Wine Business Management Certificate

Created by Wine professionals for Wine professionals.

Program Overview:

The Wine Business Management (WBM) Online Certificate is developed and taught by industry experts from our world class wine region, Sonoma County. This 28-week program includes a 4-week Foundation course; an 8-week Intermediate course and a total of 16 weeks of elective advanced courses. If you are just getting started in the wine business industry the 28-week program is for you. This comprehensive professional business certificate addresses key industry areas, including:

  • DTC and e-Commerce
  • Strategic Wine Marketing
  • Wine Sales Management
  • Wine Production and Operations
  • Financial Management
  • Wine Import and Distribution
  • Wine Club Management
  • Social Media for Wine Business

Certificate Benefits:

  • All courses delivered online
  • 4-6 hours weekly commitment
  • One-hour weekly live webinars
  • Non-Credit courses
  • No time limit to complete the certificate program
  • Average time to complete is 12 months

Current Course and Workshop Schedule:

Class Dates Live Classes Instructor Fee Registration Deadline

WBM Certificate: DTC Marketing & eCommerce


Tuesdays 6-7 pm PST

Ben Kraemer $1,250

Register here by 05/19/2024

WBM Certificate: 
Foundations in Wine Business Management


Thursdays 6-7 pm PST

Mike Kush


Register here by 06/11/2024

FA Certificate: 
Financial Management & Strategy

Wednesdays 6-7 pm PST

Jared Tatcher


Register here by 06/24/2024

WBM Certificate:
Strategic Wine Club Management


6-7 pm PST

Ben Kraemer


Register here by 07/09/2024

  • Payment for each course is due upon registration

Certificate Program Application

Have Questions? Contact Christien


Course and Class Descriptions

Introduction to Wine Business (Foundation)

This four-week course provides an overview of wine business. Students will develop an appreciation of the realities of the wine business as a business and come to understand the steps required for getting from the vineyard and into the glass of the consumer. 

LO1: Understand the components of a wine business and the viewpoints of the various stakeholders in the following areas:

  • Grape growing, including costs, values, quality considerations, supply and demand, risks and opportunities
  • Production, winemaking, maturation and packaging
  • Marketing
  • Distribution, a complex and highly regulated process
  • Domestic sales, selling wine in retail stores (off-premise), restaurants and bars (on premise), online and direct to consumer (through tasting rooms, events, and wine clubs)
LO2: Understand how going to market with wine compares and contrasts with other consumer packaged goods.
LO3: Understand the key decision points, interrelatedness, and costs that go into growing, producing, marketing, distributing and selling a wine product.
LO4: Outline how quality and value is determined at each step in the process of grape growing, production, marketing, distribution, domestic and export sales and final point of sale.
LO5: Understand the financial resources and time periods necessary to establish a wine product.


A Survey of the Key Drivers in a Wine Business (Intermediate)

Building on the concepts developed in the Introduction to Wine Business, this eight-week course expands project-based learning focused on the business of making and selling wine. The class surveys key drivers of a wine business and the necessary decisions required when a wine business goes to market, to provide a deeper understanding of the entire value chain.

The subjects of marketing, distributing and selling are expanded to include managing a primary brand as well as a portfolio of products, including options for negociant brands.

LO1: Understand business issues associated with viticulture, production, marketing, distribution and  points of sale.
LO2: Evaluate alternative approaches associated with those issues.
LO3: Calculate costs across the component areas.​
LO4: Evaluate the contribution of the component areas to the value of a wine product.​
LO5: Expand the understanding of distribution and regulatory issues to include the international wine market.​
LO6: Assess the internal environment, identifying the strengths and weaknesses in a wine business.​
LO7: Assess the external environment, identifying the opportunities and threats to a wine business.​
LO8: Evaluate a SWOT analysis and draft a plan for going to market with a new wine business product.​
LO9: Plan for and consider future wine markets and alternative channels of wine commerce.​


Direct to Consumer Marketing & eCommerce for the Wine Industry (Advanced)

This course provides an in-depth study of Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) marketing and eCommerce, including digital marketing, from a wine industry perspective.  Participants will explore opportunities and challenges associated with eCommerce and DTC wine sales, and the methodology required to promote customer discovery, engagement, acquisition and loyalty.  This course begins with a history and overview of compliance and the development of the DTC channel, the transformation of software platforms and digital technology over the past 15 years, and key components of web design and development.  It then focuses on best practices in web, mobile, email, social media and all digital marketing channels to drive wine sales, tasting room visitation, event ticket sales, and wine club member acquisition and retention.

LO1: Explain how digital marketing and eCommerce play an integral role as part of a winery's overall omni-channel retailing strategy.
LO2: Make recommendations for the design and development of an eCommerce winery website and mobile platforms that utilize best practices from outside the wine industry.​
LO3: Recommend strategies for building customer engagement, retention, and loyalty for existing customers and prospects through eCommerce and digital marketing.​
LO4: Develop a DTC digital marketing strategy and budget to integrate into a winery's overall marketing plan.​
LO5: Effectively communicate with customers through traditional and new digital channels including web, email, mobile and social media marketing.​
LO6: Evaluate and optimize the consumer's mobile experience in all aspects of eCommerce and the DTC channel.​


Wine Sales Management (3-Tier)

This 8-week online course provides an advanced education of sales and management training for suppliers and distributors in the wine and alcohol beverage industry.  This course provides sales and management training for suppliers and distributors in the wine and alcohol beverage industry. Through exploration of route-to-market strategies for alcoholic beverages, students gain client-facing sales and territory management skills. Building on this knowledge, students complete weekly webinars and submit activities with virtual coaching and feedback from the instructor.

Upon successful completion of the course students will be able to:

LO1: Identify opportunities by sales channel and account type
LO2: Understand distributor management techniques and how to employ them
LO3: Understand account-level marketing and merchandising concepts.
LO4: Tailor product sales concepts for clients/buyers.
LO5: Compose and communicate pricing calculations
LO6: Deliver professional presentation involving analytics
LO7: Identify inefficiencies and develop improved solutions.

Wine Production and Operations from a Business Perspective (Advanced)

This course provides an in-depth review of the business issues associated with wine production and operations. This level emphasizes basic concepts of operations, purchasing, logistics, and supply chain management as they apply to the wine industry. More specific topics include value analysis, total quality management, make/buy decisions, negotiation, and supplier development.

LO1: Explain the key business issues in the production and operation of a winery.
LO2: Identify supply chain management considerations for effective operations.
LO3: Describe the planning process from wine forecasting and product development through distribution.
LO4: Calculate total cost analysis and its role in supply procurement.
LO5: Assess the appropriateness of the capital equipment necessary to operate a winery.
LO6: Identify how quality is achieved in the production of wine.


Strategic Wine Marketing (Advanced)

This course presents concepts related to the marketing planning process for a wine business. It is organized around the steps involved in developing a marketing plan for a wine business. Topics to be addressed include an introduction to wine marketing concepts, market segmentation and targeting, the steps in brand creation, marketing implications of packaging decisions, integrated communication strategy, direct to consumer sales, and distribution strategy. The culminating project is the creation of a marketing and sales plan for the launch of a new wine business.

LO1: Describe important wine consumer segments.
LO2: Create a wine brand to appeal to a chosen target market.
LO3: Understand the marketing implications of package design.
LO4: Coordinate promotional elements of advertising, public relations, and special events.
LO5: Understand the complexities of wine distribution at the distributor and retail levels.
LO6: Create a distribution and sales strategy utilizing distributors and/or direct to consumer methods.
LO7: Describe key aspects of tasting room management.
LO8: Integrate wine marketing into a broader wine tourism context.
LO9: Describe the steps to importing and exporting wine.
LO10: Create a draft marketing and sales plan.


Financial Management & Strategy for Wine Businesses (Advanced)

This eight-week course provides a concise overview and analysis of the factors critical to financial success for businesses in the wine industry.  Students will learn about different corporate and financial structures and strategies; how to deal with business details, like compliance and insurance; and how to use financial planning and analysis to ensure a business’s financial survival and drive growth

LO1: Sharpen hard skill competencies, including data retrieval and analysis and the creation of a financial plan for a business in the wine industry.
LO2: Explain the distinct types of financial and business structures in the wine business.
LO3: Analyze market entry and exit timing and strategies.
LO4: Value a wine business and understand the mergers and acquisitions process.
LO5: Understand the various tax pressures and requirements that effect the wine industry

LO6: Grasp the need to remain compliant in today’s regulatory environment and the challenges associated with that.

LO7: Select an appropriate pricing strategy for products and analyze sales and marketing efforts.
LO8: Perform basic financial planning and analysis tasks for wine businesses.

   LO9: Draw on various materials provided in this course to perform the tasks their careers demand.

Registration is done in partnership with the School of Extended and International Education