Wine Business Innovation Summit

#WBIS – Wine Business Innovation SummitThe WBIS, Wine Business Innovation Summit, returns with a new location this year, and Vrazon will be taking part again. The WBIS is a welcome addition to the wine landscape and a perfect complement to the Digital Wine Communications Conference held each autumn. Both events are working to make sure the online sphere of wine is taken seriously and that the people behind it are rewarded for their work.

The first edition of #WBIS was held on 19th January at the Les Ateliers des Tanneurs in the Marolles quarter of Brussels. Organised by Marc Roisin (CEO and founder of and Faye Cardwell (freelance organizer of international wine events) the duo were supported by Jens De Maere (founder of and a team of highly enthusiastic members of the Belgian wine scene.

I was there that year as a speaker talking about how to improve the “press trip”. Being a one-day event it was a good chance for me to meet new people I hadn’t met before, many just getting started in the wine world as well as many long time veterans. Mark and his team had created a spark of energy and while I think there were questions about the viability of the event going forward, one of which was whether wine geeks could endure another cold winter event, overall people left with a bit of a ‘spring’ in their step.

This year they are back, and this time in Munich, another city known more for it’s beer than wine, and a schedule that looks to be shaping up nicely. The event has been planned for 2 days this year, a small extension to allow for a more relaxed schedule and more networking, with seminars on a variety of topics all with the goal of helping businesses to sell more wine.

The wine world needs more “symposiums” (or “symposia”), a description I think is apt for this type of conference with a focus on a single topic. Short, sweet and above all, targeted.  The WBIS aims to talk business and nothing else. No wine tastings, no “blogging 101” sessions. Instead, serious topics about how to sell wine. The audience is made up of people who are either actively trying to sell wine, or who want to take their business to the next level.

We invited Marc to lead a panel at the DWCC  this year and it won’t be the last time. Marc is dedicated to making people take wine business seriously. The WBIS is refreshing in the fact that is acknowledges the fact wine is a product that has a value and needs to be actively sold, a fact that is from the outside seemingly obvious, but I think is often overlooked as we assume that this beverage we love can sell itself on it’s flavor alone. Or more to the point, that many believe the old ways of selling wine are still relevant and effective in the 21st century. Some may be, many are not.

I’ll be back this year talking about the importance, or lack of importance, of bloggers in today’s wine world. I will also be presenting some findings from the #PTWineInvasion that I led last year through the USA, hoping to explain that you can create salespeople out of your future consumers. I encourage you to join us. Marc and the whole team have even offered up a discount if you want to join us: €40 off the ticket price if you use the code: dwcc

Check out the video from last year’s event below and the “top 6 things you can expect this year”!

Let me know if you will join us in Munich this January! I’m looking forward to it.


#WBIS – Wine Business Innovation Summit 2013, Brussels from Marc Roisin on Vimeo.

  1. New ideas – Over the summer we asked our fans, followers and attendees what they wanted to work on. The result is a 2-day programme of seminars and wine tastings exploring a range of innovations that are pertinent in the wine industry – the rise of wine clubs, the importance of bloggers, the use of video, financing for new projects, approaches to new markets, how to monetize wine writing. The list goes on. If you’re in the wine business as an entrepreneur, producer, communicator or service provider these seminars are sure to give you food for thought. As one producer said to us in January “I go home with a head full of ideas of how I can move my business forward”. This is our aim.
  2. Leading experts – for each seminar we’ve hunted out speakers who will share their experience to ensure that we always get well-rounded discussions on each of the topics. These are people who have lived what they’re talking about. There’s no better way to learn than by hearing someone else’s successes and failures. Use their experiences to apply it to your activity and you’re sure to save yourself some time and money.
  3. Input from other sectors – let’s face it, not enough people are drinking enough wine. Sales could be increased and everyone who is making great wine or offers innovative services to wine consumers or producers, surely has a great margin for growth. It’s this thought that brought us to start WBIS last year and this is the reasoning why we also like to get input from other industries and sectors to give you inspiration as to how to grow your business
  4. A fantastic network of like-minded people – The golden rule “it’s not what you know but who you know” and if you’re in the wine business, or want to get into it and have a great idea, there’s surely some other creative mind at WBIS that is going to be able to make that happen. At WBIS you can expect to find wine producers, bloggers, writers, PR companies, representatives from regional bodies, importers, distributors, service providers, budding entrepreneurs, students attending Masters in Wine Business courses – any sort of figure in the wine business.
  5. Creative environment – there’s nothing like a change of scenery to get those creative juices flowing. We chose Munich for this year’s edition (not only because the logistical side of the WBIS operation now lives there!) but also because we believe that being in a new environment opens the mind and lets the ideas flood in.
  6. #WBIS Business Awards – one of the highlights of the programme will be the #WBIS Business Awards sessions where we will hear from start-ups in the wine world looking to share their business ideas. Our partner 33entrepreneurs, will give a special prize to the team considered as the most promising : 1 week of coaching in their startup accelerator in Bordeaux + 500 euros in order to help cover travel & accommodation costs