The glass is half-full for oenophiles with the debut of SommCon in San Diego, Calif., Nov. 18-21at the Manchester Grand Hyatt.
Designed to offer wine industry professionals and serious enthusiasts convenient and affordable access to education and networking opportunities, SommCon launches with 50 sessions, and brings together some of the greatest thought leaders, entrepreneurs and artisans to discuss, develop and lead the conversation on the business of wine.
At the helm of SommCon is a group of over 25 industry experts dubbed “Team SommCon.” Together these industry leaders have had a role in the selection of SommCon’s education, sessions, workshops, tastings and certification offerings. Jesse Rodriguez, Advanced Sommelier and member of Team SommCon says that a forum for professionals to network, learn and share their knowledge is long overdue in Southern California.
“This is an opportunity that until now has not existed in this way in San Diego. Through SommCon, our industry members have access to a wide variety of educators from all different backgrounds – enhancing the skill set of both established and aspiring professionals,” stated Rodriguez. “SommCon provides an avenue for us to gather as friends, colleagues, teachers, students and mentors to further the industry that we are all so passionate about.”
SommCon begins on Wednesday, Nov. 18 with professional certification opportunities including the WSET (Wine & Spirits Education Trust) Level 1 Award in Wine offered by the Neptune School of Wine, as well as Certified Cicerone, the second level of certification through the Cicerone Certification Program.
The main conference is held Thursday, Nov. 19 and Friday, Nov. 20, and includes in-depth sessions led by industry thought leaders, power speed dating style blind tastings, round-table discussions, regional explorations, and a trade tasting featuring over 100 wineries, breweries, spirit purveyors, and service industry brands. SommCon concludes on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival’s Grand Tasting – the West Coast’s most exciting weeklong epicurean experience.
For many current and aspiring wine and spirit professionals, access to the education required to further their career is logistically, geographically and financially out of reach. Over just a few short days, SommCon opens the door to a wealth of knowledge from some of the most celebrated minds in the industry.
Young professionals under the age of 30 who have a passion for entering a profession in the wine industry or expanding their knowledge can apply to receive free conference registration through the Young Leader’s Summit Scholarship. Applications are due by Sept. 15, 2015 and can be found here.
Fifty sessions will be offered at this year’s conference, including:
- Chardonnay and White Burgundy: This session compares old and new world stylistic differences with this iconic varietal. Led by Masters of Wine, Geoff Labitzke, Director of Sales and Marketing, Kistler and Bernard Retornaz, President, Louis Latour. Thursday, Nov. 19
- Brunello Di Montalcino – A Master’s Perspective: Receive an in-depth perspective of the Italian red wine, Brunello di Montalcino. Led by Master Sommelier Fred Dame and Castello Banfi family proprietor Cristina Mariani-May. Thursday, Nov. 19
- Wine Faults: Yeast, Bacterial and Sulfur Defects in Wine: Explore the root of the most conspicuous wine faults, from visual defects to microbial issues that stem from yeast, bacteria and rot. Led by Masters of Wine Amy Christine and Patrick Farrell. Thursday, Nov. 19
- Napa Valley Connect the Rocks Panel Discussion and Tasting: Learn how Napa Valley terroir is expressed in wines. Examine the fulcrum of terroir and culture by tasting Cabernet Sauvignon that consistently demonstrates discernible aspects of terroir, and how the unique environment of Napa puts it at the cutting edge of modern winemaking. Presented by Master Sommelier, David Glancy. Thursday, Nov. 19
- Bordeaux Beyond the Classified Growths: Bordeaux’s hidden treasures under $60 – a journey of discovery and tasting of eight red Bordeaux wines. Led by Master of Wine Mary Gorman. Thursday, Nov. 19
- Establish Your Own Import Business: This introductory seminar covers the basics of starting a wine import and distribution business. Led by Damon Goldstein, President and CEO, Truly Fine Wines. Thursday, Nov. 19
- Emerging Mexico: Panel discussion of the most preeminent wines, vineyards and importers found in Baja. Friday, Nov. 20
- Solution-Based Technologies to Drive Beverage Profits: This seminar includes panelists from companies that bring technology and innovation to the sommelier community, such as Tastevin ipad, i-sommelier decanting system, BinWise inventory and beverage management programs and wine ring, the app for building wine preferences. Friday, Nov. 20
- A Journey Of The Senses: An informative and interesting wine and glass experience, that explores the difference a glass can make in the enjoyment of food and the wine itself. Presented by Georg Riedel. Friday, Nov. 20
“I am excited to bring two sessions to SommCon, and offer seminars that are relevant to today’s professionals and consumers looking for a deeper dive into the word of wine,” said Master of Wine and member of Team SommCon, Amy Christine. “We have an incredible collection of pros teaching this year and it’s an honor to be among them. The sessions that have been added to the lineup are diverse and touch on a wide variety of topics, appealing to an audience from varied backgrounds.”
SommCon is only open to 300 registrants, and for those in attendance, there are several ways to participate, with conference packages and single day passes available.
- Level 1: Full Conference Registration (Nov. 19-21) – Full conference access with choice of seminars, trade tasting, San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival Grand Tasting, continental breakfast and roundtable discussions, networking tasting, winemaker and pairing lunches, $395 before Nov. 1 ($710 value)
- Level 2: Single Day Conference Registration Package (Nov. 19) – One-day conference access with choice of seminars, trade tasting, winemaker lunch and networking tasting, $225 before Nov. 1 ($455 value)
- Level 3: Single Day Conference Registration Package (Nov. 20) – One-day conference access with choice of seminars, trade tasting, and pairing lunch. $195 before Nov. 1 ($320 value)
- Level 4: SommCon Trade Tasting (Nov. 20) – Admission to trade tasting. Free for qualified members of the trade, and $65 after Nov. 1
Sponsor and educational partners to date include: The SOMM Journal, THE TASTING PANEL, Napa Valley Vintners, Santa Lucia Highlands Wine Artisans, Kistler Vineyard, Lewis Cellars, Somm’s List, Vins de Bordeaux, Riedel, San Diego State University College of Extended Studies, Wine & Spirits Education Trust, Cicerone Certification Program, Acqua Panna, Banfi Vintners and Wine Spectator.
SommCon takes place Nov. 18-21, 2015 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, California. For more information or to purchase Conference registration, visit SommConUSA.com.
Discounted accommodations are available at the Manchester Grand Hyatt for SommCon attendees, to make a reservation call: 877.385.9595.