The Wine Business Institute Celebrates Leadership, Students and Alumni


ROHNERT PARK, CA. (June 6, 2022)The Wine Business Institute (WBI) of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University (SSU) celebrated its 25th anniversary event (underwritten by Brown-Forman) on Tuesday, May 31st, 2022. 

Congressman Mike Thompson (5th District) of California honored the Wine Business Institute with a Resolution read into the Congressional Record, accepted by Gary Heck of Korbel Champagne Cellars. Congressman Thompson noted the award was given, “based on WBI’s continuing relationship with the California wine community that benefits its students and the industry alike.  The wine industry helps to advance student education and experience in the wine business, and students and faculty at Wine Business Institute provide cutting-edge research to advance the wine industry. As a result, there are extensive Wine Business Institute alumni networks of talented and diverse individuals working in the industry.” 

Alumna Stephanie Peachy, WBI Board Member noted in her comments, “the theme of leadership has been an important topic of the day, and for good reason. Leadership is critical to any business, school project and even the aforementioned boating adventures. However, what is often overlooked about leadership is that it is a building process that is only achieved step, by step, by step. And while it might seem daunting to achieve the leadership status of that of our esteemed speakers here today, District 5’s United States Congressman and the President of Korbel, the 16th largest wine producer in the US, I can assure you that their aspirational achievements required taking new steps every single day.”

The event also celebrated this year’s Wine Business Institute’s scholarship recipients for the following wine business scholarships; the Kistler Inclusive Excellence Program (KIEP), the Patrick Foley Inclusive Excellence Program, the Rabo AgriFinance Undergraduate Scholarship, Debbie Lewis Women in Wine Graduate Scholarship, the Vintage Wine Estates Women in Wine Scholarship, the Donn P. Reisen Wine MBA Scholarship, La Tosh Wine Scholarship, the Charles Woodson and O’Neill Family Scholarship, the Association of African American Vintners (AAAV) scholarship, the Liz Thach Wine Industry Scholarship and the Napa Valley Vintners Scholarship. In total the amount of scholarships awarded is over $100,000. To date the above-mentioned wine scholarship programs along with the Wine Industry Scholarship Program (WISP) have raised approximately $3.8M.

Awardees of the Wine Business Institute Scholarship program have demonstrated achievements and professional goals related to the values and priorities of the School of Business and Economics including but not limited to; diversity and inclusivity, sustainability and environmental inquiry, connectivity and community engagement, entrepreneurship and innovation. 

About the Wine Business Institute 

The Wine Business Institute (WBI) serves as an intellectual and industry center for faculty, students, and the business community. Founded in 1996 as a partnership between the wine industry leaders and the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University, the WBI provides cutting-edge research that informs industry best practices and program curriculum. For more information about degree and certificate programs or wine business research

About Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics (SBE)

The SBE is a leading institution of business education in the San Francisco Bay Area, with an emphasis on preparing students to succeed in an economy that is global in nature. Our commitment to sustainable business, diversity, social justice, and global partnerships echoes our core philosophy of purpose-driven leadership. As one of the 50 top-ranked public universities, we have been recognized worldwide for our investments in diversity, social responsibility, and visionary academics. Many classes average fewer than 40 students, allowing close interaction between students and faculty.



The Wine Business Institute Celebrates Leadership, Students and Alumni