The Sonoma State University graduate school of business offers a number of programs that prepare students for careers in the wine industry. In fact, Sonoma State University is one of only a handful of schools in North America that offers a Master of Wine degree. According to the school, this program is designed to give students a comprehensive understanding of the wine industry and the wine world, as it exists today.

There is a lot of money to be made in the wine business. There are seventeen billion dollars a year in revenues created by the American wine industry alone. And the number of people who want wine is only increasing. In addition to the 17 billion dollar industry there are 1.1 million jobs in the American wine industry. Sonoma State University’s Wine Industry Alliance (WIA) is a consortium of the Wine Business Program, the Sonoma State University’s College of Agriculture and the Wine Department. The goal of the WIA is to help businesses in the wine industry develop and grow.

The Sonoma State University Department of Viticulture and Enology develops and disseminates viticultural and enological research that will improve the wine industry.



Strategic-International-Restaurant-Development-From-Concept-to-ProductionRohnert Park, CA – May 24th Students in the Global Executive Wine MBA program at Sonoma State University develop sustainable, technological, and operational solutions for the wine business. As part of their spring 2021 capstone course, the students addressed problems and needs connected to COVID-19 and wine industry development possibilities. SommMobile, a mobile wine store, Wineu, a wine buying help app, and a technology-focused vineyard and winery development plan are just a few of the initiatives. The capstone projects are listed and described in detail here.

“In their capstone projects, our MBA students developed some creative solutions to challenges that the wine industry is facing right now. We’re excited to see our MBA graduates engage and innovate as they become the future leaders of the industry,” said Soo Haylett, executive director of the Graduate & Executive Programs in the School of Business and Economics at SSU.

SommMobile, founded by master sommelier Dana Farner and recently awarded the most creative prize at the SSU Seawolf Pitch Competition, offers sommelier-led online tastings and on-site wine experiences. Wineu, developed by Kelli Hodges, aims to improve the customer experience by simplifying the wine-buying process and providing a platform for wine companies to promote their goods.

“With the app, customers can receive wine suggestions tailored to their tastes right at their fingertips when shopping, allowing them to spend less time exploring and more time tasting wines,” said Hodges, a wine compliance expert. “I wanted to create something that would benefit individuals like myself who are mainly consumers of wine. Wine companies, on the other hand, may influence and profit from consumers’ purchasing choices in real time, rather than losing a transaction due to a lack of options.”

Kory Burke’s expansion project aimed to set Gelfand Vineyard apart from the competition by catering to the requirements of existing Baby Boomer wine club members while also reaching out to Gen X, Millennials, and Gen Z consumers. A technology-focused approach to customer relationship management and marketing operations is part of the growth strategy, as is a focus on environmentally and sustainability-conscious company practices.

“The capstone project provided me with the chance to apply what I had learned to our newly purchased vineyard in Paso Robles, California. Burke, owner and winemaker of Gelfand Vineyards, stated, “I was able to draw up a pre-acquisition and post-acquisition growth strategy and apply it directly to a real-world endeavor.” “The Global Executive Wine MBA program provided me with many of the skills I needed to properly plan and account for all of the business-related elements of establishing a route to operating this new vineyard, particularly in terms of financial and industry evaluation.”

The Global Executive Wine MBA, an online program with in-person residentials in France, Australia, and the United States, is currently accepting applications. Seats are limited, and those who apply by June 30, 2021 will be given first consideration for the Fall 2021 semester. has further information on the program.

Visit for more information about the Global Executive Wine MBA and our other degree and certificate programs.



With an average of over $1 million in educational support, wine industry professionals and Sonoma State University students can work together to greatly benefit the wine industry.. Read more about sonoma state student jobs and let us know what you think.

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  • sonoma state university student support services
  • sonoma state university graduates
  • sonoma state university alumni association
  • sonoma state resources
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