Online Certificate in Wine Business Management FAQs



How is the program delivered?

All courses in the program are delivered entirely online through a combination of assigned readings, prerecorded lectures/videos, short assignments/projects and weekly live webinars. Webinars are recorded and made available in the online classroom after they take place so students who are unable to attend during a live session may access the material as their schedule permits. Students are expected to attend a minimum of half of the live webinar sessions in order to earn the maximum points for participation.  For students living in distant time-zones, and where live attendance is not as accessible, greater participation in the classroom discussion forums is encouraged.

What are the opportunities for students to engage with the class and instructor?

Students are expected to participate in the weekly discussion forums in the online classroom (in most cases the weekly forums are 30% of the total grade in the course). Students also have the opportunity to engage in live discussion through the weekly live webinars.

What are the course requirements?

Students are required to complete a total of four courses (in sequential order) to earn the certificate: Foundation, Intermediate and two of the Advanced courses of their preference.

Do I have to take the Foundation and Intermediate courses if I have wine industry experience?

The program is designed in such a way that the Foundation course prepares students for the Intermediate course and the Intermediate course prepares students for the Advanced courses. We have many students with wine industry experience who gain a lot of knowledge from the Foundation and Intermediate courses.

Advanced Placement: If you would like to earn the certificate and have 8+ years of wine industry experience you may request, upon acceptance into the program, to enroll directly in the Intermediate course.


What is the total cost of the program?

Current course fees are listed below. Please note these fees are subject to change for future course offerings.

Foundation 4 weeks $795
Intermediate 8 weeks $1100
Advanced I 8 weeks $1100
Advanced II 8 weeks $1100


What is the average or expected time commitment per week?

It is recommended that students commit 4-6 hours per week for each course to complete the assigned readings, assignments/projects, participate in discussion forums and attend the live webinar or watch the recording.

Who are the program instructors?

All of the instructors in the program are wine industry professionals working in various fields and capacities. Some are local to the Sonoma and Napa area near the University and some are traveling and working globally within the wine industry. For detailed biographies of each of the instructors please visit the faculty page.

How is student competency measured?

This is a non-degree seeking program and is considered pass/fail. While each course may have specific requirements and expectations, each course requires that students complete the readings, weekly assignments/projects, participate in discussions via submissions in the forum in the online classroom and submit the final project. Students are graded and receive points for each of these activities and must earn a minimum of 60% of the total course points in order to pass.

What is the credential earned?

Upon successful completion of the Foundation, Intermediate and two Advanced courses (of the student’s preference) a professional certificate in Wine Business Management is awarded to the student.

Are there prerequisites for this program?

There are no prerequisites for this program. This program is open to anyone interested in learning more about the business side of the wine industry. Students must complete and submit the online program application to begin the process of enrolling in the program.

Can coursework from this program be applied to a degree program?

This is a non-degree seeking program and earns Continuing Education Units (CEUs). This credit is not applicable and cannot be transferred toward a degree program.

Can this program help me get accepted into the Wine MBA programs at Sonoma State University?

Students without wine industry experience may complete the Foundation and Intermediate courses of this certificate program to fulfill the two-year wine industry experience requirement for acceptance into the Wine MBA programs.

Is wine industry experience required to participate in this program?

Students applying to the Online Certificate in Wine Business Management are not required to have any wine industry experience to be accepted into the program. 


How often are course cycles offered?

There are three course cycles (Foundation, Intermediate, Advanced) offered each year. Each Advanced courses is offered once per year in rotation , following the completion of the Intermediate course. Course cycles generally begin in January, April and September each year. For detailed course offerings, please visit the Curriculum & Fees page.