Wine Business Institute (WBI) Inclusive Excellence Scholarships Academic Year 2023 - 2024
Current and incoming students are encouraged to apply for the current scholarship opportunities. Read the scholarship criteria carefully and apply for those where you feel the best fit and qualifications.
Students who are currently in or planning a wine industry career.
Students who will be pursuing their studies during the 23-24 academic year.
Submit a current resume.
Submit an essay of one to three paragraphs describing yourself as a deserving candidate of the award for which you are applying. If you apply for more than one award, tailor each essay accordingly.
On the essay, note your name and the month/year in which you began (will begin) your studies and the month/year in which your studies are planned to conclude.
Send both documents in one email to Ray Johnson, the Executive Director of the WBI: email@example.com. In the subject line, please note the scholarship for which you are applying.
No other application materials are necessary.
Deadline to receive applications is March 31, 2023.
Awards will be announced on May 1, 2023.
Scholarship recipients will be invited to attend lunch with the WBI Board of Directors on May 8, noon, on campus.
Kistler Inclusive Excellence Program (KIEP)
The Kistler Inclusive Excellence Program Fund (“Fund”) is intended to build diversity in the wine industry, bringing awareness and providing financial assistance to students from underrepresented populations who are pursuing or planning to pursue a career in the wine industry.
Applicants for this scholarship will demonstrate through their essay recent achievements or professional goals related to any of the following values and priorities of the School of Business and Economics:
- Diversity and Social Justice
- Sustainability and Environmental Inquiry
- Connectivity and Community Engagement
- Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Scholarships will provide $5,000 annually for up to four years ($20,000 total).
Fourth-year scholars will complete an internship with Kistler Vineyards (or other firm pertinent to the wine industry as agreed upon by SSU/Kistler).
- Students must be enrolled full time at Sonoma State University
- Applicants must have a minimum overall 3.0 GPA in their last 60 units of coursework. (GPA will be verified through Sonoma State University's Admissions and Records Office.)
- Applicants are required to submit an essay and a resume.
- Formal admission to SSU is not required to apply however all applicants must submit their online university application via Cal State Apply before applying for scholarships.
The Patrick Foley Inclusive Excellence Program
The Patrick Foley Inclusive Excellence Program is intended to build diversity in the wine industry, bringing awareness and providing financial assistance to students from underrepresented populations who are pursuing or planning to pursue a career in the wine industry.
- Scholarships will provide $15,000 annually for up to four years ($60,000 total).
- Scholars will take advantage of at least one wine industry internship experience
Students must be enrolled full-time at Sonoma State University and taking coursework in SSU’s undergraduate Wine Business Concentration, Sonoma Wine MBA, or Global Wine Executive MBA programs and demonstrate an academic focus on preparing for a career in the wine industry.
Scholars must maintain a four-year graduation track at a minimum 2.5 GPA (GPA will be verified through Sonoma State University's Admissions and Records Office.
Formal admission to SSU is not required to apply however all applicants must submit their online university application via Cal State Apply before applying for scholarships.
The Association of African American Vintners (AAAV) Wine Business Scholarship
The Association of African American Vintners (AAAV) Wine Business Scholarship serves to build diversity in the wine industry, bring awareness to present-day Black winemakers, and provide financial assistance to students from an underrepresented population pursuing a career in the wine industry.
Applicants through their essay will demonstrate professional goals in the wine industry, how they will improve diversity in the wine industry, and a desire to help others reach their goals as they advance their own careers.
The amount of the scholarship award will be $5,000 to pay for tuition.
- Must be a junior or senior or graduate student at Sonoma State University pursuing a B.S. or MBA degree in Business Administration with a concentration in wine business.
- Applicants must participate in one of the Black Student Success Initiatives at Sonoma State, such as the Black Student Union or the Male Success Initiative.
- Must possess a minimum G.P.A. of 3.0.
- Must be a member of an underrepresented population
- Must demonstrate an interest in the wine industry as a career.
The Charles Woodson & O'Neill Family Wine Scholarship Award
The scholarship aims to recruit and retain high-achieving underrepresented students interested in pursuing a career in the wine industry. The scholarship will be available to a student accepted at Sonoma State for the upcoming Fall 2022 semester.
Applicants for this scholarship will demonstrate through their essay thoughtful professional goals in the wine industry, challenges that they have faced as a member of an underrepresented population, insight into the challenges of underrepresented populations in the wine industry, and a desire to help others reach their goals as they advance in their career.
Formal admission to SSU is not required to apply. The application period begins on November 1st for the next academic year.
The scholarship will cover 100% of the tuition and room and board to support the recipient over their entire college career. O’Neill Vintners & Distillers will provide internships and mentoring to offer hands-on learning opportunities for scholarship recipients to enhance their college experience in the wine industry.
- Applicants must be a continuing student or a new degree-seeking undergraduate student who has applied for admission and is planning to attend SSU full-time.
- Applicants must participate in one of the Black Student Success Initiatives at Sonoma State, such as the Black Student Union or the Male Success Initiative. Incoming freshmen must currently be participating in similar programs at their high school.
- Applicants must have a minimum overall 2.5 GPA in his/her/their high school (if a first-time freshman) or college-level coursework (if a current college student). (GPA will be verified through Sonoma State University's Admissions and Records Office.)
- Applicants will only be considered whose demonstrated intent is to earn a B.S. degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Wine Business Strategies in the School of Business and Economics.
- Applicants are required to submit an essay and a resume.
The Napa Valley Vintners Scholarship - $7,500
The Napa Valley Vintners Scholarship was established by the Napa Valley Vintners, a California nonprofit corporation, in partnership with UNCF to provide scholarships to eligible applicants who are pursuing a degree related to the wine industry.
Eligible applicants for the Napa Valley Vintners Scholarship program must:
Be Black/African American, Latinx, Indigenous/Native American, Asian American, or Pacific Islander.
Possess a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.70 on a 4.0 scale.
Complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid ("FAFSA") form and have a demonstrated unmet financial need as verified by their college or university.
Be entering freshmen, sophomores, juniors, seniors or graduate students and enrolled full-time at any one of the following community colleges or four-year colleges/universities that have an established wine related program of study. Also, the institutions have mentorship, internship and career placement programs in place to help students succeed in their careers beyond their studies.
University of California-Davis in Davis, Napa Valley College in Napa, Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park or California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo in San Luis Obispo, California State University – Fresno, Santa Rosa Junior College or Cuesta College
Pursue a degree in viticulture, enology, business administration, marketing, sales, finance, wine related hospitality, agriculture, wine making or a related major.
In addition, applicants must submit the Napa Valley Vintners Scholarship program online application, complete with a letter of recommendation, a written one-page personal statement of their wine-related career interest, and a current transcript by the application deadline.
Selected students at the eligible four-year college/universities will receive up to $7,500 need-based Scholarship in the fall 2022. The scholarship is renewable through graduation based on availability of funds and upon meeting the eligibility criteria.
To apply or learn more about the NAPA VALLEY VINTNERS SCHOLARSHIP, please visit UNCF and NVV Scholarship.
Debbie Lewis Women in Wine Graduate Scholarship - $5,000
Applicants must be accepted or currently enrolled in the Wine MBA program.
Applicants must have a minimum overall 3.0 GPA in their last 60 units of completed coursework.
All eligible students are encouraged to apply. The Debbie Lewis Women in Wine Scholarship does not consider (give preference to or discriminate based on) sex, gender or any other protected status as part of the application and selection process.
Debbie was the eldest of four daughters. She grew up in California’s Central Valley, spending childhood summers at the family ranch, where they grew Bartlett pears and row crops. She eventually took over management of the ranch, worked as a kindergarten teacher, got into retail sales and then co-managed the oldest wine bar in San Francisco, The London Wine Bar. In the late 1970’s Debbie met Randy Lewis at a wine tasting and they eventually married. In 1992, she and Randy co-founded Lewis Cellars. Together they built a legacy and in 2016, the Lewis 2013 Napa Cabernet was named “Wine of the Year” by Wine Spectator.
Debbie was the rock of her family and provided the steady hand that built Lewis Cellars. She was involved in every aspect of vineyard management, winemaking, sales, distribution, and she spent many days on the road, building relationships all over the country. Debbie had a life-long passion for mastering the business of wine and set an inspiring example of dedication and hard work to all those around her.
The Donn P. Reisen Scholarship - $5,000
Must be enrolled or accepted for full or part-time study in the Wine MBA program.
Must have a minimum cumulative 3.0 GPA in the last 60 units of completed coursework.
Must demonstrate through their application that they embody the spirit and intention of Donn Reisen.
The Donn P. Reisen Memorial scholarship is worth up to $5,000. Donn’s widow, Marilyn Reisen set up the scholarship in partnership with ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates & Producers) for which Donn was a long-time member, to carry on his passion for the wine industry. The recipient of this scholarship needs to demonstrate the qualities that made Donn Reisen an industry leader: a passion for the industry and its products, a commitment to wine education, and the warmth and generosity that allowed him to connect with so many over his legendary career and give to the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University.