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Sonoma State University names Dr. Armand Gilinsky as Korbel Professor of Wine Business

March 25, 2014 9:30 AM


Sonoma State University names Dr. Armand Gilinsky
as Korbel Professor of Wine Business

sbe_armand_lowres.jpgRohnert Park, CA - At yesterday's meeting of Sonoma State's Wine Business Institute Board of Directors, Dr. Armand Gilinsky was announced as the next F. Korbel & Bros. Professor of Wine Business. The professorship, which was established in 2011 and held for the first three years by Dr. Liz Thach, is supported by Korbel Champagne Cellars and its president and owner Gary Heck to cultivate faculty research and projects that advance the wine industry and its leaders.

"I am humbled," said Gilinsky, author of more than 40 published case studies and articles relating to the wine industry. "It is incredibly generous, yet so appropriate, for Gary Heck to lend Korbel's name and funding to this professorship that gives faculty time to develop projects that help the wine industry, as well as those who seek careers in it."

Making the announcement, Dr. William Silver, dean of the School of Business and Economics pointed to Gilinsky's successful and relevant research, like his and Professor Sandra Newton's award-winning case study " The Sudoku Approach" that proposes crowd-funding as a solution to banks' increasing reluctance to lend to unknown start-ups, that make Gilinsky such a worthy choice.

"Armand's accomplishments have always impressed me.  He involves students in meaningful work and his studies really contribute to wine businesses," said Heck. "Korbel is pleased to support Dr. Gilinsky's ongoing efforts to foster innovation in the industry and in the classroom."

Gilinsky identified three themes to focus on throughout the next three years, stating that understanding emergent business models regarding sustainability will be "front and center." He plans to help Sonoma County become the nation's first 100 percent sustainable wine region, a goal set in January by the Sonoma County Winegrowers.

Gilinsky's other two research goals include sharing best practices and tools for wine business education by creating a wine business case study book, and examining how strategy and leadership in the wine industry are changing. He plans to involve students as much as he can in all of his investigations and explorations of the industry so that he can teach them how to "make serendipity happen to advance their careers."

"Students will learn the recipes for success and 'get under the hood' of a business by participating in these projects," said Gilinsky. "It provides opportunities to explore the industry, put something impactful on their resumes, and point to their education at Sonoma State with pride."


For more information from Sonoma State, contact:
Annemarie Brown: or 707-664-2221.

For more information from Korbel Champagne Cellars, contact:
Margie Healy:  or 707-824-7715.

About Armand Gilinsky

Armand Gilinsky, Jr. is Professor of Business at Sonoma State University and got his first taste of the wine industry picking grapes at Château Margaux in 1982. Since coming to SSU in 1994, he has served as Director of SSU's Entrepreneurship Center, Wine Business Program, and Small Business Institute. In 2013 he received the Bernie and Estelle Goldstein Award for Excellence in Scholarship and an Academic Integration Grant from the Green Music Center for the development of an Entrepreneurship in Creative and Digital Media program. He previously held teaching appointments at the Harvard Business School, CSU East Bay, and Northeastern University. He currently teaches courses in Strategy, Entrepreneurship, and Sustainability.

Dr. Gilinsky has had extensive consulting experience in strategic planning, competitive strategy, and venture planning. He has authored over 50 business case studies and articles on wine business strategy, entrepreneurial strategy, finance, sustainability, and socially responsible entrepreneurship. He is a Past President of the North American Case Research Association, an international organization of some 450 case teachers and researchers, and has led workshops on case teaching and case writing. He holds the Ph.D. in Business Policy from Henley Management College/Brunel University (London).

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. These include a B.S. with a concentration in wine business strategies (since 1998), an MBA with an emphasis in wine business (since 2008), and an executive MBA in wine business (since 2012). In addition to its academic programs, the Wine Business Institute offers an array of professional seminars and certificates for the industry on relevant topics like accounting and finance, and wine sales and marketing, including an online certificate in wine business management that has reached professionals in a dozen countries since its launch in 2012. Its faculty members are published experts, active researchers, and requested presenters on pressing industry topics locally and around the world. The Wine Business Institute operates within Sonoma State's School of Business and Economics, a fully accredited AACSB institution. Learn more at

About Gary Heck
Gary Heck, the owner of Korbel, has served as its president since 1982 and became Chairman of the Board in 1984. In 1965 he began his full-time career at Korbel Champagne Cellars occupying many positions spanning all areas of winery operations from assistant office manager to traffic manager and sales representative to vice president. Under Heck's leadership, Korbel's sales have grown from 150,000 cases annually to 1.3 million, continuing a 132 year tradition of family business, wine-making and industry innovation. Heck serves as the chair of Sonoma State's Wine Business Institute Board of Directors and ex-officio member of the board of directors for the Wine Institute, is a member of Les Amis du Vin and was named a Supreme Knight of the Knights of the Vine.

Contact SBE
Contact SSU
Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics. Reach.
1801 East Cotati Avenue, Rohnert Park, CA, 94928 • 707-664-2377 17050