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Chris Oggenfuss, Catherine Seda and Jürg Oggenfuss Launch Napa Valley Wine Academy

Posted on January 14, 2013

Napa Valley residents Chris Oggenfuss, director of marketing at CADE Estate, PlumpJack Estate, and Odette Estate wineries; Catherine Seda, account executive at Balzac Communications & Marketing; and Jürg Oggenfuss, wine coordinator and educator at Joseph Phelps Winery will officially launch the Napa Valley Wine Academy this week.

The Academy brings students out of the standard classroom and into winery and food centers that place them closer to the subject matter at hand. Instructors at the academy are industry professionals who bring an energetic new take on wine and spirit education, using hands-on activities to inspire wine enthusiasts, and interactive learning techniques to help students studying for wine certification classes.

“The Napa Valley Wine Academy stems from our belief that there is no better place to learn about wine than in the heart of Napa Valley, America’s pre-eminent wine region,” said Chris Oggenfuss, founder and Chief Educational Officer. “Combine this belief with our instructors, who not only teach, but live and breathe the subject matter of wine, and you have a recipe for student success.”

Christian Oggenfuss (right), AIWS WSET-Certified, is a second-year Master of Wine student with the Institute of Masters of Wine in London and holds the Level 4 Diploma from the London-based Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET). Christian brings 20 years of wine experience to wine education as a marketer and brand builder for premium wine brands. He has also successfully launched wine related businesses in Switzerland and travelled extensively to all major wine regions in Europe and North America.

Catherine Seda, AIWS, is a lead educator and partner in the business. Seda holds the Level 4 Diploma in Wine & Spirits from the WSET, is an international wine accounts manager at Balzac Communications in Napa, sits on the St. Helena Star and Napa Vintners Tasting Panel, and writes monthly wine columns for local and international publications. Prior to working at Balzac, Seda worked with Karen MacNeil & Co., co-writing an edition of Karen MacNeil’s Wine Lovers Calendar, and before that, she spent several years at Cain Vineyard and Winery.

Jürg Oggenfuss, WMD, CWS, lead educator and partner, attended the Wädenswil School of Oenology, graduating with the “gold” Wine Merchant Diploma. After a successful wine retail career, Oggenfuss works at Joseph Phelps Vineyards as a distinguished Wine Educator and Education Coordinator as well as host for VIPs. He holds the Level 3 certificate with Distinction from the WSET, and is fluent in Schwiizerdütsch (Swiss-German), German, French, Italian, Spanish and English.

Exciting Classes
A range of classes and wine certification courses are being offered by the Napa Valley Wine Academy:

Basics and Beyond the Basics
The 2-3 hour basics classes are ideal for wine country visitors, those just entering the wine business, and general enthusiasts. Classes include "Prelude to a Sip : So What Am I Smelling and Tasting?" and "It’s a Bubbly World – Sparkling Wines from around the world." There are also a series of Beyond the Basics classes such as "Wine Finds: Lesser Known Wine Treasures from Around the World."

WSET Wine Certification Courses
Take your career to the next level. The Napa Valley Wine Academy is an approved provider of the internationally recognized Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) certification courses, Levels 1 through 3.

Certain classes will be offered in Spanish and German.

For more information, visit

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