand called Houndstooth and she also made a brief appearance in 2015’s documentary Somm II: Into the Bottle. Her book, Napa Valley, Then & Now, was released in November of 2015 and has received enormous critical acclaim, winning both the IACP award for Best New Wine, Beer, or Spirits Book and a Graphis design award. In October of 2016, Kelli led a wine tasting seminar at Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women’s Summit in Laguna Niguel, CA. Between 2017 and 2019 she worked as Senior Staff Writer at the educational nonprofit GuildSomm, where her writing won her two coveted Roederer Awards. She was nominated for Sommelier/Wine Director of the Year (2017) by Wine Enthusiast magazine, who then named her a top 40 Under 40 wine influencer in 2018. On the book front, she contributed to the most recent additions of the World Atlas of Wine and the Oxford Companion to Wine, as well as the Academie du Vin Press works On California and On Champagne as well as the forthcoming On Burgundy
Sarah Unger is the Co-Founder of CULTIQUE, a cultural insights and strategy consultancy. Led by Unger and Founder/CEO Linda Ong, the premium boutique crafts bespoke cultural POVs for forward-looking businesses in media, entertainment, tech and consumer spaces. Launched in Fall 2020, CULTIQUE unites thought leaders, industry disruptors, academics, creatives and experts to maximize the impact of brands, content, and products in a world of constant change.
An award-winning cultural expert, Unger and her team of analysts are devoted to working with businesses such as AMEX GBT, Airbnb, YouTube, Apple, WarnerMedia, Disney/ABC, and NBCU navigate fast-changing times, recalibrate for new audiences, and cultivate growth in an uncertain world. Unger was named Media Play News’ 40 Under 40 list in October 2019 and has been a frequent commentator in media such as Forbes, Fortune, The Atlantic, and The Daily Beast.
Portland native Janie Brooks Heuck spent more than a decade in the health care industry before finding herself responsible for the business operations at Brooks Winery. Struck by the generosity and guidance from the Oregon wine community after her brother Jimi’s passing, Janie quickly realized the importance of Jimi’s lifework and has been keeping the Brooks boat afloat since 2004. Janie is passionate about Brooks, family, travel, and Riesling. She loves to golf, sail, work out, and take photos when she isn’t working. Her karaoke song is “Rapper’s Delight,” which is also Brooks Wine’s winemaker, Chris Williams’ karaoke song, yet none of us have witnessed either one of them on the mic. Can someone say duet?!
Linzi Gay has 18 years of experience in the Wine & Spirits industry. Receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Cal Poly State University in San Luis Obispo, Linzi went on to begin her marketing career in Brand Management at Clif Bar & Company. Having grown up in the Napa Valley, she returned to her roots in 2004 to learn the wine business working on some of the largest wine brands in the Napa Valley. In 2007, she returned to the Clif Family and their recent startup wine and food business. She has spent the last 16 years in a leadership role at the company, transitioning to President in 2022. She is an active member of the Wine Women GM Forum, an organization that supports and empowers women in the wine industry and serves on the boards of the Howell Mountain Vintners and Growers Association, the Oak Knoll District Growers Association and the St. Helena Chamber of Commerce.