The CIA's Rudd Center Celebrates 10 Years of Wine Education

More than 15,000 students have broadened their wine knowledge.

CIA Greystone. credit Dan Taylor
CIA Greystone. credit Dan Taylor

The St. Helena-based Culinary Institute of America at Greystone celebrates 10 years of providing world-class wine education at its Rudd Center for Professional Wine Studies.

The programs and instruction offered in this venue has helped launch and advance thousands of careers for the next generation of wine and beverage leaders and master sommeliers.

As part of the celebration, the CIA hosted a reception and dinner for Rudd Center donors on Friday, Dec. 6, and a day of wine tastings and classes for wine program alumni on Saturday, Dec. 7.

Located in the heart of Napa Valley, the Rudd Center has drawn more than 15,000 students to professional wine classes, Wine Lovers Boot Camps, and weekend classes for enthusiasts.

It is home to innovative education offerings including the CIA's Accelerated Wine and Beverage Certificate Program and Wine Immersion programs for industry professionals. The Rudd Center serves as a wine classroom for the college's degree programs, and a collaboration venue for the groundbreaking farm-to-table conservatory at Greystone.

Expanding on the college's successful wine programs for professionals, the Rudd Center officially opened its doors in 2003, funded by a lead grant from the Rudd Foundation and additional contributions from the Cakebread family, Joel Peterson and Reed Foster, Viking Range Corporation, the Napa Valley Vintners, and more.

The historic building was formerly the Still House, where Christian Brothers brandy was made post-Prohibition. It is now a state-of-the art wine education center with sensory classrooms designed for analyzing wines and beverages, wireless keypad response systems, built-in light boxes, and expectoration stations.

Here's a look at the top 10 accomplishments for the Rudd Center for Wine Studies in the past decade:
  1. In 2003, the Center opened its doors to students.
  2. That same year, the CIA introduced its Certified Wine Professional® (CWP) credential. To date, 464 professionals have earned CWP certification.
  3. In 2004, the Robert M. Parker, Jr. Wine Advocate Tasting event was launched to fund The Wine Advocate Endowed Scholarship Fund, which is now fully endowed at more than $1 million dollars.
  4. Consumer wine classes at the Rudd Center have been offered since 2009, and have grown to include 2 1/2-hour weekend classes and two-, three-, and five-day Wine Lovers Boot Camps.
  5. In 2010, the CIA launched the first-of-its-kind Accelerated Wine and Beverage Certificate Program (AWBP), a highly specialized postgraduate certificate for select students coming from leading hospitality management and culinary arts schools. The program prepares graduates for a leadership career in the beverage industry.
  6. AWBP graduates have achieved a 93% pass rate for the Court of Master Sommelier Level II exam.
  7. In 2013, the CIA began offering an Advanced Wine, Beverage, and Hospitality academic concentration for bachelor's degree students at the Hyde Park, NY campus that includes a semester at the St. Helena campus. The concentration provides upper-level studies in wines, spirits and principles of mixology, and event beverage service.
  8. The Rudd Center recently received a 2014 Best of Wine Tourism Award from Great Wine Capitals in recognition of the wine education experiences offered in the Center.
  9. The 1,400 students enrolled to date in the CIA's associate degree programs at the Greystone campus have each received or will receive more than 60 hours of wine instruction.
  10. The Rudd Center has become the "go to" venue for wine trade training programs for companies like Cakebread Cellars, Diageo, Gallo, the Napa Valley Vintners, and the St. Helena Star Tasting Panel.

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