365WineTrade Tech Talks Episode 8: Industry Trend Predictions for 2023 with Special Guest Debra Knotek

February 1, 2023 Tony Castellano

On our eighth episode of 365WineTrade Tech Talks, we brought on our own 365WineTrade Specialist Debra Knotek as our guest. Debra, alongside our co-host Jacklyn O’Brien, had previously attended the WSWA Women’s Leadership Conference, and they offered their insights and observations from the inspirational event. We discussed what’s coming up for the wine industry during the holidays and some of the future trends and innovations in general for the industry. But first, Jackie shared some positive outlooks in our “Through the Grapevine” segment. 

Listen to Podcast Episode 8

Jackie discussed that—despite experiencing pretty trying times these past few years—California wines are actually in a good spot for market growth. It's great to see that—despite problems with weather and the complications that came with COVID-19—buyers in and outside of the US are interested in California wine exports. With the upcoming holiday season, we’re also seeing demand in the industry as a whole go up as well. Vineyards and distributors are just hoping they can hit the same high points as they did last holiday season.

Our specialist Debra Knotek shared a little bit about herself as well as her unique industry background. Debra started out in technology and software working with startups in Silicon Valley. She eventually decided she was done with the software aspect of her career and followed her passion in wine—leading her to study under the Master of Wine program and enter the wine industry. 

Debra currently resides in Sonoma, California which she said happens to have a great restaurant scene despite being rather rural. She even gave us a good recommendation for a six-course meal with wine pairings for each course! If you’re interested where our 365WineTrade Specialist had “one of the best restaurant experiences” give the full podcast a listen.

Insights from the WSWA Women’s Leadership Convention

Debra and Jackie expressed glowing optimism regarding their experience at the WSWA Women’s Leadership Convention, and Debra offered some insight into what seems to be holding back most businesses in the industry. “A lot of it really is just being able to have more sophisticated software.” She went on to echo this reliance on software technology as we discussed a future trade event in Napa, where she claimed we would be seeing a lot of finance folks who sell financial business software solutions to vineyards and distributors. 

Predictions for 2023

Looking toward the future, we all made predictions on trends or innovations that we might be seeing in the upcoming year. Debra highlighted the trend of large companies changing the definition of what they are—transitioning from being just a wine or a beer company to a beverage company—allowing them to expand their reach in the market by selling trendy beverages such as “ready to drink” (RTD) cocktails or wines in a can. Jackie supported Debra’s prediction, and mentioned some alcohol alternative drinks that contain either no alcohol or other substances such as CBD and THC. Debra and I postulated that with all these different products and innovations, it seems governments and lawmakers around the world are just trying to keep up. I predicted that we’re going to be hearing a lot about the supply chain and the speed at which companies can bring products to market.

As always, I’d love to get your feedback on the podcast and any topics you’d like to hear us discuss in upcoming episodes. Contact us to share your thoughts, and keep tuning in for the latest in wine technology and trends. You can listen to all our podcasts on Spotify or on your favorite podcast platform.

About the Author

Tony Castellano

As Western Computer's VP of Sales, Tony oversees sales and business processes to ensure that the company's large customer base is supported.

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