Being on the team who worked toward a press release for one of my own clients (The Rubin Family of Wines), with Sonoma State University’s Wine Spectator Learning Center, I was made very aware of who are the philanthropic leaders in the wine business. It came with a few, surprises. Nice ones, to be sure…

Let’s start with how they’re Philanthropic Leaders in The Wine Business… It has to do with education, as my title states. More important to that is that each one of these generous individuals wants highly educated and competent leaders for the wine industry’s future. So, they’re willing to make that investment in human capital. That’s admirable in my book.

Here’s the final list I worked on (as of July 21, 2015), and feel that it’s worth bringing each one to everyone’s attention, because these are some very cool unsung, altruistic heroes.

I’ve had the pleasure of working with many of these companies, and have great respect for both the leaders and their employees.

There was also a major and substantial gift given by the Hamel Family Wines company, that’s worth mentioning. It was created for a professorship, a new position that hadn’t yet existed.

These are our educational leaders, ladies and gentlemen, of the wine business. They care about you and about the future of our wine business. According to Ray Johnson, director of the Wine Business Institute, “Plans for the new Wine Spectator Learning Center have been influenced by the Institute’s mission to provide transformational learning experiences for its students and the wine industry.”

Construction on the new Wine Spectator Learning Center is expected to begin in 2016 and the doors will be open for classes in early 2017.  For more information about the Wine Spectator Learning Center or for information about making a contribution please contact Jessica Pozzi,, or 707-664-3347.

Are you one of these unsung heroes?