Tim Matz named director of wine education at Linfield University

Portrait of Tim MatzTim Matz, a longstanding senior executive in the global wine industry, has been named Domaine Serene Chair in Wine Business and Director of the Evenstad Center for Wine Education at Linfield University. His first day will be Sept. 1.

“This is an exciting and important moment for wine education at Linfield,” said the university’s president, Miles K. Davis. “We have an opportunity to provide a skilled workforce the wine industry tells us it desperately needs, and we have an opportunity to build a program of true distinction at Linfield. Tim has the kind of business acumen and experience we need to bring those aspirations to fruition.”

Matz has extensive experience in wine business internationally. He joins Linfield after more than three decades in roles ranging from business development to executive leadership, with 18 years at the CEO or president level.

Starting in 2014, Matz was executive vice president and general manager of Zonin USA, a subsidiary of Italy’s largest privately owned wine company. He is also a former managing director of Accolade Wines North America and former president of Jackson Wine Estates and Foley Family Wines.

As both the director of the Evenstad Center for Wine Education and the Domaine Serene Chair in Wine Business, Matz is eager to help build a world-class center of wine education. There are only three comprehensive wine programs in the United States at the moment, he said, and all are located in California.

“Being in the heart of Willamette Valley, Linfield has an opportunity to build on a nice foundation to become one of the premier global wine programs,” Matz said. “It could be and should be sought after from students around the world interested in pursuing a wine career.”

Matz started his own career in the beverage industry at Brown Forman. One of the largest American-owned spirits and wine companies, it is home to brands such as Jack Daniels and Woodford Reserve whiskeys, Herradura Tequila, Chambord, Finlandia Vodka and Korbel champagne. In his 14 years at Brown Forman, Matz held positions in sales, marketing, business development and strategic planning.

He has experience with a number of wine business models by virtue of his work at public corporations and a variety of private companies. Matz has worked with everything from wine and spirits startups to aggressive growth situations and turnaround opportunities.

“Now I’m interested in bringing my experience, knowledge and passion to the academic world,” he said. “Wine education involves a lot more than learning about wine. Our students will learn how the industry works at every level.”

Matz holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on marketing. In addition to serving on industry boards and speaking frequently at industry functions, he is co-author of the book Wine, a Global Business.

Grace Evenstad, founder and owner of Dayton-based Evenstad Estates, said Linfield will benefit from Matz’s global perspective and business savvy.

“We are extremely excited to welcome Tim to lead The Evenstad Center for Wine Education,” she said. “His reputation for driving excellence in the industry speaks for itself and we warmly welcome him to this important role.”

Ryan Harris, chief executive of Evenstad Estates, said Matz “will be a game changer for The Evenstad Center for Wine Education and Linfield University. He is exactly the leader that we need to take this one of a kind program to the next level.”

Linfield is the first university in the country to offer an interdisciplinary liberal arts degree in wine studies. The program includes a B.A. or a B.S. in wine studies as well as a minor that can be paired with a wide selection of majors. The university also offers a five-year joint bachelor’s and master’s degree program through a unique partnership with Ecole Superieure d’Agriculture (ESA) in Angers, France. Students spend three years at Linfield and two years at ESA, earning a B.A. or B.S. and an International Vintage Master.

Benefiting from its location in the heart of Oregon’s vineyard country, Linfield also offers wine management and wine marketing certificates online, provides a summer wine-industry immersion program and hosts one of the world’s premier wine events — the International Pinot Noir Celebration — each summer.