Don’t miss the 10th annual Napa Valley College Wine Country Hospitality Symposium March 31 from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Napa Valley College, St. Helena campus.

This year’s theme is “Innovation in Hospitality.” The cost to attend is $149 for the general public, $119 for students and educators. Registration is strongly encouraged at

Featured speaker Ian White will kick off the morning with trends in media, the customer experience, and the entrepreneurial dilemma, sharing insights based on many years in the wine industry. White is co-founder/president of JW Thomas Group Wines, which specializes in wine branding. White has developed marketing campaigns for more than 200 wineries and contributes to Wine Enthusiast and other wine publications.

Topics from industry experts include:

Building Your Hospitality Workforce Team

The millennials are making waves and greatly impacting the workforce. So what does that mean to you? Hear simple steps for hiring best candidates, plus ways to maximize performance. Access top resources and training in hospitality. Panel: Kaleigh Heathcote, Alkar Human Resources, Colby Smith, Founder CANVAS and Chef Barbara Alexander, Napa Valley Cooking School.

Pulse on Artisanal Foods

Innovators will share their stories. How did they begin? How do they engage customers and benefit the community? What can you learn from their experiences? Panel includes Mike Zakowski, owner, The Bejkr; Paul Kolling, owner/founder, Nana Mae’s Organics; and Ally DeArman, director, Food Craft Institute.

Wowing Wine Country: Superb Customer Service by Emily Ellis, Principal Consultant, Education and Training Concepts

How do you create and foster an environment where people feel loved and cared for? What is your business culture saying to your customers, staff, potential staff and the community?

What’s Brewing in Wine Country: Spotlight on Beer

How can beer and wine co-exist as well as thrive? Join craft-beer producers and a beer/wine supply company as they talk about the growth of the beer industry in the North Bay. Panel includes Ben Jaynes, owner, Napa Fermentation; Robert Raney, CFO of Sonoma Springs Brewing; and Scott Goyne, president, HenHouse Brewing Company.

Devices & Apps to Boost Sales by Ron Scharman, Chatterbox Wine Marketing

How do you get discovered? How do you make customers out of your visitors? How do you maintain a selling relationship? The answers are in the apps . . .

Destination Marketing with Claudette Shatto, vice president, Public Relations & Community Affairs at V. Sattui Winery

How do you attract visitors to Napa Valley, especially to YOUR business? It’s all about promoting Napa Valley, the wine region and how to take advantage of destination marketing.

Online Ratings: Yelp and TripAdvisor

How much do rating sites affect your business? Should you advertise on Yelp? What happens if you have a bad review? Answers by Michael Wangbickler, partner/CEO, Balzac Communications & Marketing.

Innovative Email Management with Elyse Tager, Constant Contact

Learn hot topics and explore social media to drive repeat business. How to take control of your on-line presence, increase online sales and improve customer loyalty.

Check the website for speaker bios. You also get an amazing culinary lunch by Napa Valley Cooking School, a silent auction extravaganza, plus the BEST networking in the industry.

Mary Cervantes is the business services director for Napa Valley College Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Centers. Reach her at 256-7253 or


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