North Coast Wine & Weed Symposium Program

Exploring the Opportunities & Issues that the Legalization of Cannabis Presents to the California Wine Industry.

Thursday, August 2nd, 2018
Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country, Santa Rosa, CA


Opening Keynote:

Bill Silver, Ph.D

CEO / CannaCraft Inc.

The legalization of recreational cannabis use will undoubtedly have an impact on the wine industry, but how? In what ways might the two industries work together, and where could conflicts arise? Can the two industries learn for each other and establish a dialogue?

The 2nd Annual North Coast Wine & Weed Symposium will address those questions and more. Topics will be focused on new rules and regulations, discussing the potential impact of canna-tourism on wine as well as highlighting collaborative opportunities between the two industries, like wine and cannabis events. In addition, this year will feature dedicated sessions for cannabis industry attendees to learn from their wine counterparts, specifically on direct to consumer marketing as well as distribution strategies and distributor management.

The conference will feature experts from both industries along with 40 tabletop exhibitors and will include breakfast, a beautiful outdoor lunch buffet, specially prepared by the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country Chef. Attendees will also have the opportunity to take part in a special end-of-day networking social featuring local wines.

View All Speakers

Registration is Closed.

Early-Bird: $250 SOLD OUT

Regular Price: $295

Includes Access to the Symposium Sessions, Table-Top Exhibits, Lunch, and Networking Social.

Symposium Program & Schedule

Registration / Check-In / Coffee & Pastries

7:30am - 8:45am

Sponsored By: Weed Law, PC

Enter through the Hyatt's Main Lobby and follow the signage to the Symposium's registration / check-in area. Grab your name badge then hang out and mingle while enjoying some coffee and breakfast pastries before the symposium begins.

For Wine + Cannabis Professionals
Cannabis Sensory Experience

All Day in the Exhibits Area

Cannabis Sensory Experience

We all know that wine offers a beautiful experience of sensory exploration. From sniffing, swirling, looking for "legs", taste and mouthfeel - and of course then evaluating in a discussion. Your senses are fully engaged. So what about cannabis, is there a full sensory exploration for this plant as well?

Join Garden Society and our Wine & Weed Symposium partners as we explore cannabis with sophistication and fun while learning to evaluate for quality and desired effect.

Sensory Stations


Just like wine, cannabis contains terpenes which cause you to call out the “peppery” notes in a Cabernet or the “citrus-y” flavors of a Sauvignon Blanc. In cannabis, you can pick up notes of pine in an indica strain from the terpene pinene, or the skunky smell of Sour Diesel. These smells actually come from the same terpenes that produce the unique identifiers in wine!


Examine whole cannabis plants, flowers and leaves as we teach guests about identifying between Indica, Sativa and Hybrid. Much like you’d look at cluster of grapes and leaves to determine the varietal of a grapevine!


Touch a cannabis plant! The leaves, the flowers, learn what a properly cured plant should feel like – and why that’s important to the cannabis experience. Are the leaves rough, smooth? Are the flowers sticky, spongy?


As you smell and identify terpenes in different strains of cannabis, you will also have the opportunity to taste foods that share similar terpene profiles to certain cannabis strains.


This station is dedicated to talking about the sensation one may have when consuming cannabis. Different methods of consumption, feelings they may produce, and how to safely consume cannabis.

For Wine + Cannabis Professionals
Welcome / Introduction + Opening Keynote

8:45am - 9:30am

Introduction + Opening Keynote

In January 2018, Bill Silver took the helm as the CEO of CannaCraft, California's largest producer of premium cannabis brands including Absolute Xtracts, Care by Design, & Satori Chocolates. For the 10 years prior, he was the Dean of the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University. During that time he helped transform SSU’s Wine Business Institute into the global leader for wine business education and research.

In this session Dr. Silver will share his experiences leading CannaCraft through the first year of California's new recreational market and regulated marketplace. Exploring the challenges associated with dynamic market conditions, predatory competition, and changing regulations, and the business opportunities found in new product development, innovation, collaborations, and access to capital, Dr. Silver will offer a front line view into the 2018 California Green Rush.

Sharing his unique perspective leading organizations in both industries, Dr. Silver will explore the collaborative opportunities and the competitive challenges facing wine and weed. From seed to shelf and soil to glass, the value chain is primed for disruptive innovations. Are there synergies to be found in hospitality and tourism, new product development, and agricultural technology? Can the two industries work together to address labor, land, water, regulatory, and sustainability issues? Or will they lock horns and compete over consumer dollars and market share?

Welcome / Introduction

George Christie

Founder, CEO / Wine Industry Network

Opening Keynote

Bill Silver, Ph.D

CEO / CannaCraft Inc.

For Wine + Cannabis Professionals
Rules, Regulations and Policy Updates

9:30am - 10:10am


The rules & regulations around cannabis continue to evolve at a rapid pace and can be drastically different from one county, or town, to the next. This session, with Hezekiah Allen, Executive Director of Cal Growers Association, Hilary Bricken, Partner, Harris Bricken, and Erin Carlstrom, Senior Counsel of Dickenson, Peatman and Fogarty, will provide an update and overview of the latest changes in regulations at the state level and local level, along with any expected changes to take place in the upcoming year.


Jessica Strange

Director of Operations / Soma Rosa Farms and Cookies California


Hezekiah Allen

Executive Director / California Growers Association

Hilary Bricken

Partner / Harris Bricken

Erin Carlstrom

Senior Counsel / Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty

Break: 10:10am - 10:30am

For Wine + Cannabis Professionals
Who is the Cannabis Consumer?

10:30am - 11:00am


Growing cannabis commercially can be very profitable, but beyond the licensing requirements, what other hurdles exist? As more states look to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, the conversation around what impact legalization will have on Beverage Alcohol remains controversial. Jessica Lukas, of BDS Analytics, will provide a data-rich perspective on this topic and insight into who the cannabis consumer is and what overlap exists with regard to wine purchase behavior. Jessica will discuss the current state of the cannabis market, including the changing face of the new user. She will also present where the data sees the cannabis market headed in the short-term, and where it is likely to go in the long-term.


David Downs

Cannabis Journalist, Co-Author / Marijuana Harvest


Jessica Lukas

Vice President, Consumer Insights / BDS Analytics

Break: 11:00am - 11:15am

Breakout: For Wine Professionals
Wine & Weed Events

11:15am - 12:00pm


The number of high-end wine and cannabis events are growing in and around the bay area, but are wineries legally allowed to participate? Who is running them and how have participating wineries benefited? What things are they allowed to do, and what things must they avoid? Who attends?

These questions and more will be addressed by an expert panel experienced with wine and cannabis events, and who also have a background in the wine industry. Learn about the events they’re producing and have your questions addressed in this interactive session.


Karli Warner

Co-Founder, VP of Marketing & Communications / Garden Society


Jamie Evans

Founder / The Herbsomm

Allison Kosta

COO / TSO Sonoma

Devika Maskey

Founder, CEO / TSO Sonoma
President / Ellipsis Wine

Rebecca Stamey-White

Partner / Hinman & Carmichael LLP

Breakout: For Cannabis Professionals
Lessons from Wine: Direct to Consumer Marketing & Small Producer Strategies for Success

11:15am - 12:00pm


The North American Wine Industry consists of enormous publicly held wine conglomerates, large family owned companies, but mainly thousands of small, privately owned wineries. How do these artisan producers compete with limited resources? How do they garner attention from trade, media and consumers? How are they able to succeed in such a competitive environment?

Many of the same challenges that small wineries have overcome are the same that small cannabis producers are facing now. This workshop will highlight what has worked for wine and how many of those tactics are applicable to the cannabis industry.

Wine industry marketing and branding expert, Tammy Boatright, will share her knowledge and experience to highlight how some small wineries are not only able to sustain their business, but grow their sales, expand their margins and build their brands in a profitable, yet resourceful way.


Tammy Boatright

President / VingDirect


12:00pm - 1:00pm

Enjoy a beautiful outdoor buffet lunch in the Knights Valley Garden specially prepared by the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country Chef.

Sponsored By: Emerald Magazine, Hinman & Carmichael


Summer caponata salad with roasted zucchini, red onions, tomatoes, olives, and basil
Field green salad with artichokes, tomatoes, shaved fennel, and white balsamic vinaigrette
Grilled herb marinated chicken breast with chicken jus and parsley – sun dried tomato pistou
Oven roasted salmon fillet with sautéed baby spinach and lemon-caper sauce
Quinoa Pilaf
Steamed garden vegetables
Fresh fruit tartlet

For Wine + Cannabis Professionals
Emerging Cannabis Trends; What to Expect

1:00pm - 1:30pm


The cannabis industry landscape changes quickly and trends seem to spring out of the ground, some taking hold with others dying off almost as rapidly as they appeared. From HelloMD’s bird’s eye view in the marketplace, watching patterns as they emerge allows us to see where the industry may be headed.

From cannabis going seriously mainstream and politicians going pro-cannabis, to the new star cannabinoids that are showing up as the headliners in new products, to Big Pharma and their interest in entering the market, 2018 is shaping up to be an interesting year. Let’s take a look at the top cannabis trends dawning and where they are taking us.

This session features Pamela Hadfield, co-founder of, the largest, most active medical cannabis community online today. Pamela will share her knowledge and experience on the evolution of cannabis as a wellness product along with current trends and consumer demographics.


David Downs

Cannabis Journalist, Co-Author / Marijuana Harvest


Pamela Hadfield

Co-Founder / HelloMD

Break: 1:30pm - 1:45pm

For Wine + Cannabis Professionals
The Future Impact of Cannabis Tourism on Wine in the North Coast

1:45pm - 2:25pm


There’s little dispute that cannabis tourism is coming to the North Coast, but the impact on the region, and the wine industry specifically, remains debatable. Will cannabis be another reason to visit wine country? Will the two industries work together to drive more visitors or just compete for the consumers we already have?

A panel of tourism experts will share their thoughts and predictions on the "new normal" in wine country tourism and what we can expect the overall impact to be.


George Christie

Founder, CEO / Wine Industry Network


Brian Applegarth

Founder / Emerald County Tours, California Cannabis Tourism Association

Laura Lasseter

Director of Operations, Founding Board Member / Southern Humboldt Business & Visitors Bureau

Alicia Rose

Founder / HerbaBuena

Eric Sklar

CEO / Napa Valley Fume

Break: 2:25pm - 2:45pm

Breakout: For Wine Professionals
Cannabis Opportunities for the Wine Industry

2:45pm - 3:30pm


Cannabis Infused Wine? Distributor management and marketing talent? Winery branded cannabis products? Investment opportunities?

Wineries, wine industry professionals and wine industry service providers are beginning to experience some of the business opportunities that the legalization of recreational cannabis use is presenting to the wine industry. With the consumer and regional overlap, the emerging cannabis industry is tapping into wine industry talent, sales and marketing strategies, brand strength and investment capital to further their business objectives.

This session will highlight how some wineries and wine industry professionals are seizing the financial opportunities now available in the early stages of legalization. Whether it’s infusing cannabis into products, leveraging your brand and customer base, taking advantage on investment opportunities, or simply looking to transfer your skill set to another industry, these are just a few potential opportunities that cannabis is presenting to the wine industry.


George Christie

Founder, CEO / Wine Industry Network


Zack Crafton

CEO / Big Moon Sky

Liz Gehl

Founder, Chief Recruiter/ Gehl Search Partners

Marc Hauser

Partner / Gaw Van Male

Claudio Miranda

Founder / Guild Enterprises

Breakout: For Cannabis Professionals
Lessons from Wine: Distributor Management Programs that Work

2:45pm - 3:30pm


Cannabis sales and distribution will need to adhere to a similar structure that wine is required to observe and given the amount of competition, will experience the same challenges with regard to distributor, retailer and consumer attention. How will small producers compete with larger producers? What kind of incentives work? What are the rules around programming? How do you maximize distributor performance? How do you create “pull” for your brand at the retailer level?

The wine industry has been wrestling with the same questions for years, and what works for one winery may not work for others, but there are solutions that the cannabis industry can adopt and successfully execute.

This session will feature wine and cannabis industry professionals sharing their perspective on how to get more than your fair share of attention!


Kim Badenfort

Editor / Wine Industry Advisor


Chris Coulombe

CEO / Pacific Expeditors

Erin Gore

Founder, CEO / Garden Society

Bill Kerr

Founder, Creative Director / Vertical

Jim Sweeney

Director of Sales & Marketing / Humboldt Distillery

Networking Social

3:30pm - 4:45pm

Sponsored By: Proteus 420

Finish the day visiting with sponsors, exhibitors and other attendees at a networking session featuring hors d'oeuvres and selected wines donated by Donelan Family Wines, Francis Ford Coppola, Joseph Jewell, Kelley & Young Wines, Locals, Rodney Strong and Saini Vineyards.

The Wine & Weed Symposium is Produced By:

2019 Sponsors