Wine Executive Program 2012
Growing Skills from The Ground Up

How will you manage your business during the tight supply of grapes in the coming years? How do you create an effective social media plan? Is there a real wine market in China?  Participants discussed these questions (and many more) during the 12th Annual UC Davis Wine Executive Program, presented by the UC Davis Graduate School of Management and Department of Viticulture.From March 25th – 29th, we welcomed a sold out audience of 70 participants from California, Oregon, Washington, Missouri, West Virginia and New York; international participants traveled from Argentina, Hong Kong and Canada.

“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 , Winemaker & General Manager, Benessere Vineyards

The program, a comprehensive overview of all aspects relating to wine industry, attracted a broad range of practitioners including: general managers from wineries of all sizes, winemakers, marketing managers, finance and HR professionals, chefs, restaurateurs and winery investors. This year’s attendees were a highly interactive group who benefitted from the connections they made, and the opportunity to pursue those interactions after the session ended.

Wine Making and The Vineyard of the Future

Experts from the Department of Viticulture and Enology presented attendees with a thorough overview of the ABC’s of wine making, including technical topics such as:

  • The fundamentals of grape growing and winemaking
  • An analysis of vineyard site evaluation and selection
  • Long-term vineyard establishment decisions
  • Seasonal management options and costs
  • Practical solutions/options for managing quality and costs
  • Vineyard operations of the future

Attendees took a tour of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, our new (and first ever!) LEED Platinum Winery, brewery and food-processing facility, which opened in January 2011.

The Wine Executive Program was an excellent overview of the wine industry from Grape to Bottle.   The presenters were top notch and engaging.  The topics were extremely relevant to today’s challenges in the wine industry and I would recommend this program to anyone desiring insight into the extremely dynamic and complex industry”

- Chase Cambron, VP Operations, Constellation Wines U.S., Clos Du Bois Winery

The Business Side

Business experts provided a global perspective of the wine industry. Business and management topics included:

  • Financial management of wineries and vineyards, and strategic cost management in the wine industry
  • Creating your marketing plan 2.0
  • How to sell an innovative idea
  • What’s Your Story?  Creating a wine brand that stands out
  • Legal issues facing the domestic wine and vineyard industries
  • How to tap into the network of innovation
  • Opportunities for the wine industry in China

“I was pleased to be selected to attend this program and found the experience very rewarding.  As a Human Resources Manager it gave me a detailed look into the different components that make up the winery.  I also met many talented colleagues and feel the networking was beneficial.  I recommend this program to anyone who wants to grow in this industry.”  

- Lisa Sommers, SPHR  Human Resources Manager  Cakebread Cellars

Instructors presented opportunities to turn theory into practice with a series of hands-on exercises. Participants were given the ability to understand the art and science of selling innovative ideas through interactive role-play around negotiating and influencing others to accept your ideas. We also delved into developing brands that stand out and macro trends in marketing communications, social media and public relations, ending with an exercise for participants to create or update their current marketing plans.

“The 2012 Wine Executive Program was an amazing experience for me.  The slate of courses was well balanced between marketing, wine making, & accounting for wine.  The presenters were some of the best in their field & many of the attendees could have taught classes as well.  I learned a lot during the classes & sometimes more during dinner or over drinks after dinner.  It was an excellent opportunity to meet a diverse group of people in the industry & trade experiences with them.  I highly recommend the course.”   

- Phillip Anderson,  General Manager  Cap★Rock Winery


Connections That Last

The highlights of the week were the many social activities enabling the group to make deeper connections with each other. We hosted a dinner at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science, and held a wine tasting where participants had the opportunity to share wine from their own wineries and collections. The variety and excellence of these wines was a real treat for everyone in attendance.

The connections have continued after this year’s very successful program and we look forward to seeing everyone at upcoming events being planned for this fall. For more information about the program schedule and details on the speakers and sessions, please visit the WEP Curriculum page.

Thanks to everyone in the vibrant group who participated this year! We look forward to staying connected with all our new friends.

In Retrospect: Participants’ Praise

“The program allowed me to learn different facets of the business at a high level.  The UC Davis staff did an incredible job with the accommodations, presentation of materials and the caliber of the instructors. The benefit of the four days of instruction allowed me personally to understand how the other areas of the business function and what to focus on within those different functions.  Another benefit of attending the program was the realization of how big the wine industry is and how diverse it is. As for the social / network aspect, I had the opportunity to meet 70 other people in the business from different countries and different departments as well as a wide spectrum of the size of wineries and price point of the wine they sell. This allowed for side conversations in a social environment that allowed all of us to compare and discuss the struggles and opportunities we all have within our own wineries.”

- Chris Reed, Director of Finished Cased Goods, Delicato Family Vineyards


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