A New Lexicon for Wine
Marketing/Public Relations Breakout Session

The best way to get to know a wine is to taste it. Another way is to talk about it. The wine industry relies on the ability of wine communicators to persuade consumers to taste, but today’s wine lexicon
falls far short of its objectives.

For starters the vocabulary is heavily Eurocentric, reliant on metaphor and analogy unfamiliar to swaths of global wine lovers and curious newcomers. It also tends toward absolute pronouncements: “this wine is this” versus “this wine feels like this.” Formal wine education reinforces these protocols, perpetuating them for new generations of wine pros. The ever-popular numeric score says precisely zero about a wine’s aesthetic impact—even though that’s sometimes all you see. The net effect is both intimidating and gatekeeping to new wine drinkers, alienating them at a time when the industry tries to address its shrinking footprint.

In this panel, we’ll explore strategies to transform wine discourse to make wine feel more inclusive, diverse, and accessible.

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Meg Maker, New Hampshire

Meg Maker is an independent researcher curious about food, wine, and place. She has particular interest in terroir-driven foods, traditional foodways, sustainable agriculture, and old-fangled, small-batch production. Meg’s award-winning nonfiction essays and freelance writing appear in consumer and trade publications as well as on her own site, Terroir Review.

Recently she’s combined her expertise in fine art and illustration to produce new works of visual storytelling about wine and its people. Also, an experienced editor and editorial strategist, Meg lectures and consults on publication design and is a mentor to other writers, seasoned and new.

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Miguel de Leon
Consultant, New York









Erica Duecy
Consultant, New York

Erica Duecy is one of the drinks industry’s most accomplished digital and content strategists. Formerly the Chief Content Officer for the wine-discovery platform Pix, she oversaw the rapid rise of its magazine The Drop, named as one of the best wine sites by the Wall Street Journal in 2022.

Previously, Erica worked as Editor in Chief for the American wine/spirits publications VinePair and SevenFifty Daily. She has also led digital editorial teams at Architectural Digest and Saveur magazines. Her content and video programs have won more than 40 digital and editorial awards. As a consultant, she has built publishing and communications programs for Drizly, InHouse, and others. She holds the WSET Advanced certification and is a Diploma candidate.


Alicia Towns Franken
Wine Unify, Massachusetts

Alicia Towns Franken with nearly 30 years in the wine industry, began her career as the Wine Director for Boston’s famed Grill 23 & Bar, where she worked for over a decade to build one of the city’s most respected wine programs. During her tenure as Wine Director, she earned numerous accolades from organizations and magazines including Boston Magazine, The Boston Globe, Les Dames d’Escoffier and Wine Spectator.

Most recently, she was the Vice President of the Wine Portfolio for Archer Roose, a canned wine company seeking to democratize the wine business. Ultimately, though, her passion for building community, working to champion a more diverse wine industry, and innate talent for mentoring young wine professionals led her to take on the role of Executive Director for Wine Unify an organization whose mission is to welcome, elevate, and amplify the voices of underrepresented minorities in the wine industry.

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