Wine Rows

News for May 2011

A Successful Event 

leslie_anastasia_tina_springmixer.pngThe Spring Mixer on April 7 brought together over one hundred students with more than one hundred people from the wine industry and broader business community.  The energy in the room was palpable as students networked and created the connections so vital to developing one's career.  "Meeting alumni and people from the wine industry was exciting. I'm a marketing student and wine is a huge industry where I could apply my skills," noted Tina Arobio (third from left in photo). 

Dr. Rich Campbell prepared students for the event by guiding them through the basics of 'working a room', engaging them in real-life exercises to practice the skills necessary for successful networking. The evening also featured John Jordan, who gave a candid talk on the need to adapt if one is to survive in the wine business.

Students in the Spotlight 

stephanie_peachy.jpg"Sonoma State was the clear choice; nowhere else can you learn firsthand from industry experts, while in the heart of wine country." One of our newest wine MBA students, Stephanie Peachey, comes all the way from the east coast - testament to the growing reach of the program and the caliber of our students. Stephanie relocated with her family from New York City to pursue her degree from Sonoma State and combine her passion and extensive corporate experience in marketing with her passion for the wine industry. 

Stephanie entered the marketing industry a decade ago after graduating from Stephen F. Austin State University with a degree in Business Administration. Upon returning from living abroad in Zurich, Switzerland, Stephanie started her marketing career in print publishing working as sales and marketing assistant for the Fort Worth Weekly. She then worked as a marketing consultant for a Texas based B2B consulting firm before joining LexisNexis, a leading provider of global legal solutions, as Marketing Coordinator. Stephanie has since served in various U.S. product marketing and global branding roles. 

Prior to being promoted to Director of Brand Marketing, she contributed to the launch of the new LexisNexis visual system which was released in 17 countries. Today she's continuing her work for LexisNexis (and expanding her family with a new baby) while pursuing her degree and connecting with the wine industry.

Faculty in the News

liz_thach.jpgThe Spring Mixer also saw the announcement of Dr. Liz Thach as the F. Korbel & Bros. Professor in Wine Business. This first-of-its-kind professorship for Sonoma State supports the Wine Business Institute and its vision to be the global leader in wine business education.  As the Korbel Professor, Thach will support the Institute's professional and academic network, as well as expand her input on pressing wine industry challenges like engaging Millennials, increasing direct to consumer sales, and using social media and Web 2.0. 

Thach's existing success in scholarship and teaching is noteworthy.  In addition to 116 different contributions to books, trade and academic journals and conference proceedings on management, human-resources and business subjects, she has presented at 78 local, national and international conferences like the "Unified Wine & Grape Symposium" and the prestigious "Wine Industry Financial Symposium". 

William Silver, dean of the School of Business and Economics, added "Professor Thach is an internationally recognized scholar and teacher whose record of accomplishments in the area of wine business is outstanding: six books, three book chapters, seventeen peer-reviewed articles, thirty-three trade journal articles, and six conferences proceedings and more. She will be a tremendous ambassador for our program and the university." Read full story here.

Focus on Development

lagunitas_pic.jpgWe all know that it takes a lot of beer to make wine and the team at Lagunitas is donating all of the proceeds from an after-work mixer to support our Wine Business Institute programs at the School of Business and Economics. Save the date: Tuesday, June 21 from 5:00 p.m. at the brewery in Petaluma. More details coming soon. 


Sonoma State Cellars is becoming a reality! Thanks to the persistence of our Wine MBA students, the guidance of our Wine Business Institute Alumni Council and a generous donation from the proprietors of Kokomo Winery in Dry Creek Valley, we expect to release our inaugural vintage this fall. Erik Miller, owner and winemaker, and Randy Peters, fourth-generation grower and partner, are passionate in their support of wine education and are donating two barrels of wine to the newest of our student programs. 

Right now the students are managing the design of the labels and will be bottling the wine this summer. Bob Quail and Drea Helfer have donated their legal and compliance expertise to the project while Ruth and Ron Waltenspiel, owners of Timber Crest Farms, are providing a site for the release party in September.

In the News

The Wine Business Institute has sealed a deal that will move Bordeaux School of Management's MBA visit from U.C. Davis to Sonoma State.  In January 2012, about two dozen international wine MBA students will study finance, marketing, management, HR, strategy, and entrepreneurship, as well as visit wineries throughout the North Coast.

Last Monday, the North Bay Business Journal published the full story, along with news about our upcoming online program. The stories were also distributed to all those attending the Wine Conference on Thursday in Santa Rosa and you can pick up a copy wherever the Journal is sold. Here's a link to the online articles: Wine Business Institute in the News.


Ray Johnson

Director of Sonoma State's Wine Business Institute

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