Largest Cohort of Student Scholars Recognized at Wine Business Institute Award Luncheon

Rohnert Park, CA – The Wine Business Institute (WBI) in the School of Business and Economics (SBE) at Sonoma State University (SSU) today announced that it received a $20,000 award from in support of the Wine Industry Scholars Program (WISP). The award was presented to Ray Johnson, executive director of the WBI, at the Industry Growth Summit held at Sonoma State University on February 20, 2019. WISP is a scholarship fund established in 2017 to provide needed financial support for children and family members of vineyard and winery workers. Recently, 38 students, the largest cohort of WISP scholars and 24 of which are first time recipients, were recognized at a special luncheon attended by donors, board members, WBI and SBE leadership, and faculty.

The Wine Business Institute is fortunate to have a continuing supporter in With this award, they share our values of inclusivity and diversity, and our commitment to advancing students and future leaders of all backgrounds,” Ray Johnson, executive director of the Wine Business Institute said.

Business and education go hand in hand. The Wine Business Institute is delivering on a vision that is not only advancing the workforce and the wine industry, but is also moving our economy forward in a thoughtful, inclusive way. is a proud sponsor,” Michael Osborn, founder and executive vice president of and board member of the Wine Business Institute said.

To date, donor support of the Wine Industry Scholars Program has exceeded $2.7 million dollars. Initial funding for WISP was provided by Wine Business Institute board members, and inaugural scholarships were awarded in Fall 2017.

The Wine Industry Scholars Program afforded me the ability to cover daily necessities, such as gas for my commute from St. Helena to campus, and more,” Adriana Avalos ’18, B.S. in Criminal Justice and WISP alumna said. “I clearly remember how in my junior year of college, I was working three jobs and still lived paycheck to paycheck, counting down the days and making sure I was saving enough for food. The scholarship allowed me to focus my energy on finishing my last required classes for my degree.

About the Wine Business Institute

The Wine Business Institute, the global leader in wine business research and education, is the first institute of higher learning in the U.S. to offer an undergraduate, MBA, and Executive MBA focused on the business of wine. For more information about the Wine Industry Scholars Program or our degrees and certificate programs, please visit, or contact us at (707) 664-3347 or

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