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WBI Announces New Members of Board of Directors

Submitted By: Valery Vue, February 28, 2018
Bank of Marin’s Jim Kimball is Newest of Nine Recent Industry and Community Leadership Appointments

Rohnert Park, California – The Wine Business Institute (WBI) in the School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University (SSU) today announced the appointment of eight wine industry and community leaders to its Board of Directors, including most recently Jim Kimball, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Bank of Marin. The 28-member Board is guided by Gary Heck, President of Korbel Champagne Cellars and WBI Board Chair; Ron Rubin, Proprietor of Ron Rubin Winery and WBI Board President; and George Hamel, III, Managing Director of Hamel Family Wines and WBI Board Vice President.

New members of the Wine Business Institute Board of Directors:

Brian Clements, Vice President and Partner, Turrentine Brokerage
Mary Jo Dale, Marketing Director, Vinventions & Nomacorc
Jim Kimball, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Bank of Marin
Mel Mannion, Senior Advisor to the Chairman, M. Shanken Communications
Carol O’Hara, Managing Partner, North Bay Practice and Consumer Products, Wine and Craft Beverage Industry Group Leader, BPM
Michael Osborn, Founder and Vice President Merchandising,
Dale Stratton, Vice President Strategic Insights, Constellation Brands
Barbara Talbott, Founder & CEO, GlenLarkin Advisors and former CMO, Four Seasons Hotels
Diane Wilson, Winemaker, Wilson Artisan Wines

“It’s an honor to announce the addition of these innovators and visionaries to our Board of Directors. Under their guidance, and the collective leadership of our entire Board, we look forward to opening the new Wine Spectator Learning Center on behalf of the next generation of leaders for a changing global wine industry,” Ray Johnson, Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute said.

The WBI is an education and research institute of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) at SSU. Each year, over 30 faculty research studies are published to inform public policy on issues of fair business practices for consumers, regional economic development, and sustainability, among other pressing issues. Eight full-time faculty and 28 professional faculty teach SBE wine business programs and degrees at the undergraduate, graduate, and executive levels. SSU has conferred 980 undergraduate degrees in wine business strategies, 49 MBAs in wine business, and 112 Executive MBAs in wine business. Over 10,000 individuals from 25 countries have taken the WBI’s professional development courses in wine business.

Existing members of the Wine Business Institute Board of Directors:

Gary Heck, President and Chairman, Korbel Champagne Cellars
Ron Rubin, Proprietor, Ron Rubin Winery and CEO, The Republic of Tea
George F. Hamel, III, Managing Director, Hamel Family Wines
Kaj Ahlmann, Proprietor, Six Sigma Ranch & Winery
Tom Bonomi, President & CFO, Price Family Vineyards & Estates
Chris Burt, Vice President, West Division Managing Director, Brown-Forman
Roy E. Cecchetti, President & CEO, Cecchetti Wine Company
Caroline Coleman Bailey, Gallo Family
Steve Gross, Director of State Relations, Wine Institute
Dan Grunbeck, EVP Client Services and Business Development, Young’s Market Company
Ray Johnson, Executive Director, Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University
Walt Klenz, Vice Chairman, The Vincraft Group
Erle Martin, Executive Vice President, Wholesale West, The Winebow Group
Steve Myers, Managing Director, North America, Distinguished Vineyards & Wine Partners
Frederick W. Pierce IV, President & CEO, Pierce Education Properties
Alex Ryan, President and CEO, Duckhorn Wine Company
Karen Thompson, Interim Dean, School of Business and Economics at SSU
Douglas Thornley, Principal, Gould Evans

For more information regarding the WBI Board of Directors, or for information about School of Business and Economics wine business programs and degrees, please visit, contact (707) 664-3235 or email