Exkalibur University, Organizer & Host

This is the 9th Annual Wine Industry Workshop organized by Exkalibur University, the education affiliate of The Exkalibur Organization, with the support of our Wine Industry Sponsors.

Lary Kirchenbauer is the founder of The Exkalibur Organization, which includes its affiliates:

  • Exkalibur University, the current website that hosts Exkalibur’s online and in-person educational platform,
  • Exkalibur.com, a web site dedicated to informing subscribers and visitors about the journey to Become a More Effective Leader, and
  • The Exkalibur Leadership Forum, which provides individual and group leadership coaching.

Lary is also a professional author and speaker as well as a leadership coach facilitating leadership groups among CEOs and senior business leaders in the SF Bay area. He has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of San Francisco and is the author of more than 125+ newspaper columns published by the SF Bay affiliate of the NY Times among the 800+ articles at Exkalibur.com.

He has been married forever to a beautiful woman and has one spectacular daughter who has dedicated her life to helping children with disabilities and life-threatening illnesses. You can learn more about his background and activities here.

Full Speaker List 
Return to Main

1. The Latest Tax & Accounting Changes for Wineries & Growers

Tax and accounting experts from Moss Adams will provide an update on what’s been learned since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) became effective on January 1, 2018. They will include a breakdown of lessons learned including how the major proposed accounting changes may impact the wine industry, including:

  • The C corporation tax rate decreasing to a flat rate of 21% from a maximum rate of 35%.
  • If you’re a winery or vineyard taxpayer that isn’t structured as a C corporation, there’s a new 20% QBI deduction available through 2025 for the owners of flow-through entities and sole proprietorships.
  • The benefits of the cash basis method of accounting. Simplifying the accounting of the overall business isn’t the only advantage for a winery using the cash method of accounting Certain rules also allow taxpayers to use simplified methods to account for inventory from a tax perspective.
  • Bonus depreciation has a significant impact on business acquisitions in the wine industry. If a taxpayer acquires an existing business in a qualified asset acquisition, he or she may be able to take 100% bonus depreciation on all assets that have a tax life of 20 years or less and recognize that deduction entirely in the year of purchase.
  • What revenue recognition and lease accounting may mean for the wine industry.

Mike Ricioli, CPA, Partner, Moss Adams LLP

Mike has been in public accounting since 2000 with a focus on serving members of the wine industry. He is also the Partner-in-Charge of the Napa and Santa Rosa offices.

Mike’s experience includes reviewing and providing tax services to a variety of businesses in California. His focus is tax issues related to wineries, manufacturers, and retailers, with extensive experience in the preparation of complex, consolidated, multi-state tax returns, quarterly tax projection calculations, filing for specific federal and state tax credit opportunities, and FASB 109 deferred tax calculations. Mike serves as a significant member of the firm’s Wine Industry Group.

Mike earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, with an emphasis in Accounting from California State University, Sonoma. He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, California Society of Certified Public Accountants, and the Sonoma County Winegrape Commission.

Full Speaker List
Return to Main

Aaron Tompkins, CPA, Partner, Moss Adams LLP

Aaron has practiced public accounting since 2002, working with mid-sized public and closely held businesses in tax planning and compliance matters.

As a Tax Partner, Aaron is responsible for the oversight and processing of a variety of tax consulting and compliance engagements. He is actively involved with the firm’s construction, food & beverage, and manufacturing practices. Prior to joining Moss Adams, Aaron spent three years working for a Big Four firm.

Full Speaker List
Return to Main

Rae Paulson, CPA, Senior Manager, Moss Adams LLP

Rae has been in public accounting since 2005. She provides assurance services for clients in a variety of industries, predominantly wine, food processing, and natural resources.

Rae also manages all phases of employee benefit plan audits, including 401(k), 403(b), defined benefit, and health and welfare plans. She is responsible for training staff and seniors on employee benefit plan issues and maintains current knowledge of industry regulations through ongoing continuing professional education.

Full Speaker List
Return to Main

2. How to Control Rising Insurance Premiums

With the extraordinarily losses due to natural disasters in wine country over the last few years, property and casualty insurance rates have increased dramatically, with fewer insurance companies willing to provide adequate coverage. Join us for a panel discussion of specific steps you can take to reduce your premiums, manage your risk and increase the security of your property.

Here are some of the issues you’ll need to address to manage your risk profile:

  • Storing your wine with everyone else threatens adequate coverage. What can you do about it?
  • The insurance companies want to know a lot more about your business. What will you tell them?
  • There is new exclusionary language showing up in your policies. Are you aware of what they’re saying?

Liz Bishop, Managing SVP, Heffernan Insurance Brokers

Liz Bishop has been in the insurance industry for over 25 years, and has since focused on helping those in the wine, agribusiness, food, hospitality, nonprofit, construction and manufacturing industries.

Liz leads the Heffernan Wine Practice in Petaluma, which currents helps over 100 wineries with their insurance needs. The Wine team’s long term commitment to community and strong relationships with insurance company partners has made them a perfect choice for wineries and growers. Liz received the 2012 North Bay Business Journal’s Women in Business Award for Insurance and was selected by Insurance Business America as one of the Elite Women in the industry.

Full Speaker List
Return to Main

Debra Costa, Senior Vice President Heffernan Insurance Brokers

Debra Costa is a Senior Vice President of Heffernan Insurance Brokers and leads their Wine Practice. Debra has over 25 years of commercial insurance experience and specializes in insuring wineries and food manufacturing operations.

Debra provides risk assessments for CFO’s and their management teams to reduce claims and coverage gaps (and over-insurance). Her knowledge of the insurance marketplace and relationships with specialty insurers helps clients to develop coverage unique to their risk and manage costs by staying ahead of the insurance cycles.

Debra graduated with a BA from Cal State University of Northridge (CSUN). She is an Associate member of the Wine Institute and former Advisory Board Member for Junior Achievement of the Redwood Empire. Debra resides in Marin County and enjoys family, friends, and good wine.

Full Speaker List
Return to Main

3. Why Branding Strategy should be the Cornerstone of Your Marketing Plan.

How can you re-establish the fundamentals of your brand and re-engage your targeted consumer at a heightened level? What are the keys to developing strategies, tactics and actions plans for a successful Brand Planning Strategy? 

Here are some of the topics we will discuss:

  • How to understand your brand’s strengths & weaknesses in order to identify and take advantage of the opportunities that exist in the marketplace.
  • Who is your competitor in terms of volume, price and acclaim and where your brand is relation to them.
  • How to develop concise, authentic, and engaging content that establishes a compelling brand narrative that will draw consumers to your brand.
  • How to evaluate your brand’s strength and visual appeal in relation to core messaging and your targeted consumer base.
  • How to analyze your pricing, margins and revenue by channel to be competitive and build brand equity.

Mark Evans, President, Triumph Advisers

Mark’s professional career has spanned 32 years working in various senior sales and marketing management positions.

His experience includes positions with some of Napa and Sonoma’s most prominent wine companies including Schramsberg, Kendall-Jackson, Yalumba USA, Merryvale Wine Group, Paul Hobbs and Robert Young.

In 2018, Mark founded Triumph Advisers, a company specializing in helping small to mid-size wineries evaluate their businesses, develop strategic initiatives and assist executing those strategies that will impact sales, profitability and brand equity. Triumph Advisers takes a unique 360-degree perspective on what it takes to get a wine company running efficiently and profitably. Focusing on best practices within each of the five core competency areas of Production, Finance, Sales, Marketing and Direct-to-Consumer, Triumph is able to develop and execute realistic strategic plans that are based on each winery’s financial and operational capabilities.

Mark is an avid artist and art collector, father of four grown, functioning children and enjoys endurance sports including triathlons, marathons and ultra-marathons.

Full Speaker List
Return to Main

Colin MacPhail, Founding Partner, Vinfabula

Colin MacPhail is a founding partner of VINFABULA, a consultancy that helps brands profit from identifying, aligning, and communicating their most powerful stories.

Formerly he was General Manager at Larkmead Vineyards in Napa Valley, which he joined before the new winery construction in 2005. While there he oversaw a decade of remarkable growth and significant evolution in the business model to a very high Direct To Consumer ratio. He also worked with Leslie Rudd at Rudd Winery and Edge Hill and was responsible for the location, construction, and recipe formulation, for Distillery 209 (Gin) on Pier 50 in San Francisco.

For more than 20 years ago, he has worked in virtually every area of the wine industry from wine retail, wine travel tourism, wine sales, and hospitality, winery management, wine industry consulting, and wine journalism. Colin’s first career was in Hotel Management, following studies in that field at Napier University. His second book ‘Cabernet Confidential – Stories for the Wine Curious’ is on the editors’ desk in New York.

Full Speaker List
Return to Main

Lisa Ehrlich, Owner, Lisa Ehrlich Consulting

Lisa is devoting her sales, marketing, brand development and general management skills to work for consulting clients, building new and established wine and spirits brands.

Lisa’s career spans three decades in the wine and spirits industry, starting as co-founder of Chicago’s famed Charlie Trotter’s, where she established the restaurant’s award-winning wine program. She carried her restaurant expertise to Southern California, where she worked in as a winery representative and founded a domestic and imported wine brokerage, working with notable wineries such as Bonnie Doon, Patz & Hall, Talley and Morgan.

When Lisa moved to Northern California, she took on marketing and brand management roles with leading companies such as E&J Gallo, Robert Mondavi Winery and most recently, a 12-year stint at Purple Wine + Spirits. At Purple, she created over 40 wine brands, built the marketing department and launched the company’s spirits division and award-winning D. George Benham’s Sonoma Dry Gin.

Full Speaker List
Return to Main

4. What you can do to prevent Cyber Attacks

The following are a few top-trending cybersecurity and related requirements your winery should be aware of and ways to prepare for, or reduce damage caused by a security breach:

  • Phishing
  • Ransomware
  • Direct Data Breaches
  • California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) Compliance and Beyond

Featured Speakers:

Greg Reber, Partner, Moss Adams

Greg has specialized in IT security consulting since 1995.

As an early pioneer in the information security field, Greg was among the first to recognize and address the risks presented by consumer-facing applications. His expertise includes building effective risk management practices, developing information security programs, C-level security consulting for information security organizations, and merger and acquisition security due diligence. His clients include financial services companies, retail service providers, and other Fortune 1000 companies.

Full Speaker List
Return to Main

5. Put Marketing Execution at the Center of Your Sales Plan

Join our deeply experienced panel who will discuss the role of marketing in the “new world” of wine.

Marketing has traditionally taken a back seat to the sales process, relegated to “designing” winemaker notes, labels and website content. Meanwhile, Most wineries have relied upon product quality measures (ie scores, etc) and distributor activities (placements) to drive demand.

In this era of unprecedented change, wineries need to lead with marketing.  Consumer demand is where success starts and stops. Relying on scores or placements in key accounts will no longer be sufficient.  Marketing prowess to create demand is now the touchstone for sales success.

• Quality is no longer a differentiator.  Relying on scores won’t get the job done.
• You can’t count on distributors to build demand for your wines. How will consumers choose your wine?
• Can you define your target customer and find a path to their heart?
• Can you answer the critical question “Why should the consumer care”?

Join us for a vigorous discussion of these issues and your chance to ask questions about marketing best practices.

Steve Tamburelli, Co-Founder, Vinitas Wine Group

Steve Tamburelli is the Co-Founder of the Vinitas Wine Group with over twenty years of experience in leading some of the world’s most prestigious wine brands.

During his leadership of Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars, Chappellet Vineyards and Winery and Clos Du Val Winery, Steve developed a reputation as a visionary leader and tactician and has performed performed successful turnarounds at several wineries. He has crafted and implemented both common sense and creative, out-of-the-box solutions to difficult business problems.

Steve has extensive experience in overall business strategy, sales strategy and execution (DTC, three-tier and export), portfolio strategy, sourcing strategy, marketing, operations and finance. Prior to the wine industry, he successfully owned and operated an Anheuser-Busch distributorship before selling it back to Anheuser-Busch.

Steve has spoken at numerous wine industry events and conferences. He earned his BS in Marketing from the University of San Francisco and MBA from Santa Clara University. He lives in Napa with his wife, Lynne and son Bill.

Full Speaker List
Return to Main

Alexis Walsh, Former Senior Vice President Marketing, DAOU Vineyards & Winery

Alexis Walsh is a strategic and commercial marketing executive, with over 15 years of experience in the wine industry. She is a passionate leader with strong commercial acumen and bottom line focus, and is skilled at aligning sales, marketing and strategy to achieve business objectives.

Most recently, Alexis was the Senior Vice President of Marketing for DAOU Vineyards & Winery where she led marketing strategy including Channel Strategy, Portfolio Strategy, Brand DNA, PR Strategy, Brand Standards, Digital Marketing Strategy, E-Commerce and Events Strategy.

Previously as VP of Commercial Strategy at Treasury Wine Estates, she led a team of team of 40 marketing and sales professionals and demonstrated the ability to successfully work within complex organizations and create strong relationships with key stakeholders at all levels, both internally and externally. Prior to Treasury Wine Estates, Alexis held Brand Marketing and Sales roles at Trinchero Family Estates.

Alexis received her BA from Harvard University and MBA from Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley. She lives in Marin County with her husband and two children.

Full Speaker List
Return to Main

Lisa Rhorer, Former Marketing Director, Adobe Road Winery

In her former role as Marketing Director for Adobe Road Winery, Lisa was responsible for driving brand growth for Adobe Road and The Racing Series brands across all channels.

Lisa oversaw DTC marketing, digital marketing, content marketing and event marketing, representing brand messaging at the highest level. Lisa’s experience spans the wine, hospitality and technology industries. Her expertise ranges from developing brand growth strategies, demand generation programs, digital marketing, website development, e-commerce and print advertising.

Prior to joining Adobe Road Winery, Lisa worked as a Direct-to-Consumer Marketing Manager for Constellation Brands. She developed strategic marketing plans across 8 wine clubs, 13 e-commerce sites and 7 tasting rooms including: Robert Mondavi, The Prisoner Wine Co., SIMI, Clos du Bois, Ravenswood, Mount Veeder, Meiomi, The Dreaming Tree and Wild Horse. Lisa previously held consumer marketing positions at Lynmar Estate & Paul Hobbs wineries. Ms. Rhorer is an accomplished Certified Sommelier, Certified Spanish Wine Educator as well as WSET II status.

Before moving to the wine country, Lisa owned and operated two Michelin-recommended restaurants in Los Gatos, CA for 8 years. Prior to her restaurant experience, Ms. Rhorer worked in the high-tech industry for 20 years, where she honed her business, management, marketing and technology expertise at leading companies such as Google and Oracle.

Full Speaker List
Return to Main