SSU Wine Spectator Learning Center groundbreaking takes place Wednesday

U.S. Rep Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday are scheduled to speak at the groundbreaking for the Sonoma State University Wine Spectator Learning Center.

The former University Commons building will house the School of Business and Economics’ Wine Business Institute in the summer 2017.

The university completed raising $9.15 million for the building’s construction costs in December, said Jay Johnson, director of the institute, in an email.

“We have the opportunity to add a few bonus pieces to the project, so (we) are still accepting contributions for those additions and a few more naming opportunities exist,” Johnson wrote.

The largest donation, $3 million, was given by the Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation.

The 15,000-square-foot facility will have three state-of-the-art classrooms, some multimedia venues to host seminars and events, a student commons and a faculty-industry hub, and a café.

WineAmerica elects new board chair

WineAmerica, an industry group representing wineries in 43 states, has elected Trent Preszler, chief executive officer of Bedell Cellars on the North Fork of Long Island, N.Y., as its new chairman of the board.

Preszler replaces Caroline Shaw, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Jackson Family Wines, who served two years as chair of the organization.

Preszler has served on the board of WineAmerica since 2008 and the board of the New York Wine & Grape Foundation since 2004, where he is also chairman. He also worked in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy during the Clinton Administration.

“I am thrilled to take the reins of WineAmerica and continue the robust growth and success we experienced under the leadership of my predecessor, Caroline Shaw,” said Preszler in a statement. “The future of WineAmerica is bright, and there are more compelling reasons than ever for American wineries to join our grassroots public policy mission.”

The group concerns itself with subjects such as federal excise tax reform and music licensing guidelines. New members of the group include Dutton-Goldfield Winery in Sebastopol.

Petaluma Gap growers to hold event on wine glasses

The Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance has teamed up with Riedel Crystal to host a June 22 event that will examine how a wine glass can influence the taste of a wine as well as the enjoyment of food.

The seminar will be held from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Petaluma Woman’s Club and feature wine from the Petaluma Gap region. Each attendee will receive three Riedel glasses, a $130 value. Riedel is an Austrian-based glassware manufacturer founded in 1756 and noted for its upscale wine glasses and decanters.

Tickets are $85 for alliance members and $105 for non-members. For more information:

Compiled by Bill Swindell. Submit items to