The School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University plans a May 29 grand opening and ribbon-cutting for the Wine Spectator Learning Center.

Officials said the center will become the new headquarters of the Wine Business Institute, a partnership between the School of Business and Economics at SSU and the global wine industry.

The year-long construction and expansion project in Rohnert Park transformed the existing University Commons building into a state-of-the-art learning center that includes three classrooms, student commons, café and garden areas, and collaborative spaces for faculty and business leaders. The instiute said the project was underwritten by a combination of private and naming gifts totaling $11 million.

The origins of Wine Business Institute date to an early 1990s conversation then University President Ruben Armiñana said he had with Agustin Huneeus, whose Napa-based Huneuus Vintners earlier this year sold The Prisoner portfolio of wines to Constellation Brands for $285 million. They talked about the need for greater professional acumen in the industry.

Construction of the project began on June 1, 2016. The May 29 event represents the first official wine community activity held by the WBI in the Wine Spectator Learning Center.

Leaders at the university, including university president Judy K. Sakaki, and in private industry praised the completion of the 15,000 square foot center.

“This innovative new learning center represents two decades of collaboration among public and private individuals and organizations who share our vision to be the global leader in wine business education and research,” Karen Thompson, interim dean of the School of Business and Economics, stated in the announcement.

“This is not only the grand opening of a customized learning environment, it also creates a home for us to execute on our mission to be the educational nucleus of the global wine industry,” Ray Johnson, executive director of Wine Business Institute, stated.

“All of us at Wine Spectator are proud to be part of the success of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University and the grand opening of the Wine Spectator Learning Center,” stated Marvin Shanken, chairman of M. Shanken Communications, Inc., publisher of Wine Spectator magazine.

Members of the public interested in attending the event may RSVP here.