New Home for the Wine Business Institute and Seed Gift from Korbel's Gary Heck

President Ruben ArmiƱana has announced that the Wine Business Institute will have a new permanent home on campus in the former University Commons building, which was recently vacated with the opening of SSU's new Student Center.

Gary Heck, president and owner of Korbel, also announced a personal gift of $1 million on behalf of Korbel to seed the renovation of the building to suit the needs of a 21st century learning center.

"The wine industry needs leaders with solid business skills and a deep knowledge of the industry if we are all to be successful. The Wine Business Institute has delivered on this for more than 15 years and this building is the next step. It will provide a visible home that will be a place of learning and gathering for everyone: students, faculty, industry professionals, and not just from our own area but from around the world," said Heck.

"Gary Heck and Korbel have been supportive of the University for a very long time. I am pleased that Gary is joining with us to help create this new home for the Wine Business Institute. The plans and goals of the Institute serve not only Sonoma State's educational mission but that of the California State University," said ArmiƱana.

Upon completion, the 14,580 ft building will be organized around three focal areas: an education core with three classrooms; a student commons with areas for collaboration and student-run businesses; and an industry center with space for professional and academic faculty and program leadership.

The latter space will be named the Korbel Industry Center, in recognition of Heck's generous support of wine business education at Sonoma State.

"Our alumni are already working throughout the wine industry and increasingly occupying positions of leadership in an industry that has more than a $125 billion economic impact on the U.S. economy. To educate them, at all stages of their career, and to have a place where people can gather to learn from each other, to share best practices in a field that is rooted in agriculture and a deep sense of place is an honor," explained William Silver, dean of the School of Business and Economics, which is the academic home of the Wine Business Institute.

Renderings for the building and full architectural plans are in development. Renovation is expected to begin and end in 2015.

For more information, contact: Annemarie Brown, SSU School of Business & Economics, x4-2221,

Susan Kashack, SSU Chief Communications Officer, x4-2122,

Margie Healy, Korbel, x4-7715,