Walt Klenz with students

[Photo left, features Walt Klenz (center) surrounded by V&E students (left to right), Akin Gurbuz, Josh Rubin, MJ Tsay, and Shoshanna Wolff.]

Over 89 students and guests enjoyed the first Walt Klenz Lecture on Wine Business on Tuesday, April 18th beginning at 3:30 p.m. at the ARC Ballroom A. The series was created and sponsored by Foster’s Wine Estates through the Department of Viticulture and Enology in honor of their former CEO, in recognition of his contributions to the industry. The goal is to provide two lectures per academic year, one in the fall and one in the spring. The focus of the lecture series is to give students insight into the business aspect of the industry they are so intently studying while at UC Davis.

Klenz reviewed five industry trends that he views as relevant in today’s industry that will have impact in the future. Klenz discussed changes in winery ownership, employee functions, supplier relations, the customer, and the consumer, and how they affect the winemaker of the future. Klenz advised his audience to learn more about the industry they are entering. “Broaden yourself beyond your degree.” Advised Klenz. “For example, ask your boss for an assignment in marketing or distribution, this will give you an appreciation of their contributions to the company bottom line.” Klenz also counseled students to find people to collaborate with and build relationships that will provide for mutual benefits.

“We recognize that our students need to learn about the ‘business’ aspects of the wine industry in order to stay competitive and take their place within the industry,” said Dr. Jim Wolpert, Chair of the Department of Viticulture and Enology. “This lecture series is the perfect vehicle to enrich our students, giving them a ‘leg-up’ over graduates from other institutions.”

The lecture was followed by a lively question and answer session where students and guests were able to glean specifics from this Captain of Industry. Attendees nibbled on hors d’oeuvres and sampled some of the wines from the Foster’s Wine Estates cellars as they got a chance to spend informal time with Mr. Klenz.

“We are lucky,” said student Joshua Rubin. “Mr. Klenz is right, this is absolutely the best time to be in the wine business!”