A team of six Linfield College students has been awarded the Grand Prize in the inaugural Intercollegiate Wine Business Invitational (IWBI), taking top honors against teams from Penn State University, Michigan State University, Washington State University, the University of Houston and Florida International University.
The wine business planning competition required each team to create a wine brand, a label, a business plan and financial models for cost of goods and distribution prices for a $25 red wine blend from California. The Grand Prize was awarded to Linfield for its cohesiveness of all three components as well as for presenting extra information and research that represented their brand.
The Linfield team crafted the brand “Alianza.” Students on the Linfield College team were Samantha Weymouth, Nathan Saragoza, Hanna Bingham, Luca Mallon, Alexandra Bushman and Cassidy Robinson. The students met weekly with faculty advisors from the business and wine studies departments: Greg Jones, Virlena Crosley and James “Russ” Paine.
Paine said that initially students were intimidated about going up against larger schools. “We got over that pretty quickly,” he said.
Paine added, “We definitely have a West Coast advantage” compared to the other colleges and universities competing. “We have the benefit of that immediate environment around us.”
Linfield students got valuable hands-on learning during the competition, Crosley said. “They’re learning to develop a mission and vision, market research and they put together a sales plan,” she added. “Most importantly, our students are working together as a team. They get to see, pretty quickly, the effort of their decisions.”
Robinson, a double major in marketing and wine studies and the marketing lead for Linfield’s team, agreed. “We are creating a business — going through that process, that brainstorming — it’s cool because everyone contributes,” she said. “We’re learning so much.”
The IWBI was created by Master of Wine Tim Hanni and WineBusinessEducation.com. The goal of the IWBI was to provide a hands-on learning opportunity for hospitality, wine business and general business students by creating an engaging and realistic wine business recreation environment. Participation can result in future winemakers, marketers and buyers in both restaurant and retail environments who understand how the wine industry works.