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UC Davis Wine Executive Program Offers Grape-to-Bottle Intelligence

How will you manage your wine business during the tight supply of grapes in the coming years? How do you create an effective social media plan for your brands? What are the opportunities in the wine market in China? These were just a few of the hot topics at the 12th annual UC Davis Wine Executive Program, co-hosted by the Graduate School of Management and the Department of Viticulture & Enology from March 26–29.

The four-day program sold out, attracting 70 attendees from 13 states—California, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Texas, Washington and West Virginia—and international participants from Argentina, Brazil and Canada.

Professor Emeritus Robert Smiley, director of wine industry studies at the Graduate School of Management, said the diversity of attendees created a highly interactive experience, bringing together general managers from wineries of all sizes, winemakers, marketing managers, finance and human resources professionals, chefs, restaurateurs and winery investors.

“The attendees were impressive, coming from large wineries such as Constellation, The Wine Group and Delicato as well as cult wineries like Kosta Browne, and start-up wineries, suppliers and vineyards,” Smiley said. “Our sessions on current topics included an intriguing talk on the potential in the Chinese wine market by Tom Selfridge, the former CEO of Hess and Chalone.”

Graduate School of Management faculty and guest experts led sessions on financial management of wineries and vineyards, macro trends in marketing communications, social media and public relations, strategic cost management in the wine industry, legal issues facing the domestic wine industry, and how to tap into the network of innovation.

Department of Viticulture & Enology experts gave primers on grape growing and winemaking, analysis of vineyard site evaluation and selection, seasonal management options and costs, and winery and vineyard operations of the future.

Over the past 12 years, nearly 650 wine industry professionals have attended the program, and praise the faculty, curriculum, and world-renowned wine and business expertise that only UC Davis can offer.

Chase Cambron, vice president of operations for Constellation Wines’ Clos Du Bois Winery, said the program offered “an excellent overview of the wine industry from grape to bottle. The topics were extremely relevant to today’s challenges in the wine industry. I would recommend this program to anyone desiring insight into the extremely dynamic and complex industry.”

This intensive program offers even seasoned industry veterans new perspectives on marketing, finance, winegrowing and other topics in a stimulating and collegial environment. It’s also a great opportunity to compare notes with suppliers, growers, winemakers and retailers from around the world. Bravi!”

- Jack Stuart, Benessere Vineyard