Wine Program Gets Boost from Noted Magazine

ROHNERT PARK, Calif. — The Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation, the charitable arm of Wine Spectator magazine, is making a substantial investment in the future of viticulture with a $3 million gift to Sonoma State University. The funds will be dedicated to the construction of the university’s new Wine Business Institute facility, the Wine Spectator Learning Center.

According to the university, the 15,000-square-foot Wine Spectator Learning Center will accommodate upwards of 300 students and feature three core classrooms, a commons area for supporting collaboration and student-driven business ventures, and an industry center for both professional and academic uses. It will also include seminar space, event space, an entrepreneurship laboratory, a wine business research library and an outdoor study terrace. More importantly, the center will provide the physical and technical infrastructure to support innovative and relevant curricula to develop wine industry leadership around the world.

"Sonoma State University has taken a leadership position in wine business education, a specialized but important field that deserves support,” said Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator, in a release. "The potential benefits to the wine industry are enormous. We are pleased to be able to help the University and their students achieve their goals."

Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute is located in the heart of the state’s wine country, and was created through a public-private partnership between the university and the wine industry. It was founded in 1996 and was the first wine program in the nation to offer wine industry-specific degrees and certificates. In 2013 alone more than 600 students graduated from the institute and its online program.

Over the last 30 years the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation has raised more than $20 million to support such wine and food education and scholarship programs. Previous beneficiaries have included students at the University of California, Davis, Department of Viticulture & Ecology; the Culinary Institute of America; Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration; and Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management.

"Wine Spectator is the premier media brand in education for the wine industry and Sonoma State University is a global leader in wine business education and research. This is a great pairing of two world class education partners," said Sonoma State President Ruben Armiñana, in a statement.
Though no specific construction schedule has been announced, work on the new facility is expected to begin in late 2015, ending in mid 2016.