From information to application, guests at the 2022 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium returned after a two-year absence to Sacramento’s newly renovated SAFE Credit Union Convention Center to learn about changing environmental conditions, sustainable practices, and expanding markets while visiting with hundreds of exhibitors showcasing the resources, equipment and services to address those challenges.
Discussion of rebounding markets set an upbeat tone for the industry, while expert panelists helped winegrape growers, vintners and other industry representatives digest the latest information on major issues like climate change, drought, wildfire smoke and evolving consumer demand.
“The Unified offers guests a unique opportunity to listen to some of the most informed and respected voices in the industry discuss emerging trends and issues, and then step into the exhibit hall where much of the equipment, supplies and services they had just heard about are on display,” says John Aguirre, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers (CAWG) and co-sponsor of the Unified. “That melding of cutting-edge information with onsite practical solutions is what makes the Unified such a powerful resource.”
With the January spike in the omicron COVID-19 variant, the Unified’s management committee recognized the need to maximize safety and took a myriad of steps to limit spread. All guests were required to pass through the Safe Expo Health & Safety Screening Center before registration, which verified guests’ vaccination status and conducted onsite COVID testing. Additionally, masking was strictly enforced throughout the show. The organizers also canceled the welcome reception, regional wine tasting and exhibitor luncheon to limit exposure.
And while COVID had a definite effect on registration numbers, the Unified’s organizers reported that more than 6,000 people attended the show, maintaining its status as the largest industry trade show of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. More than 600 exhibitors filled the 200,000 square feet of exhibit floor space, where guests perused the latest technology, innovations, services and equipment for the wine and winegrape industry.
“Putting on a huge show and symposium, ensuring safety for thousands of visitors during a pandemic and navigating a wonderful new convention center made for challenges this year, but I’m very pleased by the outcome. We were able to present important content, provide a live venue for the industry to connect and offer invaluable opportunities for guests and exhibitors to interact and connect,” Dan Howard, American Society for Enology and Viticulture (ASEV) executive director and Unified co-sponsor, said. “The Unified is all about bringing people and ideas together to advance success, and while we had to jump through some hoops to make that happen this year, it was worth all the effort.”
The 2023 Unified Wine & Grape Symposium will take place on January 24-26 at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento. Built with the joint input of growers, vintners and allied industry members, the Unified Symposium has served as a clearinghouse of information important to wine and grape industry professionals for 28 years. The Unified Symposium also hosts the industry’s largest trade show of its kind. For more information, visit www.unifiedsymposium.org.