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

This level offers an overview of global wine production-how wine is grown, distributed and sold. While moving wine through the value chain is similar to other products, there are a number of practices and customs that are different. These differences arise out of the nature of wine as food, wine as an alcoholic beverage product, and wine as a highly differentiated luxury good. This introductory course brings the participants up to speed on the currently accepted protocols and the standards associated with the successful selling of wine. The ability to properly develop marketing and sales strategies is an intrinsic part of successful selling and management of sales channels.

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

  • Explain global wine commerce
  • Understand the interrelatedness of grape growing, wine production, sales, marketing, distribution and direct to consumer
  • Outline the process of getting from the vineyard to the retailer
  • Understand and outline the process of:
    • Selling wine in stores (off-premise)
    • Selling wine in restaurants and bars (on-premise)
    • Selling wine online and in other venues
  • Communicate the future of wine commerce

    View syllabus 


Intermediate Level

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

This level provides an inā€depth exploration of the various components of the wine business, building on the topics covered in the Foundation Level. Beginning with important global statistics on wine, participants will explore issues with viticulture and enology; wine business strategy; business wine marketing, branding, distribution, sales, public relations, and exporting.

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

  • Identify the various components of the wine business
  • Explain business issues associated with viticulture and enology
  • Describe major business issues with wine marketing and sales
  • Calculate basic costs associated with viticulture, production, sales/marketing, and distribution
  • Describe legal and regulatory issues in global the wine business
  • Learn how to draft a wine business strategy document

    View syllabus


    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

      View Syllabus

    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

      View Syllabus

    Learn More
    For more information or to register contact:
    Wine Business Institute
    Phone: +1.707.664.3347
    Email: winebiz@sonoma.edu