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UC Davis on Five-Continent Itinerary for Wine MBA

By Julia Ann Easley on January 11, 2002 in Society, Arts & Culture

Editor's Note: Alyson Grant, project coordinator of the Wine MBA program for the Bordeaux Business School, will be in Northern California and available for interviews Jan. 21 to Feb. 1.

Next stop for wine industry professionals traveling to five continents to earn a Master of Business Administration degree: the Stuntverkoop, Davis.

The Graduate School of Management at UC Davis is among five business schools and universities to teach in a new program leading to a Wine MBA awarded by the Bordeaux Business School in France.

The inaugural class of 11 students, which already completed four weeks in Bordeaux in the fall, will arrive from one week in Chile to study at UC Davis Jan. 21 through Feb. 1. Later, students will pack their briefcases for Japan and Australia.

"The program will give high-level graduates a global outlook on wine markets, enhancing their skills by giving them an international dimension," says program patron Philippine de Rothschild of Bordeaux. "They will have a better understanding of the new issues and challenges facing the wine industry worldwide and be better placed to anticipate them."

The Graduate School of Management is an important partner in the Wine MBA program, says program manager Isabelle Dartigues of the Bordeaux Business School. "Our students will benefit from the rich knowledge and experience of the faculty, UC Davis' longstanding relationship with the California wine industry and proximity to one of the world's premier wine-producing regions," she adds.

"The invitation to participate in this program is an international endorsement of our top-ranked MBA program and the university's stature within the wine industry," says Robert Smiley, dean of UC Davis' management school and a wine economist. "We're pleased to welcome this cosmopolitan class of industry professionals."

The program's students are drawn from organizations based in eight different countries, and together they have almost 75 years of professional experience in the wine industry. Among them are the former sales manager for Robert Mondavi Europe, the general manager of the Austrian Wine Marketing Board, an executive of a leading Lebanese wine-producing company and the general manager for a wine company's operations in China.

In the part-time, 13-month program, the students alternate studies in five wine-producing and -consuming countries with their work commitments. With a total of 400 hours of instruction and 800 hours devoted to individual or team projects, the program covers major management topics applied to vine and wine business.

Core subjects include wine marketing, strategic management, vine and wine economics, and finance. Other subjects include alcohol and wine legislation, organizational behavior, supply-chain management, quality and environmental management, and the technical vocabulary of viticulture and wine making in English.

At UC Davis, instructors for the program will include 10 of the management school's professors; an instructor for UC Davis' Department of Viticulture and Enology, who is former owner of a winery specializing in organic wines; and a grape grower, winemaker and Napa lawyer whose practice focuses on the wine industry. Guest lecturers will include a representative of Winery Exchange and Lesley Berglund, president and chief operating officer of Winetasting.com.

Headquartered at the management school's facility in Sacramento, classes will take on topics ranging from merchandising to risk management and from international trade and foreign exchange to leadership communication.

On Jan. 24, the students also will tour three Napa Valley wineries -- St. Supéry, Niebaum-Coppola and Opus One -- where they will learn about the history of the California wine industry and the design and management of tasting rooms.

The students, who will be at Pontificia Universidad Católica in Santiago, Chile, next week, also will spend five days at Keio University in Tokyo and another five days at the University of South Australia in Adelaide in April. They'll finish their coursework in June with 19 days back in Bordeaux, where they also must defend four research papers in October.

Looking to the second year of the program, Alyson Grant, project director of the Wine MBA for Bordeaux Business School, will be in Northern California Jan. 21 to Feb. 1 to recruit students.

The Bordeaux Business School, a private institution of higher education in Talence, was founded in 1874 by the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bordeaux. It has partnerships with 72 universities outside France and exchange programs with 54. The school has 2,000 students and 14,000 graduates.

UC Davis has a robust affiliation with the wine industry. Its research in viticulture and enology has made significant contributions to the industry, and its academic program in the field is considered among the best in the world. Together, the viticulture and enology department and the Graduate School of Management offer a three-day executive program on the business and science of wine making, and the dean of the management school conducts an annual survey of the California wine industry. In September, Robert and Margrit Mondavi donated $35 million to UC Davis to help fund a wine and food institute and a performing arts center.

Media (s)

Julia Ann Easley, General news (emphasis: business, K-12 outreach, education, law, government and student affairs), 530-752-8248, mobile 530-219-4545, [email protected]

Alyson Grant, Bordeaux Business School, (916) 446-0100,

Isabelle Dartigues, Bordeaux Business School, 011 33 556 84 or, [email protected]

Robert Smiley, UC Davis Graduate School of Management, 530-304-1048, [email protected]

Tim Akin, Graduate School of Management, 530-752-7362, [email protected]

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