Paso Robles AVA Plays Host to Successful Wine Industry Event

Atascadero, CA—Wine Speak—a wine industry summit geared toward community and collaboration—successfully wrapped up its third annual edition, hosting more than 750 attendees and selling out all special events. Held on January 14-16 amid the backdrop of the Paso Robles wine country, Wine Speak featured an all-star cast of winemakers, master sommeliers and industry leaders from around the world.

Longtime Napa Valley vintner and featured Wine Speak panelist Bruce Neyers remarked afterward, “It was without doubt one of the single best wine events I have attended in my career, both in content and in takeaway.”

Added legendary master sommelier Madeline Triffon, “Coming to Wine Speak was a sweet, fulfilling surprise on so many fronts. It was a well-organized symposium driven by passion and heart as well as the community’s open fellowship.”

Wine Speak 2020 spanned four days, kicking off with a regional open house, followed by two days of winemaker-sommelier panels and public tasting experiences. The event concluded with professional development seminars and workshops. Wine Speak expanded with an international flair this year, featuring industry luminaries from both the old and new worlds—including Napa Valley, California; Rhône Valley, France; Priorat, Spain; Mendoza, Argentina and elsewhere.

Esteemed master sommeliers Chuck Furuya, Fred Dame, Nunzio Alioto, Madeline Triffon, and Emmanuel Kemiji all presented at various panels, which included “Inside/Outside—Crazy Red Blends”; “Inside/Outside—Cabernet Sauvignon”; and “Dream Big—Wine from a Different Perspective.”

Wine Speak 2020 featured a “Wine Team” composed of notable sommeliers from around the country who helped steer the event’s wine service. The event also hosted eight up-and-coming professionals on scholarship from Dream Big Darling, a nonprofit dedicated to mentoring rising talent in the wine and spirits industry.

Also notable at this year’s event was Alecia Moore, the famed musical artist, producer, actor and winemaker known as P!nk, who attended several seminars and the Around the World Tasting at Atascadero Lake Pavilion. She attended with winemaker Chad Melville. Her Two Wolves wine project is based in Santa Barbara.

Established by Furuya and Amanda Wittstrom-Higgins, VP of operations at Ancient Peaks Winery and founder of Dream Big Darling, Wine Speak was uniquely conceived to serve all segments of the wine industry. “Wine Speak is about gathering luminaries from around the world to share their knowledge, wisdom and experience, so that everyone attending can have an opportunity to learn,” said Furuya.

Wine Speak is also advancing Paso Robles’ reputation as a leader in the global wine industry.

“As our wine region continues to gain attention both domestically and internationally, it’s important to have events like this in our area,” said Joel Peterson, executive director of Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. “Wine Speak brings influential wine buyers and sommeliers to Paso Robles—many for the first time—and this year’s line-up of incredible panelists and presenters didn’t disappoint.”

Wine Speak 2020’s main events were held in the City of Atascadero. “Without the generosity and forward thinking of the Atascadero community, Wine Speak 2020 would not have been possible,” said Wittstrom-Higgins.

Wine Speak would like to thank its generous sponsors for helping make this event possible:

Visit Atascadero; City of Atascadero; Pavilion at the Lake; Somm Journal; Tasting Panel Magazine; Paso Robles CAB Collective; Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance; Farm Credit; TricorBraun; The Carlton Hotel; Umpqua Bank; American General Media; Holiday Inn Express Atascadero; Wine Enthusiast Magazine; and Glenn Burdette CPAs.

# # #

Wine Speak Paso Robles is a premiere industry summit that brings sommeliers, wine industry leaders and hospitality professionals together for a three-day educational journey. Join master sommelier Chuck Furuya and his peers as they steer winemaker seminars, hospitality classes, wine tastings and special vineyard excursions—all designed to advance professional collaboration, knowledge and performance throughout the wine industry. Visit