The School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University will offer an executive wine MBA at the Upper Valley campus of Napa Valley College in St. Helena starting next April.

Courses will take place at the St. Helena campus of Napa Valley College on alternating weekends over a 17-month period.

They’re hosting an information session on Saturday, Oct. 24, at 11:30 a.m. at the St. Helena campus.

Get information at sonoma.edu/mba.

WSET quantifies wine education

The session that got the most attention at the recent Wine Industry Financial Symposium was the one on the impact of marijuana, but many other speakers shared interesting information, too.

Ian Harris, chief executive of Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET), talked about the world market, but in private, he talked about WSET’s role in educating sommeliers, wine buyers and other wine professionals.

The U.S. is the largest wine market in the world, and Harris said that professional-level knowledge of wine has more than matched its growth.

The U.S. recorded a 26 percent increase in the number of candidates who took an exam for WSET qualifications in the past year.

California was up 28 percent with 1,758 candidates, 26 percent of the U.S. total of 6,779. Napa has a disproportionate 750 of that total.

The U.S. has passed China (6,598 candidates) in total enrollment in WSET programs, and is second only to the United Kingdom with 15,135 candidates.

Napa has two organizations offering WSET training (Napa Valley Wine Academy and Grape Experience), though both also offer their classes elsewhere, too.

There are four levels in the WSET program and many people complete them on their way to taking the tests to become Master Sommeliers or Masters of Wine. The latter is more for educators, the former for, well, sommeliers, and both are demanding. There are only 340 Master of Wines and 230 Master Sommeliers.

Kuleto sells vineyard property

Wine Industry Insights reports that restaurateur and vintner Pat Kuleto has sold his 600-acre Sage Canyon Ranch vineyard for $8.25 million. That’s only $13,750 per acre, an incredible bargain in Napa County. Even the $55,000 per planted acre of vineyard is very low.

Kuleto previously sold 70 percent of Kuleto Estate to Bill Foley, owner of Foley Wine Estates. This earlier sale included the brand and the winery and a parcel with about 22 acres of vines. Kuleto kept the remainder of the property with 150 planted acres then.

Castello buys Russian River vineyard

Castello di Amorosa winery in Calistoga has bought a 12-acre pinot noir vineyard on Pillow Road in the Green Valley appellation of the Russian River Valley in Sonoma County.

Castello di Amorosa also owns 33 acres of pinot noir in vineyards in Anderson Valley, Sonoma Coast and Los Carneros.

Good deeds from wine companies

Wine companies and their owners are famously generous, donating oceans of wine for charitable events, and, of course, the Napa Valley Vintners gives millions to local good causes while the Napa Valley Grapegrowers focus on improving the prospects and lives of farmworkers and their families.

In addition, a number of other donations from local wine companies have surfaced recently.

Baggetts give $200,000 to Wine Business Institute

Robin and Michelle Baggett, owners of Alpha Omega Winery in Napa and Tolosa Winery in San Luis Obispo, have donated $200,000 for a new learning center conference room in the Wine Spectator Learning Center, future site of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University.

Sutter Home brightens holidays

The Trinchero family’s Sutter Home winery is bringing American troops home to their own family tables this holiday season. Through its Sutter Home for the Holidays initiative, the winery and Veterans Business Outreach Center unite active duty military personnel with their families for the holidays.

Sutter Home fights breast cancer

Sutter Home also has launched its “Selfies for Hope” campaign as part of its ongoing Sutter Home for Hope initiative for the National Breast Cancer Foundation.

The winery has given close to $1 million over the past 15 years to help support breast cancer research, treatment and education programs.

For every Sutter Home fan who posts a “selfie” with a bottle of Sutter Home wine using the hashtag #sutterhomeforhope, the winery will donate $1 to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, up to $50,000.

Lake County Valley Fire donations

Napa Valley Vintners will donate up to $250,000 to UpValley Family Centers for those who work or go to school in Napa County.

A fundraiser at Alpha Omega winery with Darioush, St. Supéry and the Napa Valley Film Festival raised $100,000.

Constellation Brands doubled its employees’ charitable contributions resulting in a $100,000 donation to the American Red Cross.

Vintner Andy Beckstoffer has donated $50,000 to the LakeCountyRising fund.

Larkmead Vineyards will match up to $20,000 and has already received $12,400.

Dario Sattui of V. Sattui Winery and Castello di Amorosa has also donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross, as did Honig Vineyards.

Honig Vineyard & Winery will donate tasting fees during October to charities selected by their tasting room employees.

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