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Q&A: Checking in on trends, resources for wine and beverage professionals

Program Director for the CIA Wine & Beverage Summit Maryam Ahmed gives a sneak peek at what attendees can expect next year and discusses wine and beverage trends that are on the rise.

3 min read

FoodRestaurant and Foodservice

Six wine and cocktail glasses casting shadows on a white background (Checking in on trends, resources for wine and beverage professionals)

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The Culinary Institute of America’s Wine & Beverage Summit will return to Napa, Calif., May 5-7, 2024. Program Director Maryam Ahmed gives a sneak peek at what attendees can expect next year, discusses beverage trends that are on the rise and shares resources beverage professionals can turn to to stay ahead of the curve.

What can attendees expect at the 2024 CIA Wine & Beverage Summit?

The theme of the 2024 summit is Business Savvy for the Wine and Beverage Professional. Our goal is to bridge technical knowledge and business acumen to empower wine and beverage professionals to progress into leadership roles. There will still be fun and immersive tastings as a part of the summit, but our focus is going to be on how what you’re learning and tasting translates into a successful business. Hiring managers often say what’s missing most from wine and beverage education is a really solid understanding of business, and that’s a gap we want to fill.

What wine and beverage trends are we seeing now that you predict will grow in the coming year? Are there any trends you see cooling off as we move into 2024? 

Most brands are still trying to wrap their heads around how they will grow their millennial and Gen Z market share. You can see this through the pursuit of quality non-alcoholic wines and mocktail programs as well as branding efforts. The ready-to-drink category will keep growing because of that. The natural wine movement and programs like ABV (anything but vinifera) are also bringing in new wine drinkers and I don’t see that slowing down anytime soon. 

What resources can beverage professionals look to for education and inspiration when it comes to wine and beverages? 

I think variety is key in order to stay informed. I’m keeping up on wine and bev news with Somm Journal, Full Pour Magazine, the Business of Drinks podcast, the Vinepair podcast, Jancis, and Punch Magazine. Wine Folly is a great go-to resource when I need to brush up on regions or grapes.

How does the CIA Wine & Beverage Summit work to build a community and foster leadership and mentorship among beverage professionals? 

The summit brings together top-tier wine and beverage professionals from across sectors of the industry to share their knowledge and to engage with attendees. Our summit is smaller in scale, which gives everyone a chance to build their community and make meaningful connections.

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