Appetizers
January 25, 2011
Unified Wine & Grape Symposium kicks off

By Chris Macias
cmacias@sacbee.com

The nation's largest wine and grape growing expo is officially underway. The 17th annual Unified Wine & Grape Symposium kicked off this morning at the Sacramento Convention Center and Hyatt Regency. More than 12,000 wine industry professionals are expected to attend the event, which runs through Thursday and includes a trade show with 630 exhibitors. With talk in previous years of Unified on the verge of outgrowing the Sacramento Convention Center, space was made for an additional 22 vendors at the trade show, which took over a space once reserved for exhibitor registration.

Unified arrives at a critical time in the domestic wine industry. Rocked by the recession in recent years, and subject to an unseasonably cool growing season in California, industry professionals are anxious to hear the final crop reports and consumer trend information for 2010. Those will be shared tomorrow morning at Unified's "state of the industry" general session at 9 a.m.

But for now, exhibitors are setting up for the trade show, which opens tomorrow and considered the biggest day of activity at Unified. Organizers are meanwhile fretting at Mother Nature, as fog delayed many flights into Sacramento this morning and threatened the availability of some speakers.

Stay tuned for more Unified news as the week moves along.

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