Matteo Acmè is an Italian journalist and sommelier (AIS, WSET Level 3).
He worked in China for three years working for wine importers and distributors.
He moved to Argentina in 2016, where he became sales manager for Chakana Wines, an organic and Biodynamic winery located in Mendoza, dedicated to Biodynamic viticulture and the expression of its estate's terroir.
For Chakana, he has been promoting Biodynamic wines in more than 20 countries.
Daphne Amory works as an advisor and coach for leaders in organizations that are involved in regenerative processes.
Using tools and cues from the theater on nature, she helps her clients realize the greater potential for uncommon success that is collectively unfolding for them, their land, and their business.
Daphne currently serves as Board President of the Biodynamic Association.
• Through a Biodynamic Lens: Managing Disease, Pest and Weed Control in the Vineyard
Matias Baker is founder and operator of Kepher Dynamics, a consultant based service focused on the art and science of Biodynamic agriculture, quality Biodynamic preparation making and holistic landscape ecology.
• New Thinking About the BD Preps
Will Bakx started composting in 1982 at Sonoma State University as student manager of the Ecological Food Production Garden. In 1985 he launched Bennett Valley Farm Compost, processing various agricultural and fish industry discards. In 1993 he started the Sonoma county-wide yard debris composting program as Sonoma Compost Company.
Bakx has converted almost 1.5 million tons of organics from the landfill, creating high quality mulch and compost, including Biodynamic compost.
He is the adjunct compost instructor at the Santa Rosa Junior College (SRJC) and serves as chair of the SRJC Sustainable Agriculture Advisory Committee.
He is currently working with West Marin Compost.
Will earned a B.A. in Environmental Studies from Sonoma State University and a M.S. in Soil Science from U.C. Berkeley. He is the co-founder and current board member of the California Organic Recycling Council (CORC) and the California Compost Coalition (CCC).
• Compost, Compost Tea and Carbon Farming
As both a winegrower and a winemaker, Steve Beckmen has spent over 20 years overseeing Beckmen Vineyards’ acclaimed estate vineyard and wine program.
Steve gravitated forward capturing the natural diversity and potential of a site, and this philosophy found its expression during the planting of Purisima Mountain Vineyard.
“Planting Purisima was one of the most exciting experiences of my life,” says Steve. “It was remarkable to take a great raw piece of land, to design it and then to plant it. Starting with a vision and ending with a great bottle of wine is incredibly rewarding.”
Cultivating Purisima Mountain Vineyard also helped to solidify Steve’s winemaking style. As with his approach to viticulture, this style focuses on maintaining character and diversity.
During any given vintage, Steve individually ferments as many as 100 small lots of fruit, often employing techniques such as native yeast fermentation or whole cluster pressing to highlight the personality of a given clone or block. Described by Steve as both “hands-off” and “hands-on,” this approach has resulted in an acclaimed portfolio of wines that consistently bridge the divide between power and elegance.
Today, Steve oversees all aspects of production, managing the viticultural program and working to guide Beckmen’s winemaking.
Widely recognized as a viticultural leader and an innovative winegrower in the Santa Barbara community, Steve is a key figure in California’s Rhône varietal movement.
• Wines by the Glass
• Biodynamic Rhones: Superstars
Born on a Biodynamic dairy farm in Kimberton, Pennsylvania, Andrew Beedy's family moved to Chilham, England, where he was raised at Chilham Castle. He attended Perry Court Steiner elementary school, which was attached to a large mixed Biodynamic farm, and spent his off hours as a teen working at the Ripple Farm Organics horticultural farm in Kent.
Andrew learned his composition and visual skills studying environmental science and photography in England. When his schooling was complete, he took his new found skills back to the organic farm he’d worked on as a teenager. Here, he gained hands-on experience learning all aspects of agriculture, greenhouse management, machinery/equipment operation and cultivation, while continuing to refine his landscape composition skills to create a multitude of visual, colorful and aesthetically pleasing layouts.
In 2008, Andrew headed to California to become the Farm/Estate Manager at Quivira Vineyards & Winery, a winery estate in Dry Creek Valley appellation of Sonoma County. (The winery was then a Demeter certified Biodynamic estate). Here, he had the opportunity to work alongside the late Alan York, a prominent Biodynamic consultant. Andrew spent four years developing the expansive gardens of the estate.
From there Andrew headed to Southern California to head up a large Biodynamic farm. Here he completed the farm's Biodynamic and organic certification process; designed and built a showpiece one acre kitchen garden; designed and installed multiple pollinator habitats and drought tolerant landscapes; developed a 30-acre parcel where a worn avocado grove was removed and replaced with newly designed terraced olive and avocado groves; and developed large scale hay operation.
In 2015, Andrew returned to Sonoma County, and now designs farms and gardens and consults with a variety of prominent Biodynamic, organic and sustainable farms and gardens, nationwide.
• Compost, Compost Teas, and Carbon Farming
Mike Benziger was born in NYC and is the oldest of seven children.
The day after graduating from Holy Cross College, he and his future wife, Mary, drove to California, where Mike landed a job in San Francisco in the wine business. Over the next seven years he worked in retail, distribution, grape growing and winemaking.
In 1979 Mary and Mike discovered a rundown - but beautiful - property on Sonoma Mountain in the town of Glen Ellen. There they had three children - Erinn, Buck and Grant - and worked for the next 35 years, creating and running three successful winery brands - Glen Ellen, Benziger Family Winery and Imagery Winery.
In 1995, sensing that the property in Glen Ellen could farmed more healthfully, Mike and his family adopted Biodynamic farming practices, with Allan York as their consultant, and were the first in Sonoma County to become Demeter certified. Their estate property in Glen Ellen and three other vineyards have been certified Biodynamic for almost 20 years.
In 2015 Mary and Mike transitioned from the wine business to start a small farm in Glen Ellen called Glentucky Family Farm. On that land, which has been farmed and certified Biodynamic for 18 years they grow fruits, vegetables, medicinal crops and raise animals which are sold locally.
Mike and Mary are commited to their family, four grandkids, and improving the environment both locally and beyond.
• The Business of Being Biodynamic: Producers Stories
• New Thinking about the Biodynamic Preps
Anne Biklé is a biologist with professional experience in watershed restoration, environmental planning, and public health. She finds the natural world endlessly fascinating and writes about connections between people and their environment.
She has a bad case of plant lust and when not writing, she’s in the garden coaxing greenery into rambunctious growth or nursing plants back from the edge of death using mulches and microbes. She and her husband, geologist David Montgomery, collaborated to write The Hidden Half of Nature: The Microbial Roots of Life and Health.
Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers, and on radio and podcasts while her soil-building practices have been featured in independent and documentary films.
She attended the University of California, Santa Cruz earning Bachelors’ degrees in Biology and Natural History. She holds a Master's Degree in Landscape Architecture from the University of California, Berkeley.
• Keynote and Panel: Soil and the Microbiome
Jean-Charles Boisset was born into the world of wine in the village of Vougeot, Burgundy, France. His parents, Jean-Claude and Claudine, founded the family winery in 1961 with an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in one of the most traditional winegrowing regions in the world.
Today, the family collection includes wineries that share more than 18 centuries of combined winemaking heritage and tradition in some of the world’s most prestigious terroirs, from Burgundy to the South of France, to California’s Napa Valley and Russian River Valley.
Jean-Charles implemented organic and Biodynamic farming at all of the family’s estate vineyards in Burgundy and California. Together with his sister Nathalie, he created Domaine de la Vougeraie, uniting the family’s Burgundy vineyards, including prestigious monopoles such as the Vougeot 1er Cru Clos Blanc de Vougeot — planted in 1110 by the Cistercian monks, into one of Burgundy’s leading domaines.
In 2003 Jean-Charles brought DeLoach Vineyards, a pioneering producer of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Zinfandel in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley.
In 2009, he purchased Raymond Vineyards in the Napa Valley, where he implemented organic and Biodynamic farming on its 100 acre Rutherford estate. Raymond won “Winery of the Year” honors from Wine Enthusiast magazine.
In 2011, he purchased Buena Vista Winery, California’s first premium winery, founded in 1857.
In 2016, Jean-Charles and his wife Gina Gallo received the Mondavi Food & Wine award Robert Mondavi Wine & Food award by The Collins College of Hospitality Management in honor of their vision and leadership to advance the wine industry.
• Opening Remarks
Bree Boskov MW, is the Director and co-founder of Constant Crush Consultants, an international comprehensive consultancy company specializing in organic and Biodynamic vineyard development, wine production, product development, packaging, and global product placement.
A Master of Wine with international experience in nearly every aspect of the wine business, she been a sommelier, wine director and Nova Scotia Liquor Commision manager in Canada and spent more than a decade in Australia as an importer, national sales manager, winemaker and educator, working with The Spanish Acquisition, Prince Wine Group and DeBortoli Wines.
She has traveled extensively to wine regions worldwide as a harvest consultant, specifically Georgia
and Portugal, as a portfolio developer, wine writer, and presenter.
She currently consults to the Oregon Wine Board on industry and trade education.
She is the second female Canadian Master of Wine and one of 41 Masters of Wine residing in the US.
A WSET certified Diploma instructor and educator with NapaValley Wine Academy and contributor to GuildSomm, she is a judge at international wine competitions including the International Wine Challenge, Decanter Wine Awards, Melbourne Wine Show and TEXSOM International Wine Competition.
She continues to present as an expert panelist at several international wine events and writes for various wine publications.
• Biodynamic Wines By the Glass
• Portlandia Goes BD: Natural Wines and Biodynamics in Oregon
• Biodynamic Bordeaux Varietals
Joseph Brinkley studied horticulture at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, earning his Bachelor of Science in Horticulture in 2003.
Following graduation, he worked with a number of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms while complementing his education with workshops at Virginia’s Josephine Porter Institute, an internationally acclaimed educational facility that advances education and research in Biodynamics.
Brinkley was hired for a full time position at Grgich Hills Estate in Napa where he worked for three years. Following that, he consulted for a number of organic clients, including Spottswoode and Roederer, before joining Bonterra Organic Vineyards as a vineyard manager in 2013. In 2017 he was promoted to his current position.
• New Thinking about the Biodynamic Preps
John Buechenstein is a winemaker and wine educator.
He is past president of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture and coauthor of the Standardized System of Wine Aroma Terminology, among other titles.
He is the co-editor, with Tim Patterson, of the newly published book The Terroir Reader (U.C. Press, 2018).
• New Research on Terroir and the Microbiome
Marianna works with Skurnik Wines West as a sales representative in the West Los Angeles market.
Prior to Skurnik, Marianna was the Beverage Director at Baltaire Restaurant in Brentwood.
Originally from Iowa, Marianna spent part of her childhood in Alsace, France and was first introduced to pairing wine and food by her parents. She has always been a champion of Biodynamic wines, both as a sommelier and a wine sales representative.
Marianna currently is a Diploma Candidate with the Wine & Spirits Educational Trust.
• Biodynamic Rhone Varietals
Elizabeth joined Demeter in January 2008 as a seasoned marketing professional, with 25 years experience in marketing, business development, and nonprofit management.
Elizabeth first became interested in Biodynamic farming as Marketing Director at Quivira Vineyards, when the wine estate transitioned from conventional to Biodynamic farming. She was so inspired by that experience she joined Demeter to help them expand awareness about Biodynamic agriculture and its positive effects on the food we eat and the environment we live in.
Elizabeth’s prior work includes Director of Consumer Sales and Marketing at Chateau Montelena and V.P. Sales and Marketing for Pezzi King Vineyards.
She also owned and operated Studio Airstream, a marketing and nonprofit consulting firm specializing in strategic philanthropy.
Thea Maria Carlson is Executive Director of the Biodynamic Association, bringing vitality and renewal to the food system through regenerative agriculture.
Thea is a leader, facilitator, educator, and farmer dedicated to building living soil, growing nutritious food, and nurturing vibrant communities.
She lives in the Mayacamas Mountains in Sonoma County, California, and frequently visits other parts of the world.
Since 2011, Thea has played a key role in developing the Biodynamic Association’s programs and exploring new ways to manage and evolve the organization.
Her previous experience includes diversified organic and Biodynamic production farming; teaching gardening, nutrition, and beekeeping; designing, building and managing urban community and educational gardens; and organizing strategic communications trainings for nonprofit leaders.
She holds a B.S. in Earth Systems from Stanford University and a permaculture design certificate from Occidental Arts and Ecology Center. She is also a graduate of The Coaching Fellowship and the Center for Courage and Renewal's Academy for Leaders.
• The Role of the Spiritual
Philippe Coderey comes from a very long line of French and Swiss vine growers/winemakers.
He studied Biodynamic farming training class for three years at the Kimberton Hills Biodynamic school in Pennsylvania back in the late eighties, after poisoning himself with pesticides while working in Switzerland.
He was working at M. Chapoutier as a vineyard manager and winemaker when he was imported to California by Bonny Doon winery in 2005 to convert their vineyards to Biodynamic practices.
He started working as a consultant in 2011 and currently works with several vineyards in California.
• The Extra Edge: Vineyard and Biodynamic Practices That Improve Wine Quality
Neil was born and raised in Bristol, England. Trained as a chef, he moved into winemaking with stints with John Munch at Adelaida Cellars and Ken Volk at Wild Horse.
At Adelaida, Neil met Robert Haas and the Perrins of Château de Beaucastel when they were just beginning the search for Tablas Creek. Neil was so intrigued by the project that he offered his services, and spent a year working and learning at Château de Beaucastel.
Before the year was finished, Neil was offered the winemaker position at Tablas Creek, and he has overseen both the organic vineyard and the winery since 1998.
His philosophy is that great wines can only come from great grapes, and that the art of winemaking is founded on starting out with the very best grapes and bringing their juice through fermentation as naturally as possible.
Neil was named San Luis Obispo County Winemaker of the Year in 2013.