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Sonoma State Cellars First Release

July 3, 2012 11:00 AM

July 3, 2012
                                                              Sonoma State Cellars First Release
Sonoma State Cellars, a wine venture started by students of Sonoma State's Wine Business MBA program, is here! Community members are invited to buy wine and be a part of this landmark project. Interested supporters must fill out an order form and fax or email it back to Sonoma State's Wine Business Institute to reserve your wine. A pick-up party will be held on July 14th at Kokomo Winery at Timber Crest Farms. Everyone can come to enjoy great wine, delicious food and entertaining music while picking up their allocation of 2010 Sonoma State Cellars Cuvée. A great time is guaranteed. Orders of two or more bottles may also be shipped within the state of California. 
Over the past two years, over a dozen wine business students have worked with the team at Kokomo Winery and Timber Crest Farms in Dry Creek Valley to create the first Sonoma State wine.  The idea for the brand was first considered by a group of four MBA students working with Dr. Armand Gilinsky, Jr., Professor of Business at Sonoma State University.  Liza Goldstein, Kendal Georgeson, Abigail Smyth and Leah McNally, who have since graduated and grown in their careers, conducted a feasibility study to assess the viability of the proposed brand during the summer of 2010. 
During the following semester, a second group of MBA students worked with Dr. Gilinsky to develop a business plan for the new venture.  Jacob Avery, Stephanie Gremban, Sean Headden, Kendall Hoxsey, Dylan Karahalios, Marin McElhany, Brian Perkins, Andrew Pimentel and Nick Rood outlined the start-up necessities and a path to sustainability. At the end of the semester, the students created a 40 page report and delivered their final  presentation to members of the wine business faculty, administration and the wine industry.
Attending the presentation that evening was Erik Miller, owner and winemaker at Kokomo Winery in Dry Creek Valley.  Erik was impressed by the students' enthusiasm and immediately offered his support. After crush was over, he set aside a barrel of his 2010 Red Cuvée to provide the foundation for the program and the first release of the future Sonoma State Cellars.
sonomastatecellars_label_lowres_small.jpgOver the course of the following year, he coached the students on the start-up of a winery and the building of the brand.  One of the student team members went on to work with Erik and his assistant winemaker Josh Bartels, while others contributed to the project whenever they could, squeezing in hours between study and work. In the fall of 2011, Ruth Waltenspiel, the proprietor of Timber Crest Farms, hosted a launch party where the students shared their story with a group of 60 friends and supporters. 
Throughout the project, the MBA students were guided by the leaders of the Wine Business Institute Alumni Council, whose members work in key positions throughout the North Coast. The alumni will provide continuity to the nascent program over successive semesters and generations of students.  With the label approval from the TTB, Sonoma State Cellars is now ready to launch.

The Sonoma State Cellars Cuvée is a unique blend of vineyards and varietals from across Sonoma County, selected to showcase the versatility of the North Coast. The blend is 49% Merlot, 26% Carignan, 17% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Syrah. Read the complete winemaker notes. All proceeds will go to support wine business programs at Sonoma State.
To order, complete the form here.
For more information, contact Jessica Heing at 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 short courses and seminars for the industry.  Its faculty members are published experts and active researchers who focus on the arena of wine business.  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's School of Business and Economics
The vision of Sonoma State University's School of Business and Economics is to be the educational nucleus of a thriving North Bay economy.  Its mission is to create extraordinary learning experiences for its 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 11053