HomeViticulture30 Years of the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

30 Years of the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

Industry’s Largest Informational Gathering Took Place in Sacramento in January

Marking its 30th year as one of the American wine industry’s premier events, the Unified Wine and Grape Symposium was back in full force after years of COVID-19 and a temporary change of venue. As the nation’s largest show of its kind, Unified has again proven to be more than a convention; it’s a destination, a cultural hub of connection, innovation, education and energy. Unified is the place to be for all things wine and winegrape.

From January 23-25, Unified opened to over 10,000 industry professionals eager to explore 900 exhibit booths spanning two floors of the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center. Attendees engaged in three days of program sessions with nearly 100 speakers from around the world. They also had the opportunity to taste wines from 18 regions throughout the U.S. and join their colleagues in a collective effort to understand the trends of the industry today and find solutions for tomorrow.

“As our industry navigates through challenging times, the Unified Symposium is a rare opportunity for industry leaders and experts to gather, examine the latest data and discuss potential strategies to right the ship,” said Natalie Collins, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) and co-host of the Unified Symposium. “For 30 years, Unified has served as a space to unite the industry, discuss emerging trends and find the technology, supplies, services and partners essential for charting the year ahead.”

State of the Industry
For many, a key reason for attending Unified is to gather the latest data, trends and products that will help with their business decisions for the upcoming year. The popular State of the Industry session continues to provide the most comprehensive outlook of the industry, offering an in-depth analysis of market dynamics, trends for consumers and competitors, the winegrape market’s supply and demand, and this year, a special global perspective from Spain’s wine market.

Drawing on industry experts, the State of the Industry session offered a holistic and unvarnished look at the industry from a supply and demand perspective. Speakers addressed the challenges and opportunities ahead, offering the latest data across all segments of the industry.

Attendees had the opportunity to taste wines from 18 regions throughout the U.S.

Education and Inspiration
In addition to the State of the Industry, Unified is the place to learn and find inspiration with 23 sessions spanning various topics in winemaking, grapegrowing, business and operations, and marketing and public relations during the three days of the conference. California’s Secretary of Agriculture Karen Ross was the keynote speaker at this year’s annual luncheon.

Another inspirational session titled “Wine Industry Game Changers: A Deep Dive Conversation on the Future of Wine and How We Got Here” offered a unique and informal opportunity to interact with the session’s speakers. Attendees had the chance to meet with industry pioneers, including Cathy Corison of Corison Winery; Carole Meredith, professor emerita at UC Davis; and Theodora Lee of Theopolis Vineyards over a light breakfast. On the business side, attendees learned about California’s bottle bill labeling requirements and compliance regulations. The PR/marketing side offered several tactics and strategies, including messaging for wine and health, leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) and how and why short videos are essential for today’s audience.

The 2025 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium will take place January 28-30 at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento, Calif.

The winemaking sessions offered a second look at Merlot that included a tasting, understanding the nutrient and ingredient labeling requirements and the latest trend of no- and low-alcohol winemaking. The grapegrowing sessions included the Viticulture X Games, which was a highly interactive presentation on winegrowing in extreme weather. Additionally, growers had a list of other sessions that covered disease-resistant vines, regenerative agriculture and tools for digital viticulture.

Unified further set itself apart by offering an exclusive full-day workshop in Spanish. This session addressed AI and how it can support grape growers and wineries, and the importance of implementing climate change strategies. The workshop included a Q&A and a guided wine tasting of emerging products and new styles featuring hybrids, noncommercial Vitis vinifera and cider/wine blends.

Attendees had the opportunity to sample and taste wines from several wine regions throughout the U.S. Participating associations pouring various wines from their region included Atlantic Seaboard Wine Association, Calaveras Winegrape Alliance, Idaho Wine Commission, Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Alliance, Lake County Winegrowers, Livermore Valley Wine Community, Lodi Winegrape Commission, Mendocino Winegrowers Inc., Monterey County Vintners & Growers Association, New Mexico Wine, New York State Wine Grape Growers, Ohio Wine Producers Association, Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, San Diego County Vintners Association, Sonoma County Winegrowers, Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association, Virginia Wine Board and Wineries of Santa Clara Valley.

The State of the Industry session offered a holistic and unvarnished look at the industry from a supply and demand perspective.

Largest Tradeshow of Its Kind
Unified hosted 900 exhibit booths, the largest collection of products, services and machinery in the show’s 30-year history. The massive trade show floor, which is larger than three football fields, showcased the supplies, equipment and services that drive the American wine industry. It was the place to meet vendors, shop for leading-edge technology and discover the latest research on water, soil, disease-resistant applications in the vineyard and so much more.

“This was the largest trade show Unified Symposium has ever had, and we’re continuing to see growing interest from the wine and grape community,” said Dan Howard, executive director of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) and the show’s other co-host. “We are already seeing increased enthusiasm for next year’s show. It’s a great reminder of how important a show such as Unified is to the success and progress of the American wine industry.”

Organized by ASEV and CAWG, the 2025 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium will take place January 28-30 at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento, Calif. Built with the joint input of growers, vintners and allied industry members, Unified serves as a clearinghouse of information important to wine and grape industry professionals as well as hosting the industry’s largest trade show of its kind. For more information, visit unifiedsymposium.org.

Scan this QR code to watch the Unified Symposium 30th-anniversary tribute video.
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