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Sonoma State Online Program Graduating First Group of Students

September 18, 2012 11:30 AM

August 29, 2012

Sonoma State Online Program Graduating First Group of Students

Rohnert Park, CA- The Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State is graduating its first group of students in the new Online Wine Business Management Program. The inaugural group of 22 students has progressed through three levels of instruction over 28 weeks. Those who successfully complete the cumulative final exam will graduate and earn the Wine Business Management Certificate.

Students in the program included those already working in the wine industry as well as those looking to change careers and transition into the industry.  "This is a great course whether you're a beginner or a leader in the wine industry. I was the beginner in a course full of professionals and felt the course was just as relevant to me as it was to the professionals already in the industry," noted student Julie Overstreet, CSW.

A survey was given to students at the completion of each level, and the results showed that the majority of the students felt that the certificate would enable them to move into the wine industry or to take a higher position within it. One student said it helped him secure a job with a distributor while another student is using the knowledge to advance her career, " the program was very helpful to me in my career advancement in wine marketing and provided me with a broader understanding of the unique challenges present in the industry," said Alexis Traverso, Account Manager, Williams-Sonoma Wine.

The Foundation and Intermediate Levels were taught by Tim Hanni MW, who is the one of the first two Americans to earn the title Master of Wine. He is also an internationally recognized wine educator and joined Sonoma State's wine industry faculty for the launch of the new program. He is involved in cutting edge sensory and behavioral research projects focused on understanding wine consumer preferences, attitudes and behaviors.

The Foundation Level offers a systematic overview of the wine business - how wine is produced, distributed and sold - using an online wine business planning and financial program.  The Intermediate Level expands on the Foundation Level, providing an in-depth exploration of the various components of the wine business, including global statistics, business issues with viticulture and enology, wine marketing, branding, distribution, sales, public relations, and exporting.

In the Advanced Level students completed two courses, the first titled Strategic Wine Marketing and the second titled Production and Quality in the Wine Supply Chain. The marketing course was taught by Sonoma State Wine Business faculty member, Janeen Olsen whose work in wine marketing research has produced numerous published articles. The production and quality course was also taught by a Sonoma State Wine Business faculty member, Tom Atkin whose research on sustainable business practices in the wine industry has produced numerous published articles as well.

Applications are being accepted for the next series of courses which begins on September 10. The deadline to apply for the fall Foundation Level Course is September 5.
For more information and to apply online, visit Wine Business Management at Sonoma State.

Contact Jessica Heing 707-664-3347,, with questions about this and other programs at Sonoma State's Wine Business Institute.

Foundation Course Dates: September 10th - October 5th
Application Deadline September 5th


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 

Contact SBE
Contact SSU
Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics. Reach.
1801 East Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA, 94928 • 707-664-2377 11334