Subscribe

Sonoma State University plans to offer 4-year wine business degrees that start at Santa Rosa Junior College

The "Follow This Story" feature will notify you when any articles related to this story are posted.

When you follow a story, the next time a related article is published — it could be days, weeks or months — you'll receive an email informing you of the update.

If you no longer want to follow a story, click the "Unfollow" link on that story. There's also an "Unfollow" link in every email notification we send you.

This tool is available only to subscribers; please make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Please note: This feature is available only to subscribers; make sure you're logged in if you want to follow a story.

Subscribe

SRJC-SSU wine degree path

The bachelor’s degree program will include 120 units after students finish all general education courses and required business courses.

Required courses at Santa Rosa Junior College

  • WINE 3: Introduction to Enology, 4 units
  • WINE 42.1 or 42.2 Winery Operations, 2 units
  • VIT 120: Vineyard Pruning, .5 unit (Shone Farm)
  • VIT 123: Vineyard Grafting & Budding, .5 unit (Shone Farm)
  • WINE 70: Beginning Sensory Analysis, 1.5 units
  • General education chemistry course with a lab, 3-5 units

Required courses at Sonoma State University

  • BUS 305W: Introduction to Wine Business, 4 units
  • BUS 464W: Wine Production, Operations, and Distribution, 4 units
  • BUS 465W: Wine Marketing, 4 units
  • At least one of the following electives:
    • BUS 362: Services Marketing, 4 units
    • BUS 365: Introduction to Hospitality and Event Management, 4 units
    • BUS 366: Retail Management, 4 units
    • BUS 385W: Special Topics in Wine, 3-4 units
    • BUS 396W: Global Wine Industry, 3 units
    • BUS 397W: The Global Marketplace for Wine, 4 units
    • BUS 399W: Advanced Work Experience in Wine Business Strategies, 3-4 units
    • BUS 463: Sales Management and Personal Selling, 4 units
    • BUS 467W: Wine E-Commerce and Direct Sales, 4 units
    • BUS 475W: Wine Accounting and Finance, 4 units

Information about SSU’s wine business curricula is available online or contact Dr. Liz Thach at SSU (liz.thach@sonoma.edu). For information about SRJC’s wine studies program, contact Dr. Kevin Sea (ksea@santarosa.edu).

Citing employer and student demand, two North Coast institutions of higher learning plan to launch a program allowing community college wine studies students to earn bachelor’s degrees at the university, focusing on wine production and management.

The program, which has been in development for two years, will start next fall, according to program developers. The two-part educational pathway enables Santa Rosa Junior College enology and viticulture students to transition to Sonoma State University, while also expanding SSU’s wine business program to include a wine production track.

With this program, students can complete general elective and wine production coursework at SRJC to earn associate degrees then transfer to SSU to complete upper-division classes in business and wine management, operations, distribution, and marketing required for the bachelor’s degree — all within four years.

The plan combines 60 credits earned at SRJC and 60 credits at SSU. It covers both specific wine coursework, electives and other college requirements, including a one semester internship, without having to add a fifth year.

“This cooperative program is what students and employers want,” said Kevin Sea, Ph.D., SRJC wine studies program coordinator. “It establishes the educational roadmap and curriculum expansion students are looking for as well as a way to offer graduates a comprehensive knowledge of business aspects and production techniques used in the wine industry today.”

Sea said this partnership is designed to also allow SSU students pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration with a concentration in wine business strategies to enroll in SRJC enology and viticulture courses to fulfill requirements for the new wine production track — while simultaneously earning credits at both campuses.

In an announcement released by SSU on Wednesday, Kim Stare Wallace, president of Dry Creek Vineyard in Healdsburg, said, “This SRJC/SSU joint program is the perfect foundation for students interested in the wine industry. I look forward to having a whole new pool of qualified candidates for a wide variety of positions.”

Liz Thach, Ph.D., MW, SSU distinguished professor of wine and professor of management, is the co-founder of the joint program.

“We received overwhelming wine community support when developing this bachelor’s degree transition program,” Thach said. “A number of students have requested more wine production-related coursework, and several of our business alumni have transitioned into winemaking or wine-production roles.”

She said SSU’s wine business strategies program graduates an average of 30 students per year and typically has 60 full-time wine business majors, split evenly between junior and senior classes. Courses are conducted using a hybrid approach combining traditional on-campus instruction, field viticulture classes at SRJC’s Shone Farm, and online instruction.

“We have had lots of success in placing graduates across the spectrum of career possibilities that include wine distribution, direct-to-consumer positions, customer service and sales promotions, marketing, international business and positions with wine suppliers. This new partnership will enable students to gain an even more comprehensive understanding of operations, winemaking and production techniques,” Thach said.

Alumni have started their careers in a wine tasting room, wine club or in various social media positions and have moved to vineyard and/or cellar management, e-commerce assignments, outside sales and brand management employment. Others have come to SSU from the wine industry seeking a wine business degree. She said 80 percent of SSU’s wine program students work part time.

Thach was also the chief architect of SSU’s wine management MBA program that started in 2005, the first and still the only wine MBA offered in the U.S. An average of 20 post-graduate students participate annually. Several of these students are sponsored by wine companies in the region.

“As the top-ranking California State University campus for its two-year transfer graduation rate, we are dedicated to supporting community college students seeking to earn their four-year degree while continuing to advance SSU students through innovative programs,” said SSU President Judy Sakaki.

The SSU Wine Business Institute in the School of Business and Economics is the first in the U.S. to offer an undergraduate degree (since 1998), an MBA (since 2008) and an Executive MBA (since 2012) focused on the business of wine.

SRJC-SSU wine degree path

The bachelor’s degree program will include 120 units after students finish all general education courses and required business courses.

Required courses at Santa Rosa Junior College

  • WINE 3: Introduction to Enology, 4 units
  • WINE 42.1 or 42.2 Winery Operations, 2 units
  • VIT 120: Vineyard Pruning, .5 unit (Shone Farm)
  • VIT 123: Vineyard Grafting & Budding, .5 unit (Shone Farm)
  • WINE 70: Beginning Sensory Analysis, 1.5 units
  • General education chemistry course with a lab, 3-5 units

Required courses at Sonoma State University

  • BUS 305W: Introduction to Wine Business, 4 units
  • BUS 464W: Wine Production, Operations, and Distribution, 4 units
  • BUS 465W: Wine Marketing, 4 units
  • At least one of the following electives:
    • BUS 362: Services Marketing, 4 units
    • BUS 365: Introduction to Hospitality and Event Management, 4 units
    • BUS 366: Retail Management, 4 units
    • BUS 385W: Special Topics in Wine, 3-4 units
    • BUS 396W: Global Wine Industry, 3 units
    • BUS 397W: The Global Marketplace for Wine, 4 units
    • BUS 399W: Advanced Work Experience in Wine Business Strategies, 3-4 units
    • BUS 463: Sales Management and Personal Selling, 4 units
    • BUS 467W: Wine E-Commerce and Direct Sales, 4 units
    • BUS 475W: Wine Accounting and Finance, 4 units

Information about SSU’s wine business curricula is available online or contact Dr. Liz Thach at SSU (liz.thach@sonoma.edu). For information about SRJC’s wine studies program, contact Dr. Kevin Sea (ksea@santarosa.edu).

Show Comment

Our Network

Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Sonoma Index-Tribune
Petaluma Argus Courier
Sonoma Magazine
Bite Club Eats
La Prensa Sonoma
Emerald Report
Spirited Magazine