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Wine Business Institute and Vinexpo New York Partner to Expand Education Program

by Press Release
March 07, 2019

Rohnert Park, CA – The Wine Business Institute (WBI) in the School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University (SSU) today announced a new partnership with Vinexpo New York to develop cutting-edge digital content in the form of a two-part exhibitor education program for the Vinexpo New York show, which took place March 4-5, 2019. The first part of the project is a six-video series entitled Legalities and Realities of the US Wine Market that was released to registered exhibitors over a two-month period leading up to Vinexpo New York. The videos feature industry experts from California, New York, Georgia, Texas, Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, representing segments from across the wine value chain. Topics covered in the series include the state of the US wine industry, beverage alcohol sales figures, consumption trends and demographic patterns, compliance and legal implications for producers of all sizes, navigating US wine laws and the import and distribution landscape, and options for routes to market in the U.S. The online educational series will be accessible to Sonoma State University faculty and students this spring.

Part two of the education program is an onsite seminar on “Opportunities, Obstacles, and Options in the US Beverage Alcohol Market” that was delivered by Wine Business Institute faculty member and founder of Italian Wine Central, Geralyn Brostrom, who spearheaded the two-part project, and Wine Business Institute Executive Director Ray Johnson at Vinexpo New York on Sunday, March 3. Funding for the seminar and video series was provided by Vinexpo New York, jointly organized by Vinexpo and Diversified Communications, to partner in exhibitor success in this complex market.

“The U.S. wine market is the largest globally, and yet penetrating this market can prove to be a challenge because of steep competition. This video series aims to help global wine professionals stay on top of changing trends and find viable solutions to the industry’s most pressing challenges,” said Ray Johnson.

“We were seeking to provide innovative content for wine professionals exhibiting at Vinexpo New York. Tom Matthews at Wine Spectator referred us to the Wine Business Institute as a trusted partner because of its track record for being a leader in wine business education and research, and its vast network of outstanding faculty and industry experts,” said Beckie Kier, event director of Vinexpo New York at Diversified Communications.

Experts featured in the Legalities and Realities of the US Wine Market video series include Scott Ades, president at Dalla Terra Winery Direct (New York and Napa); Gabe Barkley, CEO, and John Beaudette, president at MHW Limited (New York); Danny Brager, senior vice president of Beverage Alcohol Practice at The Nielsen Company (California and Georgia); Serena Campbell, operations director at USA Wine West (San Francisco); Alfonso Cevola, wine writer at On the Wine Trail in Italy and former import director at Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits (Texas); Caroline Hermann, Master of Wine and beverage alcohol attorney (Washington, D.C.); John Hinman and Rebecca Stamey-White, attorneys and partners at Hinman & Carmichael LLP (San Francisco); Rebecca Hopkins, communications strategist at Folio Fine Wine Partners and founder and CEO at A Balanced Glass (Napa and San Francisco); Robert Kennedy, owner at RWK Imports LLC (D.C., Virginia, and Maryland); and Jay Youmans, Master of Wine and owner of Capital Wine School and Rock Creek Wine Merchants (D.C. and Maryland).

These six films expand the WBI’s digital wine business education library, which includes the recently released Business of Wine Video Series, 13 leadership interview films featuring wine icons and pioneers in California, Washington, and Oregon. The Business of Wine Video Series is available to the public here:

For more information about the partnership or our degrees and certificate programs, please visit, or contact us at (707) 664-3347 or

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