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Wednesday, September 23, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Business

Gonzaga launching courses designed around wine industry

UPDATED: Wed., Sept. 16, 2020

This photo from Oct. 2, 2017, shows petit verdot grapes being grown near the Tri-Cities for the Barrister Winery in Spokane. Gonzaga is launching a Wine Institute where students can learn about business, management and legal aspects of the wine industry.  (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review)
This photo from Oct. 2, 2017, shows petit verdot grapes being grown near the Tri-Cities for the Barrister Winery in Spokane. Gonzaga is launching a Wine Institute where students can learn about business, management and legal aspects of the wine industry. (Dan Pelle/The Spokesman-Review)
By Thomas Clouse The Spokesman-Review

Gonzaga, the mid-major powerhouse in basketball, is seeking a No. 1 ranking in another field: wine.

The Gonzaga University School of Law is partnering with the university’s schools of Business Administration and Leadership Studies to offer a certificate program focused on the business, management and legal aspects of the wine industry.

“Gonzaga is the first university in the country to develop such a unique curriculum in partnership with private wineries,” Jacob Rooksby, dean of the law school, said in a news release. “We are excited to offer this lifelong-learning and professional development opportunity to people around the country.”

The Gonzaga University Wine Institute offers continuing education courses related to the wine industry and organized events in the U.S. and abroad. The program consists of 16 online courses taught both by Gonzaga faculty and experts in the wine and hospitality fields. Students will study the history and classification of wine, drafting and negotiation of industry contracts and agreements as well as distribution best practices, according to the release.

Institute Director Jessica Kiser said she hopes the program will be able to break down the complexities of the wine industry for its students.

“The wine industry has an incredible, romantic allure to business owners, lawyers, and consumers, and yet it is also one of the most complex and heavily regulated industries worldwide,” Kiser said in the release. “Our certificate helps professionals support their passion with the expertise to navigate this system – for their own business or to market those skills to others.”

In addition to classwork, students will participate in events hosted at regional and international locations. The first will be in Woodinville, Washington at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, which is an institute sponsor.

To qualify for the program, students should have completed an undergraduate degree in any field or have at least five years of experience in the wine industry or a wine industry-related business. Admission will be on a rolling basis and students can join the program to pursue their certificate at any time.

“Who hasn’t dreamed of running away to start a winery or of working in the industry? Kiser asked. “This program provides a strong foundation from which those dreams can grow.”

For more information or to enroll in the program, go to gonzaga.edu/wineinstitute.

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