Course Series Information

The Wine Business Management Certificate is made up of three independent levels. Each level builds upon the next and is designed to challenge participants while creating a superior understanding of wine business operations.

Foundation Level

(16 hours over 4 weeks)
Prerequisites: None

Foundation: Introduction to Wine Business
This four week course provides an overview of wine business. Students will develop an appreciation of the realities of the wine business as a business and come to understand the steps required for getting from the vineyard and into the glass of the consumer.


  1. Understand the components of a wine business and the viewpoints of the various stakeholders in the areas of:
    • Grape growing, including its costs, values, quality considerations, supply and demand, risks and opportunities
    • Production, winemaking, maturation and packaging
    • Marketing
    • Distribution, a complex and highly regulated process
    • Domestic sales,  selling wine in retail stores (off-premise), restaurants and bars (on premise), online and direct to consumer (through tasting rooms, events and wine clubs)
  2. Understand how going to market with wine compares and contrasts with other consumer packaged goods.
  3. Understand the key decision points, interrelatedness and costs that go into growing, producing, marketing, distributing and selling a wine product.
  4. Outline how quality and value is determined at each step in the process of grape growing, production, marketing, distribution, domestic and export sales and final point of sale.
  5. Understand the financial resources and time periods necessary to establish a wine product.

Intermediate Level

(24 hours over 8 weeks)
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Level 1

Intermediate: A Survey of the Key Drivers in a Wine Business

Building on the concepts developed in the Introduction to Wine Business, this eight week course expands the project-based learning focused on the business of making and selling wine.  The class surveys the key drivers of a wine business and the necessary decisions when a wine business goes to market, providing a deeper understanding of the entire value chain. 

The subject of marketing, distributing and selling expands to include both a primary brand as well as a range of products, including options for negociant brands.


  1. Understand the business issues associated with viticulture, production, marketing, distribution and points of sale.
  2. Evaluate alternative approaches associated with those issues.
  3. Calculate costs across the component areas.
  4. Evaluate the contribution of the component areas to the value of a wine product.
  5. Expand the understanding of distribution and regulatory issues to include the international wine market.
  6. Assess the internal environment, identifying the strengths and weaknesses in a wine business.
  7. Assess the external environment, identifying the opportunities and threats to a wine business.
  8. Evaluate a SWOT analysis and draft a plan for going to market with a new wine business product.
  9. Plan for and consider future wine markets and alternative channels of wine commerce.

Advanced Level

(48 hours over 16 weeks, plus optional certification exam)
Prerequisites: Successful completion of Levels 1 and 2

Participants will choose two of the following three electives:

Global Wine E-commerce (24 hours over 8 weeks)

This level provides an in-depth study of electronic commerce aspects from a wine industry perspective. Participants will explore opportunities and challenges associated with electronic commerce (e-commerce/e-business), and review the impact of e-commerce with meeting strategic objectives of an organization in the wine industry. This level includes an overview of e-business issues as they pertain to direct-to-consumer and government oversight/compliance, wine club management, and winery management software.
At the conclusion of this level, participants will be able to:

  • Explain how electronic commerce affects the strategic intent and operational functioning of a wine industry organization
  • Describe the procedures for developing and managing an electronic commerce site, as it furthers the strategic, marketing, financial, or operational plans of an organization
  • Make recommendations in design of web-site that implement best practices in electronic commerce
  • Identify and explain the various security, legal, and privacy issues and understand how they may impact a wine industry organization's e-business strategy
  • Evaluate feasibility of and recognize benefits and limitations of various winery management software systems as they relate to direct-to-consumer issues
  • Effectively communicate with customers through the available digital channels
  • Evaluate and optimize the customers' mobile experience

Production and Quality in the Wine Supply Chain (24 hours over 8 weeks)
This level provides an in-depth review of the business issues associated with wine production and operations. This level emphasizes the basic concepts of operations, purchasing, logistics, and supply chain management as they apply to the wine industry. More specific topics include value analysis, total quality management, make/buy decisions, negotiation, and supplier development.

At the conclusion of this level, the participant will be able to:

  • Explain the key business issues in the production and operation of a winery
  • Identify supply chain management considerations for effective operations
  • Describe the planning process from wine forecasting and product development through distribution
  • Calculate total cost analysis and its role in supply procurement
  • Assess the appropriateness of the capital equipment necessary to operate a winery
  • Identify how quality is achieved in the production of wine
Strategic Wine Marketing (24 hours over 8 weeks)
This level provides an introduction to wine marketing terminology and concepts, including the steps in brand creation, packaging decisions, integrated communication strategy, navigating the three tier distribution channels, and direct to consumer sales. Topics of tasting room management, wine tourism, importing, and exporting wine are also presented. The culminating project is the creation of a marketing and sales plan for the launch of a new wine business.

At the conclusion of this level participants will be able to:

  • Describe important wine consumer segments
  • Create a wine brand to appeal to a chosen target market
  • Understand the marketing implications of package design
  • Coordinate promotional elements of advertising, public relations, and special events
  • Understand the complexities of wine distribution at the distributor and retail levels
  • Create a distribution and sales strategy utilizing distributors and/or direct to consumer methods
  • Describe key aspects of tasting room management
  • Integrate wine marketing into a broader wine tourism context
  • Describe the steps to importing and exporting wine
  • Create a draft marketing and sales plan

Learn More
For more information or to register contact:
Wine Business Institute
Phone: +1.707.664.3347