Coffee talk to kick off keynote address at Unified Wine & Grape Symposium

The Unified Wine & Grape Symposium will descend on Sacramento from Jan. 28 to Jan. 30, bringing the biggest annual convention to town and the wine world’s largest trade show in the western hemisphere. However, coffee will take center stage at the keynote luncheon with an address by Jerry Baldwin, the former owner of Peet’s Coffee and co-founder of Starbucks.

Baldwin also has some connections to the wine industry, with his J. Baldwin Wines in the Sonoma Valley. This boutique winery specializes in small lots of zinfandel and petite sirah, with between 50 and 75 cases produced annually for some bottlings.

This coffee talk might not be such a stretch in an event geared towards wine. Some credit the emergence of the specialty coffee industry with perking interest in wine, particularly with the so-called millennial generation, which marketers say favor sophisticated beverage choices at an earlier age than older demographics.

And perhaps the winery owners and grape growers can glean a few tips from the $30 billion coffee industry in the United States.

“Jerry is a well accomplished, multi-talented business professional on an international scale,” said Lyndie Boulton, executive director for the American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV), in a statement. “His unmatched expertise on marketing and customer service will make for a powerful opening day.”

For more information about the Unified Wine & Grape Symposium, which attracted more than 13,000 registrants in January, surf over to their web site.