Wine Marketing Education With the Masters

OIVWINEMARKETINGThough I can’t say for sure, I’d bet that wine tasting room workers constitute the greatest number of “marketers” in any wine region in the country. I’d further hazard to guess that a good number of wine tasting room personnel have a desire to rise from the tasting room to a position that allows them to work in a more hard-core marketing environment in the wine industry. What is absolutely necessary to make this climb up the latter is education. These ambitious folks will be happy to know there is a great source of wine marketing education.


Now in place for more than 20 years, this marketing focused industry education program brings together a collection of industry professionals to teach a series of courses ranging in subject matter from The History of Wine in California, Philosophies of Regulation and Green Wines—The Organic and Sustainable Market to Basic Wine Accounting, Package Design, Managing a Portfolio of Brands and The Care and Feeding of the Press.

The two-week program costs $2,000 and the next two-week program begins in at U.C. Davis on July 15th.

Consider the various professionals who teach various courses in this program. Look these folks up on the net and you’ll get a sense of just how impressive the exposure you will receive to wine industry experience is in this program:

Christian Miller
Jim Lapsley
David Stevens
Richard Mendelson
Jim Seff
Mark Chandler
Richard Boone
Paul Wagner
Cary Gott
Glen Proctor
Michael Osborne
Lisa Ehrlich
Tim McDonald
Dan Berger
Jim Cahill
Paul Mabray
Steve Somers
Wilfred Wong
Craig Root
Traci Dutton
Tim Hanni

When I entered the Wine PR biz in 1990 I had absolutely no formal education in wine marketing. Zero. I sought out seminars and industry events that spoke to the practice where I could find them but they were few and far between. For anyone currently in a wine tasting room or a junior marketing position in the wine business or in marketing in another industry that wants to make the transition to the wine industry, the OIV Wine Marketing Short Course would be a godsend.


3 Responses

  1. Holly Evans-White (@LeCellarCat) - May 22, 2013

    I’ve worked in wineries, mostly in tasting rooms, for over 20 years now and have never met a t-room person looking to do anything bigger and better than work in the t-room (unless it is become t-room manager to get a raise, which isn’t always the result, alas). There are always a few cellar rats looking to stay paid during the off-season with greater wine-making ambitions.

    The latest new creature to appear looking for t-room work is – shock! – wine writers! I currently keep professional company with two of them, bumped in to another at Opus the other day, lost another to Karen MacNeil (lucky Karen). Tasting room work seems to be a waiting room with pay for those new to the biz (to agree a bit with you on that point).

    Perhaps, Tom, you’d like to come work for me? Roll up your sleeves, schlep a little fancy-juice from behind the bar, give a few thousand tours. You never know, you might get hooked. It’s mostly fun and there is that perk, you know the one; involves access to often impossible to get wines for the right price 🙂

    Just a thought.

  2. Bill McIver - May 22, 2013

    Great to still see guys from my era in the business like Lapley, Seff, Berger, Somers, Wong still involved. You gotta love it!!

  3. Mike - May 23, 2013

    100% agree with Holly. The tasting room friends/employees I have met are often there for one reason – they need a job, and it’s a relatively easy/fun one to have. In many cases, the tasting room staff is so removed from actually caring about the bigger picture of the winery’s mission and goals because there’s a big disconnect between the two areas of the business. The owners are making saffron-dyed Easter eggs, while the tasting room employees are just trying to eat. This isn’t always the case, and I can think of other examples that work very well to motivate the people on the front-lines. The biggest hurdle seems to be the lack of communication and culture that is transmitted through the entire winery. I think that contributes to the general lack of attrition…

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