First Hybrid Executive MBA in Wine Business Launches Fall 2018

Program Innovation Offers Convenience, Focused Preparation Online and Onsite in California, France, and Australia
August 31, 2017
Student in classroom with globe

Student in classroom with globe

Rohnert Park, California - The Wine Business Institute (WBI) at Sonoma State University (SSU) today unveiled a hybrid version of its popular Sonoma Executive MBA in Wine Business, including online and classroom-based learning taking place over 16 months on three continents. Beginning in November 2018, the new hybrid program will be structured in three-month segments of online case-based learning and faculty mentoring, with four 10-day onsite residential "Leadership Intensives" in between. Team and project-based learning will focus on wine value chain strategies and management; international brand management; investments, mergers, and acquisitions; and an individual integrative change project.

Onsite learning will take place at the Wine Spectator Learning Center at SSU, an international education and industry hub located in the north San Francisco Bay Area and North Coast wine region of Sonoma County and Napa Valley, and via university partnerships serving the premier wine regions of France and Australia. 
"Based on stakeholder feedback, we designed a program option with flexibility as a priority, making it ideal for high-potential managers and family members already working on a national or international scale," Ray Johnson, Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute said. "It joins a collection of specialized master's degrees in wine business that are the most prestigious, well-connected programs in the world." 
"Each of our executive programs share a focus on helping students improve strategic analysis and leadership communication in an integrated process," Dr. John Stayton, Executive Director of Graduate and Executive Programs said. "The enhanced hybrid design allows for immersive global learning with a project-based curriculum that is powerful, practical, and experiential." 
Program curriculum focuses on improving acumen in the areas of design and systems thinking, financial analysis, leadership and talent management, and macro analysis of economic, environmental, and cultural frameworks. Professional and academic faculty include Dr. Armand Gilinsky, Korbel Professor; Dr. Liz Thach, MW, Distinguished Professor of Wine; Dr. Damien Wilson, Hamel Family Chair in Wine Business; Tim Wallace, Wine Business Executive in Residence and former CEO of Benziger Family Winery; Dr. Karen Thompson, Professor of Leadership and Managing Director of SBE; Jolene Yee, Vice President and General Counsel at Delicato Family Vineyards; and Julien Cadot, Professor of Finance at the Institut Supérieur de Gestion in Paris. 
The WBI is an education and research institute of the School of Business and Economics (SBE) at SSU. All SBE programs are accredited by the international Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). SSU is a campus of the California State University system (CSU). For more information regarding the new hybrid version of the Sonoma Executive MBA in Wine Business, or other SBE programs and degrees, please contact (707) 664-3501,, or visit