Tim Matz was recently named Domaine Serene Chair in Wine Business and Director of the Evenstad Center for Wine Education at Linfield University. ##PHOTO BY TIMOTHY D. SOFRANKO/LINFIELD UNIVERSITY

Linfield Hires

Wine executive now leads school’s wine program

A longtime senior executive in the wine industry, Tim Matz was recently named Domaine Serene Chair in Wine Business and Director of the Evenstad Center for Wine Education at Linfield University.

“This is an exciting and important moment for wine education at Linfield,” says the university’s president, Miles 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.”

With extensive experience in the global wine business, Matz 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, he served as executive vice president and general manager of Zonin USA, a subsidiary of Italy’s largest privately owned wine company. Matz was also 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 says he’s eager to help build a world-class center of wine education. Currently, there are only three comprehensive wine programs in the U.S., he says, 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 says. “It could be and should be sought after from students around the world interested in pursuing a wine career.”

Matz started his 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 liqueur, 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 explains. “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 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, says 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 says. “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, feels 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 École Supérieure d’Agricultures (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 online wine management and wine marketing certificates and provides a summer wine-industry immersion program.

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