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Film Series Brings Wine Business Icons into the Classroom

Submitted By: Valery Vue, February 25, 2019
Leadership Interview Series Examines Decision-making in Building Leading Global Brands

Rohnert Park, California – The Wine Business Institute (WBI) in the School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University (SSU) today announced the release of thirteen films in the Business of Wine Video Series, a leadership interview series featuring wine business icons and brands in California (CA), Oregon (OR), and Washington (WA). The films offer insight into how industry founders and trailblazers navigated the wine business, including lessons in building successful businesses in an evolving industry, and strategies behind creating and maintaining top wine brands. The series aims to enhance wine business education programs at the Wine Business Institute by giving students virtual access to innovators and pioneers in the global business of wine. The educational series was made possible by a generous gift from founding sponsor, the Demeter Group led by Jeff Menashe, and has been made available to students, faculty, and the public online at https://sbe.sonoma.edu/business-of-wine.

Featured leaders in the series range from Mike Grgich, the legendary winemaker whose chardonnay won top prize at the 1976 Judgment of Paris, to Allen Shoup, the father of Washington’s wine industry, to Mike Benziger, who introduced biodynamic farming into mainstream viticulture, and many other leaders who have shaped the wine industry.

“The Business of Wine Video Series serves as a vehicle for connecting students in the classroom with wine industry icons and visionaries across the nation and the world,” Dr. Karen Thompson, Interim Dean of the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University said. “The Demeter Group and Jeff Menashe’s commitment to advancing wine business education is truly commendable. In turn, this video series is an investment in the future leaders of the wine industry, by preserving and sharing the demonstrated know-how and mastery of path-breaking leaders.”

“I see the need and educational benefits of capturing and sharing the wisdom of a generation of leaders who were instrumental in creating the American wine industry,” said Jeff Menashe, founding sponsor of the Business of Wine Video Series and CEO of the Demeter Group. “Partnering with the Wine Business Institute, the premier wine business education and research institute of higher learning in the United States, made natural sense.”

Wine industry leaders featured in the films include Andy and David Beckstoffer of Beckstoffer Vineyards (Rutherford, CA), Mike Benziger of Benziger Family Winery (Glenn Ellen, CA), Mark Couchman of Silverado Premium Properties (Napa, CA), Sarah and Joel Gott of Joel Gott Wines (St.Helena, CA), Mike Grgich of Grgich Hills Estate (Rutherford, CA), Bill and Will Phelps of Joseph Phelps Vineyards (St. Helena, CA), Ted Baseler of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (WA), Gary and Chris Figgins of Figgins Family Wine Estates (WA), Alex and Jeanette Golitzin of Quilceda Creek (WA), William Hatcher of A to Z Wineworks (OR), Allen Shoup of Long Shadows Vintners (WA), Charles Smith of Charles Smith Wines (WA), and Joseph Wagner of Copper Cane Wines & Provisions (CA). Additional films will be forthcoming including interviews with Mel Dick of Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (Miami, Florida), Marchese Piero Antinori of Marchesi Antinori (Italy), Tony Correia of The Correia Co. and Wine Country Consultants (Sonoma, CA), Greg Scott of PricewaterhouseCoopers (San Francisco, CA), Frank Farella of Farella Braun & Martel and Farella Vineyard (Napa, CA), and Randy Short of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter, & Hampton (San Francisco, CA).

For more information about the Business of Wine Video Series or our certificate and degree programs, please visit www.sonoma.edu/winebiz or call (707) 664-3235. The Wine Business Institute is an education and research institute of the School of Business and Economics (SBE). SSU is the first institution of higher learning in the U.S. to offer professional certificates and degrees specializing in the business of wine. It is the first school of business in the world to offer an executive-level wine business degree.