Sonoma State Picks Wine Biz Director

Ray Johnson will head innovative Wine Business Institute

by Jane Firstenfeld
Ray Johnson
Ray Johnson
Rohnert Park, Calif. -- Wine educator Ray Johnson will lead Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute, according to officials at the School of Business and Economics. Johnson, longtime assistant director of the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, headed SSU’s popular Wine Entrepreneurship course, which last year graduated 23 students.

William Silver, dean of SSU’s School of Business and Economics, lauded Johnson’s vast network of key wine industry leaders. “We look forward to building on those relationships as SSU becomes the place where the business of wine happens,” he said in a statement.

Johnson has also worked with the VESTA alliance, which offers online viticulture/enology programs to the Midwest wine industry. For TasteWine, his own company, he has taught seminars from San Francisco to New York, and he brings international experience from Australia, Europe, Canada and South Africa.

“Sonoma State’s Wine Business Institute has a tremendous track record of success. Its graduates have key taken positions in steering the wine industry in California and across the nation,” Johnson noted.

Johnson and SSU professor Liz Thach currently are working on a new book to be titled Wine Commerce: How Wine Is Distributed and Sold Around the World, which will serve as the text for a class in the institute’s new online certification program.

Members of the industry and the public are invited to meet Johnson Oct. 2 at a wine and cheese tasting from 4 until 6 p.m. for SSU alumni, parents and friends. The event is organized by the SSU Alumni Association and the Wine Business Institute Alumni Council. Proceeds from a silent auction will benefit the institute. For tickets, please visit Events at ssualumni.org.
Posted on 08.27.2010 - 14:12:39 PST
Congratulations Ray. You will be a great addition to SSU.

Bill Traverso
Wine Consultant
Santa Rosa, CA USA

Posted on 08.26.2010 - 15:24:11 PST
You have picked a wonderful person to head up your Wine Biz. Ray is a great guy with lots of enthusiasum and works well with everyone I know. Good luck Ray.-------Charles F. Mara
Pound Ridge, NY USA