December 1, 2009

ZAP Establishes Scholarship Endowment for Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute

Donn P. Reisen Memorial Scholarship Honors ZAP Co-Founder

dpr1.jpgZinfandel Advocates & Producers announces the Donn P. Reisen Memorial Scholarship, which will support students pursuing a Wine Business MBA at Sonoma State University's Wine Business Institute, in memory of the distinguished wine industry executive who was one of the organization's founders and long-time leaders.

"This Scholarship honors the memory of Donn P. Reisen, who was fundamental to Zinfandel Advocates & Producers' growth over many years," explained Rebecca Robinson, ZAP's Executive Director, in making the announcement. The goal for endowing the scholarship is $500,000.

Beginning in the September 2010 semester, the Donn P. Reisen Memorial Scholarship will provide students in the Wine Business MBA (WBMBA) program at Sonoma State University with necessary funds to cover some portion of the cost of tuition and books.

"By providing a worthy and needy student with funds to pursue an MBA degree from the SSU Wine Business Institute, the Donn P. Reisen Scholarship seeks to memorialize the contributions Reisen made to the advancement of the California wine industry and to the enhancement of people's understanding and appreciation for fine wine the world over," adds Rebecca Robinson of ZAP.

"Before this generous gesture by the ZAP organization, there had been no scholarships for our students who were studying in the field of wine business, strategy and marketing," explains Linda Nowak, Executive Director of The Wine Business Institute at SSU. "This is a real milestone for the program," she adds.

Donn Reisen, a founding Board Member and past President of ZAP, passed away early in 2009. Donn's wife Marilyn Reisen brought together a group to investigate a way to honor Donn's memory.

The group consisted of Nicole Buttita of Ridge Vineyards, where Donn had worked for over 30 years, Greg Ralston (former Managing Director of Ch. Montelena), Lynne Barnard (President of Klinker Brick Winery) and Rebecca Robinson, Executive Director of Zinfandel Advocates & Producers.

"At a time when our industry was still in its formative years and led by a collection of dreamers, people the world over craved contact with the people living these dreams and Donn was our evangelist--his natural warmth, intelligence, and generosity allowed him to connect with people in a deep and very personal way. These relationships helped pave the way forward for our entire industry, including every member of ZAP," explains Mark Vernon of Ridge.

"It is fitting that we, as the direct beneficiaries of Donn's vision and passion, memorialize his work by providing scholarship support to students pursuing a Master's of Business Administration degree from the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University," he continues.

"Sonoma State University was chosen for several reasons: While there are many worthy universities and colleges that focus on all aspects of growing and producing wine (including UC Davis, which ZAP also supports), the Sonoma State Wine MBA is the only one of its kind in the country. The Sonoma State program currently does not have a student scholarship program. In addition, Donn was a graduate of a state university and Marilyn Reisen has a personal connection to Sonoma State," Vernon added.

Watch and for the timeline to be announced as scholarship applications become available.

Zinfandel Advocates & Producers is incorporating the Scholarship into its overall programming, since the organization's goals include education as well as research. The Donn P. Reisen Scholarship program will be building a $500,000 endowment over the next three to five years. Contributions are welcome, made out to "ZAP," c/o Zinfandel Advocates & Producers,, P.O. Box 1487 Rough & Ready, California95975.

Zinfandel Advocates & Producers:

The Association of Zinfandel Advocates & Producers is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) educational organization. ZAP is dedicated to advancing public knowledge of and appreciation for American Zinfandel and its unique place in our culture and history. Winegrowers, winemakers and wine enthusiasts combine to form the membership. The common focus is the preservation and recognition of Zinfandel as America's heritage wine. More at The 19th Annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers Festival takes place January 28-30, 2010, in San Francisco, headlining Chef Beverly Gannon, one of the founders of 'HAWAI`I regional cuisine.' In 2010 ZAP will be traveling to Dusseldorf,Germany (March 21-23), Denver (mid-April), Orange County (mid-April), Vancouver (April 22-24), Maui & Oahu, Hawaii (May 21-24), Calgary, Canada (June 10-12), Toronto & Montreal, Canada (late July) and cruising to Bordeaux and Oporto (August 10 - 24).

Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute:

Sonoma State's Wine Business Institute is located within the University's School of Business & Economics; a fully accredited AACSB institution. Sonoma State's program offers a specialized curriculum targeted on the business challenges of the wine industry. Courses are offered in Wine Marketing, Wine Finance and Accounting, Human Resources Management, Wine Business Strategies and Wine Production, Operations & Distribution The Institute is created through a partnership between the University and the wine industry, this is the first program in the United States to focus exclusively on the business aspects of the wine industry.

Ridge Vineyards:
Ridge Vineyards is based near the top of Monte Bello Ridge outside what today is Cupertino. Under the direction of Winemaker Paul Draper, cabernet and zinfandel account for most of the production; syrah, grenache, carignane, petite sirah and chardonnay also adding to the winery's offerings. Lytton Springs, in Sonoma County, became part of the Ridge estate in 1991. Paul Draper's approach is to find intense, flavorful grapes, intrude upon the process only when necessary and thus draw the fruit's distinctive character and richness into the wine. Ridge Vineyards, 408/867-3233, 17100 Monte Bello Road, Cupertino, CA 95014,

Donations can be made out to ZAP and sent to ZAP, c/o The Donn P. Reisen Scholarship, P.O. Box 1487, Rough & Ready, California 95975, 530/274-4900,,

Media contacts:
For ZAP: contact: Julie Ann Kodmur, (707) 963-9632,,
For Sonoma State University: Linda Nowak, SSU Wine Business
Institute, (707 )664-2377,,
For Ridge Vineyards: Mark Vernon,, 408/868-1336 or Nicole Buttitta, 408/868-1347,,

Jean Wasp
Media Relations Coordinator
University Affairs
(707) 664-2057