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Sonoma State’s Online Wine Business Management Classes Reaching National and International Audience

Submitted By: Lewis Perdue, May 14, 2013
Sonoma State’s Online Wine Business Management Classes Reaching National and International Audience
Rohnert Park, CA: -- The Sonoma State Wine Business Certificate Series has attracted participants from across the US and as far away as China, Peru, India, France, Italy and New Zealand. The lessons learned are facilitating shared business developments around the globe, according to wine industry faculty member Tim Hanni, M.W, who teaches the 4-week introduction and 8-week intermediate levels of the three-level certificate. Sonoma State faculty Janeen Olsen and Tom Atkin teach the final installment of the certificate series. The next Foundation Level course runs from June 5-July 3, 2013, registration for which ends May 27.

Participants range from “newbies” wanting to learn more about the inner workings of the wine business to sales, marketing and production professionals wanting to get a better sense of the industry from a vertical standpoint – from the vineyard and every step of the way to the consumer’s glass.

“The WineBizSim was such an amazing part of the program! It opened my eyes from just focusing on the sales and marketing aspect, and expanded my view to see how the cost of grapes can effect whether or not the company prints more marketing materials or hires another sales rep,” says Kasey Kaczmarek and her husband who recently moved to North Carolina to fulfill their winery dreams.

Ray Johnson, director of SSU Wine Business Institute points out, “While the perceived glamour of the wine business draws many to the industry, it is business acumen that is vital to its long-term success and to the success of its owners and employees. Developing that acumen is our mission here at Sonoma State, and the online certificate has made the lessons available to students in 12 countries since its launch.”

Chris Millard, Winemaker at Newton Vineyards in Napa, said, “I got everything I wanted from the courses and the content was suited to my interests and areas I wanted to focus on for my future development. Additionally, the pace and presentation via the web suited my work and personal time constraints.”

"We've seen students with little or no practical wine experience, as well as seasoned industry veterans take the course and use the program to design the plan to build the winery of their dreams," Hanni reports. "The course allows students from every part of the globe to participate via live webinars and recordings of the webinars.”
To register for the Foundation session beginning June 5 or for more information on classes contact the Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute at 1-707-664-3347, or visit

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. In addition to its academic programs, the Wine Business Institute offers an array of seminars for the industry. Its faculty members are published experts, active researchers, and requested presenters at industry conferences. The Wine Business Institute operates within Sonoma State’s School of Business and Economics, a fully accredited AACSB institution. Learn more at

About Tim Hanni, MW
Tim Hanni MW, one of the first two Americans to earn the title Master of Wine, is an internationally recognized wine educator and professionally trained chef who acts as a consultant to wine and hospitality businesses. Hanni is a recognized leader in developing marketing and education programs that break down barriers which have historically hindered the unfettered enjoyment of wine. He is also involved in cutting edge sensory and behavioral research projects focused on understanding wine consumer preferences, attitudes and behaviors. Hanni has a unique perspective and passionate curiosity in the worlds of food, wine and sensory sciences.
He is known for his modern and innovative approach for creating consumer-centric education programs, products and services. Hanni teaches wine marketing programs at Sonoma State University and the Wine & Spirits Education Trust in London, England, has adopted his wine and food principles in their international curriculum. His techniques for creating easy to use wine lists, including the invention of the Progressive Wine List format, and retail wine programs are combined with tried and tested culinary philosophies on “balancing” food and wine flavors, and are employed by thousands of restaurants and hotel outlets around the world.
Tim is a frequent keynote speaker, combining a sense of humor with first class presentation skills and an intimate knowledge of wines and international cuisines while making the enjoyment of wine and food much more accessible. Learn more about Hanni at

About Janeen Olsen, PhD
Dr. Janeen Olsen is a Professor of Marketing and Wine Business at Sonoma State University. During her career she has been responsible for teaching courses in international marketing, marketing management, marketing research and wine marketing, and for developing international exchanges and educational programs. She has also conducted export seminars for business executives in many Latin American cities and has organized and led wine industry tours of Chile and Italy for the Wine Business Program at SSU. She travels extensively for both work and pleasure and has visited many wine producing regions around the world. She is a coauthor of the book, Wine Marketing and Sales. She has published her research extensively in marketing and international business journals and presented papers at conferences in Europe, Asia, Latin America as well as the US. She conducts research on wine tourism, wine consumption, direct to consumer marketing and tasting room service and training. Before joining the faculty at SSU she was an Associate Professor of Marketing at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge and was an adjunct professor at Tulane University in New Orleans. At the time she left LSU, Dr. Olsen held the position of William A. Copeland Endowed Professor of Business Administration. Her Ph.D. in Marketing, her MBA with an International Marketing concentration, and her BA in Spanish Literature are all from the University of Utah.
About Tom Atkin, PhD

Dr. Thomas Atkin is Associate Professor of Operations and Supply Chain Management at Sonoma State University where he teaches in the Wine Business Program. After a 25 year career in management, Atkin received his PhD in Supply Chain Management from Michigan State University in 2001. His research interests include customer-supplier relationships, sustainable business practice, and wine consumer preferences. He has published in International Journal of Wine Business Research, Negotiation Journal, and Journal of Business Logistics.