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BW 0100: Exploring the Business of Wine

TWABR Owner and George Mason Alumni, Jon Hickox, presents on "how to start your own winery" to George Mason University students of the new "Exploring the Business of Wine" course who came to visit us on an official field trip held for their professors. #WineEducation

Posted by The Winery at Bull Run on Monday, April 6, 2015

Jon Hickox, George Mason University alumnus and owner of The Winery at Bull Run, speaking to the class.

Course Descriptions
Topic Highlights
Certificate Program
Who Should Attend
Evaluation Comments

Exploring the Business of Wine Brochure


This course will provide students with an overall understanding of wine with topics including: the history of wine, grape varietals, wine regions, labeling, the business of wine, employment opportunities, and future directions of the wine industry. An overview of Virginia wines will also be included. Guest speakers will provide unique perspectives on topics ranging from starting your own winery to pursuing recognized industry credentials.

The goal of this non-credit course is to provide students with an extensive overview of the wine industry and familiarize them with professional options in the field. From wine enthusiasts to those considering a career in the wine business, this program will be a valuable resource to anyone interested in wine.

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  • Continuing Education Units (CEUs) will be awarded by George Mason University
  • Course materials
  • Certificate of Attendance
  • Field trips to The Winery at Bull Run- discounted tasting fee to be paid directly to the winery (dates TBD)

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Please call for registration information.
Please call for our upcoming class schedule.

Please call for fee information.

Early Bird Rate: $445.50
(February 15, 2016)

Each seminar is recommended for: Please call for information about CEUs and contact hours.
Contact Info.
Science and Technology Campus
  • Online contact form
  • Address:
      George Mason University
    Learning Solutions
      10900 University Blvd.
      Manassas, VA 20110
  • Telephone: 703-993-8335
  • Fax: 703-993-8336


    • The history of wine
    • Grape varietals
    • Wine regions
    • Labeling
    • Credentialing
    • Virginia wines
    • The wine industry
    • Employment opportunities
    • Future directions of the industry

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    • Restaurant owners or other hospitality employees
    • Winery employees
    • Event planners
    • Individuals responsible for business entertaining
    • Those considering a career in the wine business
    • Anyone interested in exploring business opportunities related to wine
    • Wine enthusiasts

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    Photo of Jeff Spencer

    Jeff Spencer, WSET III, CSW

    Jeff Spencer discovered his passion for wine early in his career as a fine dining restaurant manager where he was able to learn wine service skills and taste top wines from around the world. As a 25-year wine industry professional, he is experienced in all levels of sales within the wine industry, including marketing, private label development, distributor management, and selling to national accounts. Currently, he is a national account manager with Palm Bay International, one of the largest wine importers in the United States. Spencer has also worked with E & J Gallo and Constellation Brands.

    Spencer's wine travels include Napa & Sonoma valleys, Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhone Valley, and Rioja, the wine regions of Italy, Chile, Argentina and, of course, Virginia. During these explorations, he gained first-hand knowledge about wine production, vineyards, and the importance of terrior.

    In addition to receiving a BS in management from Clemson University, Spencer was awarded the Wine & Spirits Education Trust Advanced Certificate (WSET III). He also holds the Certified Specialist of Wine (CSW) certificate from the Society of Wine Educators and has completed Level 1 of the Court of Master Sommeliers.

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    This course provided me with the ability to make the decision to switch careers entirely and pursue a newly discovered dream and passion. -Jeffrey Van Meter, George Mason Graduate

    Excellent instructor, excellent information, and perfectly planned course! I highly recommend to everyone who is interested in wine! -Nesli Esen, Art Director

    Fantastic introduction to the world of wine. In a short amount of time you are able to receive a wealth of knowledge of the exciting business of wine. -Christophe Perdu

    Every presenter illuminated the passion, intellect, commitment, and entrepreneurial spirit necessary to enter the industry. As someone not in the wine industry, I gained extraordinary insight that better informed my appreciation for wine; both the product and the industry. -Wenda Schmelebeck, Organizational Change Strategist

    This course goes beyond the romance of wine. It highlights the business process of getting the product into the bottle. People do not realize how dynamic the wine industry is. -V. Sien, Enterprise Sales Consultant

    I found that the class provided a wealth of information for both seasoned wine enthusiasts and amateurs. The instructor was extremely engaging and enthusiastic and honest about the wine industry.

    Great course… It only furthered my passion for the wine industry and expanding my knowledge. I highly recommend for anyone interested in learning more about wine, the industry, the history, and the regions of the world- whether it is for business or for fun. -Christina Markish

    Great class, whether you're already in the wine industry, exploring the wine industry, or simply want to expand your knowledge as a wine enthusiast!

    Kudos to all for a very successful program! It was noticeable from the first class that everyone was there for different reasons. I think each of them received value and information/education that was important to them.

    Great class and very informative!

    Truly informative and enjoyable.

    Call our office for a discount code for the March 8-10, 2016 event below in Lancaster, PA.

    Eastern Winery Exposition; The Eastern Trade Show & Conference for Wineries & Growers

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