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The Wine Business Institute Offers Scholarships Totaling $16,000

May 22, 2012 2:51 PM

May 21, 2012

The Wine Business Institute Offers Scholarships Totaling $16,000

Rohnert Park, CA- This year the Wine Business Institute within the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University was able to give away three scholarships totaling $16,000 to worthy students.

The first scholarship available was from Women for WineSense, a national organization that supports wine education at any age. This year's $1,000 scholarship went to an undergraduate wine business strategies student, Jenna Riggan. Jenna will graduate with a double major in French and Wine Business Strategies and hopes to pursue a career in international wine business.

The second scholarship was the Donn P. Reisen Memorial scholarship worth $5,000. Donn's widow, Marilyn Reisen set up the scholarship in partnership with ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) for which Donn was a long-time member, to carry on his passion for the wine industry. The recipient of this scholarship needed to demonstrate the qualities that made Donn Reisen an industry leader: a passion for the industry and its products, a commitment to wine education, and the warmth and generosity that allowed him to connect with so many over his legendary career.

After much debate, the review committee ended up selecting two recipients that will each receive $2,500. Brandye Alexander currently works as the brand manager for Seghesio Family Vineyards and just started in the first cohort for Sonoma State's Executive Wine MBA program which launched in Napa in April of this year. Brandye eventually aims to achieve a senior-level sales and marketing position in the wine industry. The second recipient was Palmer Emmitt, a Wine MBA student who is currently working on launching his own wine label. Named after his grandfather who was a judge in El Dorado County, Judge Palmer, will focus on single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons from distinct sites throughout the North Coast.

The final scholarship was newly available this year and made possible by Charlie Palmer and Daryl Groom. Charlie Palmer hosts an annual event, Pigs & Pinot, at his restaurant, Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg. The event is a fundraiser that brings talented chefs and Pinot Noir producers together for an amazing night of food and wine. This will be an annual scholarship worth $10,000 going to a student that shows financial need, lives locally in a North Coast wine region, and will pursue a career locally in the wine or food industry. Charlie and Daryl created the scholarship wanting to make a difference in a student's life.

Once again the scholarship committee could not decide on one recipient and so chose two that fit the requirements. Rachel Kau-Taylor received $5,000 and will start in the Wine MBA program this summer. She has previously worked in tasting rooms and in wine retail throughout Sonoma County. Once she graduates she would like to pursue a career in wine market research and large chain wine buying. Lacey Madrigal is a native of Napa Valley and received $5,000 to help with her undergraduate degree in Wine Business Strategies. Once she graduates she hopes to work on the marketing and PR side of the wine industry and hopes to eventually come back to Sonoma State to earn her Wine MBA.


For more information, please contact:
Jessica Heing, 707-664-3347,

About Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute:

Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute is located in the heart of California wine country and was created through a public-private partnership between the university and the wine industry. Founded in 1995, it is the first program in the United States to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees focused exclusively on the business aspects of the wine industry. In addition to its academic programs that include the first undergraduate and graduate degrees with a concentration in wine business, the Wine Business Institute offers an array of professional development courses for the industry. Its faculty members are published experts, active researchers, and requested presenters on pressing industry topics.  The Wine Business Institute operates within Sonoma State's School of Business and Economics, a fully accredited AACSB institution.  Learn more at

About Sonoma State University School of Business and Economic

Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics' vision is to be the educational nucleus of a thriving North Bay economy.  Its mission is to create extraordinary learning experiences for our students and to advance best business practices in the North Bay and beyond. With undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs serving over 1500 students each year and concentrations in Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing, Wine Business, and Economics, the School offers the most in-demand degree on the Sonoma State campus. The School of Business and Economics is accredited by AACSB (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), making it one of 15% of all business schools in the world to meet these standards of excellence. For more information, visit


Contact SBE
Contact SSU
Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics. Reach.
1801 East Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA, 94928 • 707-664-2377 10949