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Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation Donates Record $10 Million to Napa Valley College

The Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation is donating a record $10 million to Napa Valley College (NVC). The gift will support the construction and expansion of NVC’s Viticulture, Wine and Technology (VWT) program teaching spaces, which will be named the Wine Spectator Wine Education Complex at Napa Valley College. The announcement was made by Napa Valley College Foundation Executive Director Jessica Thomason.

“If there was ever an educational institution poised for significant contributions to the growth of the California wine industry, this is it,” said Marvin R. Shanken, editor and publisher of Wine Spectator. “It is our hope that the door for learning opens wider for young adults from all walks of life, providing a platform for future leadership in the wine industry.”

Located in the heart of Napa Valley, Napa Valley College’s VWT program is one of the largest college viticulture and winemaking programs in the country, with an annual enrollment of 800-1,000 students, complete with a five-acre vineyard and commercial winery. Students in the VWT program can obtain either a certificate or a two-year associate of science degree, specializing in viticulture, enology or wine marketing and sales. The majority of students are already actively working in the wine industry and taking classes to advance their careers.

The Wine Spectator Wine Education Complex includes construction of a new state-of-the-art sensory classroom as well as conversion of an existing classroom into a modern wine laboratory for both instruction and production. Additionally, an existing historic building will be converted and expanded to include indoor and outdoor spaces for hospitality, marketing and sales instructional courses as well as a public tasting room. Upon completion, the Wine Spectator Wine Education Complex will be organized into three buildings that include a classroom, laboratory and tasting room.

“The Wine Spectator Wine Education Complex at Napa Valley College will provide the physical and technical infrastructure necessary to support innovative programs and expand the reach of those programs,” said Dr. Ron Kraft, president of Napa Valley College. “We have made significant investments in the program and buildings over the years, but this generous gift from Marvin Shanken will allow us to truly make our VWT program state-of-the-art.”

Jessica Thomason, executive director of the Napa Valley College Foundation, expressed her appreciation not only for the generous gift, but also for the opportunity to partner with Shanken. “His personal commitment is unparalleled, not only in providing the funds necessary to create a world-class wine education center, but also in his desire to truly impact the learning experience for NVC’s students in a positive way.”

“Napa Valley College’s VWT program has long been supported by our community. The Trefethen family were early donors and helped spearhead contributions from others, including the Napa Valley Vintners, and the program wouldn’t be where it is today without their funding,” said Malcolm deSieyes, president, Napa Valley College Foundation. “This incredible gift from Marvin Shanken and the Wine Spectator will build on those earlier investments. We are deeply appreciative of their generous support, which will take the program to the next level, making our vision for the future a reality.”

“Marvin Shanken’s investment in the Wine Spectator Wine Education Complex will have a positive impact on our students and the wine industry for many years to come,” said Jennifer Baker, president, Napa Valley College Board of Trustees. “With this world-class facility, Napa Valley College will take its rightful place as a leader in training students for careers in the wine industry. We are so fortunate to have the Napa Valley College Foundation and the Wine Spectator as partners in this grand endeavor.”

About Wine Spectator
Wine Spectator is the world’s leading authority on wine. Anchored by Wine Spectator magazine, a print publication that reaches around 3 million readers worldwide, the brand also encompasses the Web’s most comprehensive wine site (, mobile platforms and a series of signature events. Wine Spectator examines the world of wine from the vineyard to the table, exploring wine’s role in contemporary culture and delivering expert reviews of more than 15,000 wines each year. Parent company M. Shanken Communications, Inc., also publishes Cigar Aficionado, Whisky Advocate, Market Watch, Shanken News Daily, Shanken News Daily, Cannabis Edition and Shanken’s Impact Newsletter.  

The Wine Spectator Scholarship Foundation was formed in 1982 and hosts the annual Wine Experience events. Over the past four decades, the Foundation has raised more than $30 million to support various philanthropic programs in wine and food education. Foundation beneficiaries have included 924 scholarships and grants for students at the University of California, Davis; the Wine Spectator Learning Center at Sonoma State University; Washington State University’s Viticulture & Enology Program; the Culinary Institute of America; Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration; Florida International University’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management; and José Andrés’ Charity, World Central Kitchen.

About Napa Valley College
Napa Valley College prepares students for evolving roles in a diverse, dynamic, and interdependent world. The college is an accredited open-access, degree- and certificate-granting institution that is committed to student achievement through high-quality programs and services that are continuously evaluated and improved. The college serves students and the community in the following areas:  transfer courses, career-technical education and training, basic skills, and self-supporting contract education and community education classes. Napa Valley College is located at 2277 Napa-Vallejo Highway in Napa. Learn more at

About Napa Valley College Foundation
The Napa Valley College Foundation was founded in 1968 to increase community awareness and provide financial support for the Napa Valley College and its students.  The Foundation engages the Napa Valley community by cultivating relationships, leveraging partnerships, and inviting generosity for Napa Valley College. The Foundation’s Board of Directors includes professional, business, and philanthropic leaders who have a dedicated interest in the College and its students.  The Napa Valley College Foundation is an independent California nonprofit, public benefit corporation and is tax-exempt as provided by IRS Sec. 501 (c)3.  Federal ID# 23-7003565. Learn more at

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