Since 2011, the Online Wine Business Management course and certificate has been offered by the Wine Business Institute (WBI), an education and research institute of the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University (SSU). Founded in 2008, SSU claims to be the first U.S. higher learning institute to offer professional certificates and MBA degrees specializing in the wine business . It is known, too, as the first school of business in the world to offer an executive-level wine business degree.
The Online Wine Business Management course certificate has attracted people from more than a dozen countries and WBI claims it “was inspired by SSU’s MBA in Wine Business to facilitate professional growth through advanced knowledge of wine business marketing, operations, and finance.” The four-week business management class begins January 24, 2019. In addition, the Wine Industry Finance & Accounting class begins February 9; the Wine Entrepreneurship class begins February 21; and the Certificate in QuickBooks begins May 8.
With thousands of wineries and many more thousands of wine brands and varietal wines spanning the globe, wine is a highly competitive industry. Knowing how to sell wine is among the most important parts of a competitive consumer product industry attempting to attract a world of fickle consumers. To teach that skill WBI just announced a new online certificate course in Wine Sales Management to begin March 26.
Ray Johnson, Executive Director of the WBI said in a press release, “As wholesalers consolidate, getting adequate representation has become exceedingly challenging, for both small wineries and big brands.”
The new online Wine Sales Management course purports to present the technical skills industry professionals need to sell wine successfully, whether it is direct to consumers or to wholesalers domestically or globally.
Among its topics, the online Wine Sales Management course navigates “route-to-market strategies for alcoholic beverages , and client-facing sales and territory management skills.”
Two new faculty members, David Bower, and Gabriel Froymovich will be teaching the online spring semester sales management classes.
Bower owns and operates Lake Ridge Consulting, which provides enology and operations consulting services to East Coast wineries, including winery start-up and development, winemaking, asset management, quality assessment, viticulture, and staff management. He is also the enology instructor and winemaker of the North Carolina-based Surry Community College’s Surry Cellars program.
I had the pleasure of writing about Bower’s services a few years ago in my local wine column. I came across his truck one day nearby and wanted to know what someone from the South was doing consulting about wine in the Finger Lakes region. It was an enlightening interview.
Froymovich owns Vineyard Financial Associates, which guides clients through data-driven methods and effective systems to drive growth and sustainability. He is also general partner and CFO at Hooper 206 Vintners. He was previously general manager at Oak Hill Vineyards.
These online courses are considered Foundational and Intermediate. Those seeking accreditation toward a Wine Business MBA at SSU, and who successfully complete the online courses, do not have to present two years industry experience for MBA admission.