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College of Business toasts its biggest grant ever

July 15, 2005

Photo of BIE grant co-directors Richard Castaldi (left) and Lutfus Sayeed at V. Sattui WineryA recent Supreme Court ruling will allow out-of-state wineries to ship directly to consumers -- a victory for California's small family-owned and -operated wineries, which make up more than 90 percent of wineries in the state. The ruling opens new markets for local wineries -- and creates a need for better marketing strategies to compete with international wineries.

SFSU's College of Business was recently awarded a $191,544 Business and International Education (BIE) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support academic and community outreach projects with the local wine industry to develop better global marketing strategies. The two-year grant is the largest federal grant the College has ever received. Seven faculty members from four departments -- Management, Information Systems, Marketing and Decision Sciences -- created and will participate in the grant project.

"The wine industry is a textbook example of how globalization affects an industry," management Professor Richard Castaldi said. "With competition from Australia and New Zealand, there's more pressure on the California wine industry to move to a more savvy business management style."

The effort will help more than 800 small and family-run wineries in Northern California to improve their competitiveness in domestic and international markets, and enhance the international business experience for SFSU students.

The grant will fund three academic and two community outreach projects through 2007. One project will develop a digital collection of online teaching modules in international business for MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Repository for Learning and Online Teaching), a free online catalog of education modules created by a consortium of higher education institution. A second project will create software called "Global Wine Match" that pairs small wineries with distributors according to product attributes and distribution goals. Another outcome will be creation of a family-owned winery conference on international trade, developed with the College of Business's Family Business Center.

According to the Wine Institute -- the BIE team's grant partner -- if California were a nation, it would be the fourth-leading wine-producing country in the world behind Italy, France and Spain.

"Here we have an industry that's virtually in our backyard," said Castaldi, co-director of the grant. "Ninety-two percent (by revenue) of all the wine sold in America comes from California, and it's an industry populated by small- and medium-sized wineries -- a perfect laboratory for the experience and expertise of our faculty and grad students."

Other team members include co-director Lufus Sayeed, professor of information systems; Susan Cholette, assistant professor of decision sciences; Michael Meeks, assistant professor of management; Ronald Purser, professor of management; Ana Valenzuela, assistant professor of marketing; and Sameer Verma, assistant professor of information systems.

Castaldi believes the projects will create more bridges between the College of Business and the business community. SFSU's BIE team has previously developed workshops, videos and materials that help small- to medium-sized Northern California wineries increase their exports through global marketing strategies. To date, the College of Business has received $713,044 in BIE grants.

-- Student Writer Audrey Tang with William Morris


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Last modified July 15, 2005 by University Communications