Master of Wine, Liz Thach, Honored as SSU Distinguished Professor of Wine

July 3, 2015
Professor Liz Thach, MW

Professor Liz Thach, MW

Rohnert Park, CA - Master of Wine, Liz Thach is named Sonoma State University's (SSU) Distinguished Professor of Wine. The new title came as part of the Wine Business Institute Board's resolutions to support the growth of the WBI and its academic and research programs. "I am pleased to grant this well-deserved title of Distinguished Professor of Wine to Liz Thach. Her accomplishments as a professor and Master of Wine make her the ideal candidate to carry out the initiatives of the Wine Business Institute within the scope of this new role," said Ruben Armiñana, president of Sonoma State University.

As the SSU Distinguished Professor of Wine, Liz will work collaboratively with the faculty, staff, board, and leadership of the Wine Business Institute to conduct ongoing wine research programs; provide thought leadership to the global wine business industry; teach courses, seminars, and workshops in wine and wine business; and connect with SSU alumni working in global wine industry businesses.

"I feel so honored to receive this new title," Liz stated. "My passion is to teach and conduct research in wine business, and to obtain recognition for this makes it even more special.  I look forward to expanding my work with faculty, students, alumni, and industry members to develop innovative and useful solutions for the global wine industry."
Liz holds a doctorate in Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University, and a Master in Business Communication from Texas Tech University. In 2011, Liz received her Master of Wine from the Institute of Masters of Wine in London. She has published six wine books, over 120 trade and scholarly articles, and eight book chapters throughout her career. Her most recent book is Call of the Vine: Exploring Ten Famous Vineyards of Napa and Sonoma, which won the 2014 Gourmand Award for Best Women in Wine Book in the US.

In addition to the many accolades that Liz has brought to the Wine Business Institute, she has made significant impact in students' education and the careers of alumni. "Liz has a collaborative style of teaching that empowered me as a student. She provided the path to where I am now as National Sales Director at Ehler's Estate," said Armen Khachaturian, who graduated in 2002 with his bachelors in Wine Business Strategies.

"Even in the program's infancy, Liz had a vision for what it would do to elevate students in their careers. A defining moment for me with Liz was when we were sitting down to a SSU Wine Sense Club meeting and she very clearly told me that she could envision me as an Executive in the international department at a leading winery," shared Elizabeth Rice, Director of International Operations & Marketing at Delicato Family Vineyards. "Her words helped me navigate my way into my now career at Delicato, a leading California wine brand."

Additional resolutions passed by the Board are to allocate further resources for wine business research and curriculum development, and recognize the work and successes achieved by the faculty and staff of the Wine Business Institute.

"Our world class faculty and staff have been the reason for the success of our programs, and the acclaim we have received.  Simply said, they are world class. Their research has informed important industry issues such as direct to consumer marketing, financial benchmarking, strategic decision making, and sustainable business practices. The great experiences they create for students in the classroom, and the sincere and sage mentoring they provide, create transformational learning and lead to career and life success," observed Bill Silver, dean of SSU's School of Business and Economics.


For more information regarding the Distinguished Professor of Wine or the Wine Business Institute, please contact Valery Vue at 707-664-2220 or

About Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute
Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute is located in the heart of California wine country and was created through a public-private partnership between the university and the wine industry. Founded in 1995, it is the first program in the United States to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees focused exclusively on the business aspects of the wine industry. In addition to its academic programs that include the first undergraduate and graduate degrees with a concentration in wine business, the Wine Business Institute offers an array of professional development courses for the industry. Its faculty members are published experts, active researchers, and requested presenters on pressing industry topics.  The Wine Business Institute operates within Sonoma State's School of Business and Economics, a fully accredited AACSB institution.  Learn more at 

About Sonoma State University School of Business and Economic
Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics' vision is to be the educational nucleus of a thriving North Bay economy.  Its mission is to create extraordinary learning experiences for our students and to advance best business practices in the North Bay and beyond. With undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs serving over 1500 students each year and concentrations in Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing, Wine Business, and Economics, the School offers the most in-demand degree on the Sonoma State campus. The School of Business and Economics is accredited by AACSB (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), making it one of 15% of all business schools in the world to meet these standards of excellence. For more information, visit