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Sonoma State Wine Entrepreneurship Grads Impacting the Wine

Submitted By: School of Business and Economics Marketing Team at Sonoma State University, February 11, 2014
Sonoma State Wine Entrepreneurship Grads Impacting the Wine Industry

As the start date for the 2014 Wine Entrepreneurship certificate nears, past grads shared how the certificate required them to systematically look at the different components of a successful wine brand and how the lessons in creating profitability and cash flow led them to real business results.

Alan Baker, a former student and the co-owner/winemaker at Cartograph Wines, recently opened a new tasting room in Healdsburg, and is using the tools he learned to differentiate his product. “One of the things I appreciated the most about the class was the exposure to people who have launched successful businesses. The key thing I took away was not how to do something like they did, but truly understanding you have to invent your own success.”

Jeanette Tan thought the business plan, a product from the class, was invaluable. “We used the business plan that we created to apply for a larger line of credit,” said Tan. “Our banker was very impressed.” Her involvement extends beyond the class; she also teaches for the Wine Business Institute. She recently taught another sold out seminar on “Cost Accounting for Wineries,” the idea for which came from the Wine Business Entrepreneurship class.

Geordie Carr, the owner and winemaker at Bump Wine Cellars, opened a new tasting room last July in downtown Sonoma. Upon reflection he noted, “One of the best elements of the class was the open forum, where we discussed our business aspirations and got real perspectives from the guest speakers with actual practical experiences.”

Dr. Anisya Fritz, the proprietor of Lynmar Estate, will teach the class again this spring starting February 27th. “If you visit Lynmar Estate, you can see why the people who take this class are very lucky to learn from someone who has created success on a very luxurious scale,” said Ray Johnson, director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University.

“This class gives people the opportunity to craft a strategy as they take the first step in their business or as a way to review steps they have already taken,” said Johnson. “We have had people who took the class while in the idea phase and used the class quite successfully, while others wanted to come back to take a look at their business with fresh eyes.”

Over eight weeks the seminar participants were exposed to key aspects of the wine business and heard from industry leaders and veterans who described their experiences and lessons learned. By the end of the course every participant had the tools and frameworks to critically evaluate the competitive landscape and make decisions on a course of action.

Sign up for the Wine Entrepreneurship class before early registration ends on February 20th. Learn more in the Education section of


Photo: Cartograph Wines tasting room, Healdsburg, CA. Wine Entrepreneurship graduate, Alan Baker, opened last October.

For more information, please contact Jessica Heing at 664-2260,

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