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Sonoma State University Announces Academic Partnership With University of Jinan -- Quancheng Institute

June 11, 2013

ROHNERT PARK, California – June 10, 2013 – On Friday, June 14, representatives from Sonoma State University will meet with the mayor of Penglai, China, Sun Yebao, to establish an academic partnership between Sonoma State and the University of Jinan – Quancheng Institute. A special ceremony will be held for Sonoma State's president Ruben Armiñana and Mayor Yebao to sign a mutual Letter of Interest officially establishing an exploratory academic relationship between the schools.

“It will be a distinct honor for us to embark on this important collaboration,” said Ray Johnson, director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State. In 1995, Sonoma State founded the Wine Business Institute, the first program in the United States to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees focused exclusively on the business aspects of the wine industry.

Located on the northeast coast of the historic Shandong province, Penglai has been one of China’s major grape-growing regions since the 1870s. In 2011, mutual interests in viticulture, winemaking and tourism instigated an official Sister City relationship between Sonoma and Penglai. Sonoma State, located in the heart of California’s most valuable wine region, is uniquely placed to offer an exchange of experts, students, instructors and ideas with the Quancheng Institute as it develops a training program for China’s wine business.

“It is exciting to see a partnership between these two schools and wine regions. The two regions have a lot in common and exchanging students and ideas will benefit both,” said Fred Cline, owner of Cline Cellars in Sonoma, who established Cline China in Penglai with the help of Hugh Zhang, business strategist in the emerging Chinese wine industry. Together they established contacts in the region, and in 2011 launched their wine sales and marketing business, paving the way for future interactions between the regions.

The signing ceremony will take place at 9:00 a.m. on June 14 in Salazar Hall Conference Room A on the Sonoma State campus.

About Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute

Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute is located in the heart of California wine country and was created through a public-private partnership between the university and the wine industry. Founded in 1995, it is the first program in the United States to offer undergraduate and graduate degrees focused exclusively on the business aspects of the wine industry. In addition to its academic programs that include the first undergraduate and graduate degrees with a concentration in wine business, the Wine Business Institute offers an array of short courses and seminars for the industry. Its faculty members are published experts and active researchers who focus on the arena of wine business. The Wine Business Institute operates within Sonoma State's School of Business and Economics, a fully accredited AACSB institution. Learn more at

About Quancheng Institute – Jinan University

Quancheng Institute is part of Jinan University and is authorized by China’s National education department and the government of Shandong province. It is an independent college offering undergraduate degrees and specialty studies. The institute’s intent is to develop a curriculum focused on the country’s wine business.

About Cline Cellars

Cline Cellars is a family-owned and operated winery located in the Carneros district of Sonoma Valley. Established in 1982 by Fred and Nancy Cline, the winery is known for producing some of California’s most distinctive, award-winning, Rhône-style wines and Zinfandels. The winery is energy-independent, using high-capacity solar panels to generate power, and uses Green String Institute’s eco-friendly farming practices in its vineyards. Fred and Nancy Cline own and manage vineyards in the Sonoma-Carneros region, Contra Costa County and the Petaluma Gap.

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