Groundbreaking Event for Wine Spectator Learning Center Scheduled for June 1

California's Lieutenant Governor, U.S. Congressman for Fifth District among Dignitaries Expected to Address Historic Public-Private Partnership
May 23, 2016

Rohnert Park, California - The School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University (SSU) today announced that a public groundbreaking ceremony will take place for the Wine Spectator Learning Center on Wednesday, June 1 from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. at the site of the University Commons building and future home of the Wine Business Institute (WBI), a unique public-private partnership between SSU and the wine industry. The event marks the beginning of an approximately year-long interior and exterior building transformation project designed to meet advanced learning and education requirements for the benefit of students, the campus community, and California State University (CSU) system. Welcome remarks will be provided by Dr. Ruben Armiñana, President of Sonoma State University, with additional remarks by Dr. William S. Silver, Dean of the School of Business and Economics; Marvin Shanken, Chairman of M. Shanken Communications, Inc., publisher of Wine Spectator magazine; U.S. Congressman Mike Thompson; and current Lieutenant Governor and candidate for Governor of California, Gavin Newsom. A naming gift of $3 million was given by the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation toward the $9.15 million project.


"This event is groundbreaking in more ways than one. As the global leader in wine business education and research, we're not just breaking ground on the future home of the Wine Business Institute, we're charting the roadmap for an industry," Dr. William S. Silver, Dean of the School of Business and Economics said. "Today's wine industry faces substantial pressure from globalization, disruptive technologies, and climate change. More than meeting employment demands, our faculty and students are shaping how this global industry adapts and evolves. Thanks to the outpouring of generosity from our partners, the Wine Business Institute is well positioned to continue driving innovation, informing public policy, and training future generations of leaders for a dynamic industry."  

"The Wine Business Institute is a unique program which, more and more, is supporting executive development to meet the wine industry's dynamic growth needs. The Wine Spectator is honored to play a role in supporting the Institute and the California Wine Industry," Marvin R. Shanken, Editor and Publisher of Wine Spectator said.

In addition to the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation, generous contributions from the following people and organizations help support the project, including Robin and Michelle Baggett of Alpha Omega Winery and Tolosa Vineyards & Winery; Roy and Rachael Cecchetti of Cecchetti Wine Company; Wayne Chaplin of Southern Wine & Spirits; Gerret and Tatiana Copeland of Bouchaine Vineyards; Alan Dreeben of Republic National Distributing Company; The Gallo Family of E & J Gallo Winery; The Hamel Family of Hamel Family Wines; Gary Heck of Korbel Champagne Cellars; Terry Lindley of American AgCredit; Wally and Ellie Lowry - the first Director of the Wine Business Institute; Charles Merinoff of Charmer-Sunbelt Group; The Michael Family of Peter Michael Winery; Fred Pierce of Pierce Education Properties; Ron Rubin of The Rubin Family of Wines; Alex Ryan of Duckhorn Wine Company; and Chris and Vern Underwood of Young's Market Company.

The new building will comprise 15,000 square feet, including three state-of-the-art classrooms, multimedia venues for production and broadcast of public seminars and events, international-themed gardens and Student Success Pathway, and collaborative spaces for hands-on learning, such as a student commons, faculty-industry hub, and café. Grand opening is expected in 2018.

For more information about the Wine Spectator Learning Center project, the June 1 groundbreaking event, or for information regarding other professional seminars, certificate programs, and advanced degree programs of the Wine Business Institute, please contact (707) 664-3235 or email Interested parties may RSVP for the June 1 event online. The Wine Business Institute is an education and research institute of the School of Business and Economics.