Is a wine tasting class the same as a wine education course? At SDSU, our wine classes combine wine tasting and wine education. The wine certification program is a combination of lecture, reading, and tasting – a holistic approach to wine. If you're considering taking sommelier classes, our Professional Certificate in the Business of Wine program prepares you for the Sommelier certification exam and helps you train for success in wine-related occupations. Learn about the wine business in a series of informative and engaging wine education classes.

Estimated Cost Estimated Cost
$2,541
Textbooks not included
Completion Time Min. Completion Time
1 Year
Course Format Course Format
In Person

The Professional Certificate in the Business of Wine is designed to prepare participants for success in wine-related occupations. Through engaging discussion and directed tastings, The Business of Wine classes let you experience the world of wine twofold: wine education and wine business education. Building your wine knowledge gives you a competitive edge in your career. Must be 21 years of age to take these courses.

 

Core Courses (complete all 4) Hours Cost Day 20SP
WI 0001 Exploring Wine (recommended as the first course in the series) 24 $499 M 1/27-3/16
WI 0007 Wine Making Behind the Scenes 9 $279  Sa  
WI 0019 Business Opportunities in the Wine Industry 15 $349    
WI 0023 Dynamic Wine and Food Pairing 6 $309  Sa 4/18-4/25
Elective Courses (complete 2) Hours Cost Day 20SP
WI 0021 Wine List Creation 9 $279    
WI 0022 The Character of Wine 9 $279    
WI 0030 Wine Flaws and Faults 6 $309    
WI 0032 Sensory Evaluation 9 $279 M 4/6, 4/13, 4/20
WI 0034 Importing and Distribution 15 $339  Th  
WI 0040 Vineyard Management 15 $339    
WI 0041 Marketing Wine ONLINE 15 $339    
CB 0012 Beer and Wine: Service and Selling 9 $279 W  
Intensive Courses (complete 3) Hours Cost Day 20SP
WI 0017 Intensive: California Wines 12 $339    
WI 0020 Intensive: French Wines 12 $339  Th 3/12, 3/19, 3/26
WI 0024 Intensive: Italian Wines 9 $279  Tu 4/28, 5/5, 5/28
WI 0026 Intensive: Spanish Wines 9 $279  W  
WI 0028 Intensive: Dessert Wines 9 $279    
 WI 0029 Intensive: South American Wines 9 $279  Th 5/14, 5/21, 5/28
WI 0031 Intensive: Australian Wines 9 $279  Th  
WI 0035 Intensive: Sparkling Wines 9 $279    
WI 0033 Intensive: Austrian/German Wines 12 $339  Th 4/16, 4/23, 4/30
WI 0038 Intensive: Organic and Biodynamic Wines 9 $279    

*Dates and prices subject to change.

 

Labor Analysis
Wine Industry — Nationwide

Job Postings
Job Postings
Last 12 months
2,433

Projected Growth
Projected Growth
Over 10 years
+6%

Salary Range
Salary Range
Average
$64,000-$87,000

 

Enrolling in the Program
Enroll in the program at any time, even before registering for a course. It’s free, and offers many benefits:

  • Secure your curriculum (should the requirements change in the future).
  • See upcoming courses when you log into your student account.
  • Track your progress.

Enrolling in a program doesn’t mean you’re registered for courses. You still must register and pay for each course you wish to take.

 

These comprehensive wine education classes are geared for professionals and entrepreneurs in the wine, food, and hospitality fields who want to quickly expand their knowledge of wine topics. The wine certification is directed to: restaurant owners and staff, winery employees, event planners, distribution and retail sales employees, wine bar owners and staff, anyone interested in moving into wine or hospitality careers, and wine enthusiasts who desire a professional level education. The courses in the wine certification program will also prepare you for the Introductory Sommelier certificate exam. Graduates of the wine certification program include owners of local wine bars and bottle shops, wine import/export business owners, buyers for upscale grocery stores, and vintners at local wine vineyards.

For additional information please email wine.ces@sdsu.edu or call (619) 594-3946.

Core Courses

2019 Summer2019 Fall2020 Spring
2020 Spring
WI 0001 Exploring Wine
This course takes students on a journey around the world of wine. Topics covered include: history, grape varietals, viticulture, language and labeling, tastings; as well as an introduction to food and wine pairing, wine service and temperatures, and the wine-making process. This is an overview of the role and influence of wine in history and today's culture, a foundation for further wine education.
Course Date(s)
January 27 - March 16
$499
Instructors
Lisa Redwine
WI 0007 Wine Making Behind the Scenes
This course will give true insight into the way wine is made by visiting a local winery. Learn the "from grape to table" philosophy as well as manufacturing, and operations of the wine business. Basic knowledge of state regulations will be examined as well as discussion focusing on how climate, soil, and perception relate to profit.
Course Date(s)

Register
WI 0019 Business Opportunities in the Wine Industry
This course presents an overview of the many possibilities in this exciting industry through exploring current wine market trends and an analysis of issues involved in wine business start-ups and potential strategies for success. Production, importing, distribution, and retail segments will be examined through a specific case study approach. Pricing, positioning, marketing, and operations components will be analyzed as they relate to the wine business model. You will learn how to develop a business plan specific to the wine industry. Guest speakers will share their real life experiences and perspectives.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Keri Busino
2020 Spring
WI 0023 Dynamic Wine and Food Pairing
In this two-day course, you will taste your way through wines from around the world, exploring red, white, sparkling, and dessert varietals. You will taste and describe the wines separate from the food. Then the fun begins, adding samples of various foods and re-tasting the wines! Our goal is to teach students how to identify what works, what doesn't, and why.
Course Date(s)
April 18 - April 25

Elective Courses

2019 Summer2019 Fall2020 Spring
WI 0021 Wine List Creation
Learn how to create an elegant, diverse, and cost effective wine list. Topics include: how to determine and achieve a profitable wine cost percentage; the language of buying wine; how allocated wine can help and hinder your program; proper wine markups; inventory controls; how to converse with wine vendors, importers and suppliers; and writing a list that is appealing to the guest and fulfills the needs of the beverage manager.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Pam Schwartz
WI 0022 The Character of Wine
Character can be defined as a wine with top-notch distinguishing qualities. Learn what is involved in creating the character of red, white, or blush wines. In this class, you will learn the basic mechanics of wine making, concerns winemakers face, and decisions they make during the process. This course will review in detail the differences involved in making quality wine varietals.
Course Date(s)

Register
WI 0030 Wine Flaws and Faults
This course will provide you with the insight needed to identify, and accurately describe various wine flaws and faults. You will learn the basic mechanics of wine making and the results of wine making when carelessness and elements beyond the control of the winemaker produces an "off character" in wine, such as volatile acidity, TCA, and Brettanomyces. This course is ideal for restaurant managers, wait staff, winery employees, bartenders, and anyone interested in wine careers.
Course Date(s)

Register
2020 Spring
WI 0032 Sensory Evaluation
Learn how to taste wine like a professional. This course will teach you how to objectively evaluate a wine by sight, smell and taste. You will learn the building blocks of blind tasting, or how to use sensory information to help determine the quality, origin, age, and varietal composition of a wine. The definitions for common tasting jargon will be provided so that you can effectively join the conversation.
Course Date(s)
April 6 - April 20
WI 0034 Importing and Distribution
Importing and distributing wines in the U.S. involves more than traveling to beautiful regions for tastings. Building a successful business requires a comprehensive understanding of warehousing, budgeting, time management, marketing, branding, packaging, pricing, licensing, regulations, shipping, and working with wholesalers and retailers. This class presents resources and real-world advice on how to create a strong business model and build a portfolio to stand out in a crowded field. Each session features a guided wine tasting to illustrate styles and packaging reflective of today’s trends and market conditions.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Deborah M Gray
WI 0040 Vineyard Management
This course for the wine enthusiast covers the basics of viticulture and its importance to quality winemaking. Topics include viticulture history (global and local); vineyard considerations and management; exploration of wine grape varieties and clones; considerations of soils, climate, terroir and sunlight; and the final processing of the grapes as they become wine. The course concludes with a hands-on visit to a working vineyard/winery in Temecula, which includes a tasting, showcasing wine grapes at their finest.

“Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”
~ Galileo
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Luke Bramon
2020 Spring
WI 0041 Marketing Wine
In the fast-paced world of media and marketing, wineries must be current on the latest trends and adept at time-tested strategies for success. Following an overview of the intrinsic elements of marketing -- research, targeting, positioning, and branding -- we'll explore the major tenets of wine marketing including locating and working with distributors, portfolio placement, promotions/incentives, and pricing structures. We'll also look at how to build your customer base on-premise, off-premise, and direct-to-consumer using traditional -- public relations, websites, blogs, and emails -- as well as unique forms of marketing.
Course Date(s)
February 11 - March 10
$339
Instructors
Laurie Delk
CB 0012 Beer and Wine: Service and Selling
Students will learn all aspects of selling both beer and wine in a restaurant. They will learn how to promote each to not only increase beverage sales but give the customer a greater experience which will lead to more positive reviews, and greater revenue for the restaurant as a whole. Students will learn how to cross-sell as well as upsell while enhancing the customer experience. They will also be provided with tools to learn beyond the course and further their knowledge for personal and/or professional gain in the craft beer and wine industries, while networking with like-minded individuals.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Ben Probe

Courses

2019 Summer2019 Fall2020 Spring
WI 0017 Intensive: California Wines
California has attained a prominent place on the international wine stage and has many interpretations of classic varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and a California original, Zinfandel. Through tasting of California produced wines and discussion, you will focus on the history, traditions, grapes, viti/viniculture practices, wine styles, and the future of California wines.
Course Date(s)

Register
2020 Spring
WI 0020 Intensive: French Wines
France has some of the world's most prestigious, complex, and commercially successful wine regions. Through extensive tastings, this course will cover the wines of Burgundy, Alsace, Cotes du Rhone, Bordeaux, Loire, and Champagne. You will learn about varietals, wine production by region, terroir, vineyard sites, and quality levels.
Course Date(s)
March 12 - March 26
$279
Instructors
Luke Bramon
2020 Spring
WI 0024 Intensive: Italian Wines
Italy is the largest wine producing country in the world and is a key exporter to the United States. Knowledge of Italian wine is critical to the wine profession. Through extensive tastings, this course will cover predominantly, but not only the wines of Piemont and Tuscany. You will learn about varietals, wine production by region, terroir, vineyard sites, and quality levels.
Course Date(s)
April 28 - May 12
$279
Instructors
Stefano Butto
WI 0026 Intensive: Spanish Wines
Spain has more land planted with grapes than any wine growing country in the world and is ranked 3rd in global wine production. Spain has a lot to offer the world of wine. There is something for everyone in this amazing wine rich country. Class tastings will sample growing regions that are well established (Rioja) and up and coming regions. You will learn about Spain’s wine history, varietals, wine production by region, terroir, vineyard sites, and quality levels.
Course Date(s)

Register
WI 0028 Intensive: Dessert Wines
Explore the World of Sweet Wines produced globally. You will delve into different styles from both old world and new world countries. You will also explore different styles such as, Vin de Liqueur (VDL), Vin Doux Naturels (VDN), Fortified, Late Harvest, Botrytis, Ice, and Solera. For each style you will learn the methods of production, and how to pair these wines with desserts, cheeses and even savory foods.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Lisa Redwine
2020 Summer
WI 0029 Intensive: South American Wines
The United States wine market has witnessed a huge increase in South American wine imports over the last 20 years. This course will cover the history, geographic locations, climate, soils, wine laws, grape varieties, and important wine producing regions of South America. Students will taste and focus intensively on the wines of Chile and Argentina with a brief introduction to Brazil, Uruguay, and Peru.
Course Date(s)
May 14 - May 28
WI 0031 Intensive: Australian Wines
Australian wine history dates back over 200 years, and its wine regions span a vast area with amazing diversity in climate, soils, winemaking and wine styles. Together we’ll explore the origins of Australia's wine industry, what influenced wines then and what influences them today. Australia is experiencing a renaissance, redefining itself beyond warm climates and generic styles with an explosion of sensational small-batch producers bucking tradition and pushing boundaries. This class will feature some tasting surprises to complement the material.
Course Date(s)

Register
Instructors
Luke Bramon
2020 Spring
WI 0033 Intensive: Austrian/German Wines
The Austrian and German class will showcase an understanding of wines and the regions of The Mosel, Nahe, Rheingau, Rheinhessen and Pflaz regions of Germany. For Austria the focus will be on Niederosteriech. There will be historical understanding of the area, the people that lived there and why they do what they do so well.
Course Date(s)
April 16 - April 30
$279
Instructors
Molly Brooks
WI 0035 Intensive: Sparkling Wines
Learn about what makes sparkling wine ... sparkle. From production techniques, major grape varietals, sweetness styles and benchmark wine regions, we will traverse the globe and delve into much more than Champagne. This is a class not to be missed.
Register
WI 0038 Intensive: Organic and Biodynamic Wines
This intensive course is designed to provide you with the basics of organic, biodynamic, natural and sustainable winemaking. At the end of the course you will have a stronger knowledge of the benefits that these winemaking styles can bring to the producer, the consumer and the environment and also of the position of these wines in the current market.
Register
Instructors
Stefano Butto

A reduced fee for SDSU alumni is available. Please call the CES registration office at (619) 594–5152 to register using the SDSU alumni discount. Double discounts or retroactive discounts are not allowed.

 

San Diego Workforce Partnership: Creating Workforce Solutions
SDSU World Campus is a State-approved provider for the Federal Workforce Investment Act for this program.

 


Student Testimonials

Sonia HyncikThe program is fun, the instructors are passionate … and it’s wonderful to see new courses being added as the program continues to grow and evolve. I also believe the program is a great networking vehicle for wine enthusiasts and industry professionals.

Sonia Hyncik

 

 

Brittany BartonThe program far exceeded my expectations. It would have been impossible to get these results out of a book on my own. I wouldn’t have known where to start. Each class takes you beyond the surface and really helps develop an understanding of cultures, geography, and history of the region of study. The instructors bring so much passion and personal experience into their teachings that I walk out of class feeling like I was just in France.

– Brittany Barton, Entrepreneur

 

Erin WoodardThe program is great for building a foundation of knowledge if you’re looking for a career change. Or if you’re looking at this more as a hobby, it’s educational and fun!

– Erin Woodard, Fine Wine Specialist, Henry Wine Group

 

 

 

Jeffrey MaltzmanMy company specializes in wine education programs on cruise ships, and SDSU’s program has given me an outstanding background of knowledge about the wine industry, wine making, and wine regions of the world. The courses are educational, entertaining and interactive; and the professors are, without exception, top leaders in the Southern California wine industry.

– Jeffrey Maltzman, Founder, Blend Craft Wines’ Winery at Sea Program

 

Grant TondroThe biggest strength of the Business of Wine certificate program was the breadth of the courses. If someone like me who’s already an industry professional has gaps to fill, there’s a course for them. The program is absolutely worth it and you can get out of it as much as you put into it.

– Grant Tondro, Co–Owner, The Barrel Room, Urge GastroPub, and Brothers Provisions

 

 

SDSU World Campus would like to express special thanks to all Business of Wine guest speakers and to the companies listed here for contributing to the program's success.

Wilson Creek Winery
Wilson Creek Winery

SDSU Research Foundation Program