The Chardonnay Symposium

The Challenges

Established in 2009, the Chardonnay Symposium had languished as a simple, regionally-focused Chardonnay tasting event. When Parker Sanpei was brought on in 2015 to manage the event, they made the bold recommendation that it become a multi-day, international symposium focused on truly exploring the virtues of this ubiquitous grape varietal.

The Solutions

Parker Sanpei developed a compelling event agenda, evolved a comprehensive budget, liaised with sponsors, secured venues and vendors, and updated digital assets including the website and promotional materials. Next, the team worked to engage media, entice winery participation, secure panelists, moderators and acclaimed chefs, and put together a first class team of professional sommeliers to ensure the overall quality and consistency of the event. Additionally, the team coordinated three full days of events, including the Vintners Tech Symposium, Sommelier Chardonnay Challenge Wine Competition (an event introduced by Parker Sanpei), La Paulée Dinner & Vintner Awards Ceremony, and multiple wine panel discussions at several prestigious Central Coast venues, culminating with the Grand Tasting.

The international event developed its reputation as a world-class forum, bringing in the world’s foremost producers. Parker Sanpei’s strategic approach and industry relationships have garnered participation from local, regional and national wineries, as well as from such countries as Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, Italy, New Zealand, Spain and South Africa. The event now attracts top shelf trade, media and eager wine enthusiasts from around the globe. In 2016, Parker Sanpei put forth and implemented the concept of the Legendary Producer of Chardonnay award to be handed out annually at the La Paulée Dinner.


Parker Sanpei conducted an award-winning public relations campaign, earning a 2017 Stevie Silver Award in the Travel and Tourism category. During the second year of Parker Sanpei’s stewardship, ICS welcomed more than 85 winery participants representing over 100 brands, up from 55 wineries the year prior. Total event attendance increased over 50% from 2015 to 2016 and gross sales swelled by 118%. The International Chardonnay Symposium has been received in local, regional, and national broadcast and publications such as: San Diego Union Tribune, L.A. Times Daily Dish, NBC7 San Diego, Monterey Herald, NBC Bay Area, Culver City Observer, Bakersfield Magazine,,, Food & Beverage Magazine, Los Angeles Magazine, New Times, The Tasting Panel Magazine, The SOMM Journal, The South Florida Gourmet, and