Wine Professor Honored

Master of Wine Liz Thach Awarded SSU Distinguished Professor of Wine Title
July 13, 2015
liz thach teaching about pinot noir

Liz Thach Teaching About Pinot Noir

Liz Thach, Master of Wine, has been named Sonoma State University's Distinguished Professor of Wine.

The new title comes as part of the Wine Business Institute Board's effort to support the growth of the institute and its academic and research programs. "I am pleased to grant this well-deserved title of Distinguished Professor of Wine to Liz Thach," said Ruben Armiñana, president of Sonoma State University. "Her accomplishments as a professor and Master of Wine make her the ideal candidate to carry out the initiatives of the Wine Business Institute within the scope of this new role."

As the SSU Distinguished Professor of Wine, Thach will work collaboratively with the faculty, staff, board of directors, and leadership of the Wine Business Institute to conduct ongoing wine research programs, provide thought leadership to the global wine business industry, teach courses, seminars and workshops in wine and wine business, and connect with SSU alumni working in global wine industry businesses.

"I feel so honored to receive this new title," says Thach. "My passion is to teach and conduct research in wine business, and to obtain recognition for this makes it even more special. I look forward to expanding my work with faculty, students, alumni and industry members to develop innovative and useful solutions for the global wine industry."

Thach holds a doctorate in Human Resource Development from Texas A&M University and a master's degree in Business Communication from Texas Tech University. She received her Master of Wine in 2011 from the Institute of Masters of Wine in London. She has published six wine books, over 120 trade and scholarly articles, and eight book chapters throughout her career. Her most recent book is "Call of the Vine: Exploring Ten Famous Vineyards of Napa and Sonoma," which won the 2014 Gourmand Award for Best Women in Wine Book in the United States.

In addition to the many accolades she has brought to the Wine Business Institute, Thach has made significant impact in students' education and the careers of alumni. "Liz has a collaborative style of teaching that empowered me as a student," says Armen Khachaturian, a 2002 SSU graduate in wine business strategies. "She provided the path to where I am now as national sales director at Ehler's Estate."

"Even in the program's infancy, Liz had a vision for what it would do to elevate students in their careers," says Elizabeth Rice, director of international operations and marketing at Delicato Family Vineyards. "A defining moment for me with Liz was when we were sitting down to a SSU Wine Sense Club meeting and she very clearly told me that she could envision me as an executive in the international department at a leading winery. Her words helped me navigate my way into my career."

Sonoma State also allocated further resources for wine business research and curriculum development, recognizing the work and successes achieved by the faculty and staff of the Wine Business Institute.

"Our world class faculty and staff have been the reason for the success of our programs, and the acclaim we have received," says Bill Silver, dean of the School of Business and Economics. "Their research has informed important industry issues like direct-to-consumer marketing, financial benchmarking, strategic decision making, and sustainable business practices. The great experiences they create for students in the classroom and the sincere and sage mentoring they provide create transformational learning and lead to career and life success."