Sonoma State’s Wine Business Institute launches new inclusion effort

Sonoma State University on Tuesday said it is launching an inclusion program as part of its Wine Business Institute to help further diversify a sector that is largely white.

The institute, which is part of the School of Business and Economics, has been able to start its Inclusive Excellence Program thanks to almost $1 million in funding from local wine companies.

“This is a holistic approach,” said Ray Johnson, executive director of the Wine Business Institute. The university has previously worked with the industry to fund scholarships for those from underrepresented backgrounds, but the new effort will also emphasize internships and mentoring programs to help such students be able to reach executive-level careers within the wine industry.

“These students will then have a greater platform from which to launch the next step in their career,” Johnson said of the effort.

The outreach comes as the sector has been under increased scrutiny…

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