Wine Business Institute celebrates 25 years — Sonoma State Star


The Sonoma State School of Business decided 25 years ago to offer an undergraduate degree focused on wine business, making it the first school to do so in the United States. To celebrate, an event will be held at the Wine Business Institute (WBI) on May 31.

In their 25 years, the WBI has had three major accomplishments that they wish to celebrate. These include the awarding of 257 Wine MBAs, the launch of the Global Wine EMBA and the opening of the Wine Spectator Learning Center, where the event will be held.

The WBI was created by Gary Heck of Korbel Champagne Cellars and according to him he wanted to “create a program that would prepare the next generation to lead our businesses, a viable succession plan for the wine industry”, via news.sonoma. edu.

“Great grapes and great wine were already the norm,” Heck said. “Professionalizing the wine industry was the next frontier to cross.”

After 25 years of operation, the WBI has quite a few accolades to celebrate on its anniversary. According to the WBI website, they have awarded a total of 270 wine MBA degrees and 1,610 wine business bachelor’s degrees. They rank first in California for wine production volume and wine production value.

The Wine Business program currently has 12 different professional course offerings and a 22-1 ration of graduate students to faculty members. Over their 25 years, the WBI has also gained 25 board members.

For students who are undeclared or who are considering changing majors, the wine business program is an excellent choice. The wine business program has led to successful careers for many SSU alumni such as Claire Hobday, CFO of C. Mondavi and her family, or Felicia Prater, founder of The Urban Taste.

The anniversary celebration event will take place on Tuesday, May 31 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Wine Spectator Learning Center on campus. Pre-registration will be required to attend the event. Students who will still be living in the area after the school semester ends should consider attending to learn more about the Wine Business Institute and what it has to offer.


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