Intercollegiate Wine Business Invitational

Sign Up NowCompetition Overview:

  • Participating schools form their class (or classes) into team of +/- 6 students. Another option is to have one team, with as many students as they like, create a class project. Cost for participation is the same in either case.
  • Teams from participating universities and colleges will compete to create business plans, cost of goods and pricing financials and a label for a table wine of their choice (origin, variety/blend, red/white/rose at team’s discretion) that will retail for $25-40.00 USD. Each team will prepare and submit documentation in 3 key areas for their wine/winery:
    • Business Plan – Each team provides the mission, vision and goals of the winery, outline sales and marketing strategies and conduct a competitive analysis for their wine. A TEMPLATE is provided for them to use VIEW BUSINESS PLAN TEMPLATE
    • Financial Plan for working up cost of goods, establishing wine FOB selling price, plus distribution and pricing financials for establishing selling price of the wine in retail stores, online and restaurants.
    • Wine Label including winery name, wine name and information that meets Certificate of Label Approval standards (both front and back labels including the wine and winery name, verbiage, label graphics,and legal information).
  • Intentions, expectations and learning takeaways for participants
    • Intentions: The IWBI provides a hands-on learning opportunity for hospitality, wine business and general business students by creating an engaging and realistic wine business recreation environment. Participation in the IWBI will result in future winemakers, marketers and buyers in both restaurant and retail environments that have the advantage of understanding how this complex and fascinating industry works In turn they will have greater value in their future roles as professionals in every area of viticulture, wine production, marketing, sales or as buyer for stores, e-tailers or restaurant.
    • Expectations: The elements of the competition are set up in a way that each participant on a team, regardless of their general wine knowledge, can focus their attention on various elements of product ideation, brand development production costs, packaging development and decisions, and supply chain costs and considerations in a fun business while also learning to work together as a team to create the business plan, financials and final packaging of their team project for evaluation by the judging committees. Individuals are encouraged to further explore and research any processes, wine vernacular, or procedures from beginning to end of the wine supply and value chains, from the areas of viticulture, grapes, wine production, aging and cellaring, packaging, marketing, distribution and sales. For example, if they come across “oak alternatives” in the production process, and do not understand what that means, they can research the topic to make an informed decision on the topic while looking at the cost and quality implications. Here is an example of a balanced study of this topic. the team can then discuss and employ critical thinking to determine if this might be a process suitable for their project in achieving their financial goals and product quality.
    • Takeaways include understanding the wine supply chain and learning what the financial effects of key decisions at any point along the supply chain has on cost of goods, pricing and marketing a wine. The additional benefit is learning more about, and gaining a greater appreciation for, wine language, viticulture, winemaking and more detailed aspects of what truly goes into the production of a bottle of wine.
  • Production criteria for the wine is 5,000 cases of a wine of their choice that will retail for $25 to $40 per bottle via the 3 tier distribution system (see full details below). The origin can be any state or region giving the opportunity for schools in different states to create a product demonstrating their pride in local wines. The wine expectation is is to be nationally distributed primarily through the 3-tier distribution channel with considerations for logistics, costs, taxes, distributor markups necessary to achieve the target price point.
  • Wine Business Education (WBE) Financial Workbooks: The key financial component of the competition is our online suite of WBE financial calculators (aka Workbooks). A separate account will be set up for each team and the faculty advisors will be set up as account administrators. They will receive login credentials, instructions and support to create their project financials to develop the finished cost of goods for their wine and a pricing calculator. The system we will set up will allow them to create, save, recall and edit their projects.
  • NOTE: For an overview of the Financial Calculators:


2020 IWBI Timeline:

Dates Task Notes
Tues Sept 1st Advisor Update Email with links to Business Plan template, Advisor and IWBI web pages, instructions, timeline, grading criteria and expectations
Sept 7 -11 Pre Launch Week Finalize teams, ideas, biz plan template and rules. Each school to determine specific launch day according to schedule.
Tues, Sept 15th IWBI Launch User and Admin access to WBE Financial Workbooks
    Approx 5 weeks for system learning, online tutorials and teams working on projects
Fri, Oct 30 Final project submissions Business Plan, Label and Financials submitted
Fri, Nov 13th Announcement of awards Two week judging period


Introduction and overview, basic steps

  • Teams
    • 5-6 student members are recommended for each team
    • Teams are encouraged to assign ROLES for each member (areas of responsibility with team input on all decisions)
      • CEO (team leader)
      • Production/operations (overall responsibility for Cost of Goods calculator)
      • Winemaker (production/barrel aging decisions going into the Cost of Goods calculators)
      • Marketing (wine and winery name, label)
      • Sales (Pricing Calculator)
      • Business Director (Business Plan)
  • Wine criteria:
    • $25.00 – $40.00 retail shelf price
    • Blush, rose, white or red table wine
    • Any state in the US as origin
    • 5,000 case production level
    • Grape costs, blend percentages, production costs and decisions, barrel-aging program (if any), packaging costs entered into the WBE Cost of Goods Financial Calculator
    • The Cost of Goods financials will be submitted for judging, and scores will be provided back to faculty advisor for grading as needed.
  • Wine Label (front and back) can be created using any program (Publisher, Word, Powerpoint, Illustrator, etc.) and must include:
    • Winery and wine name
    • Artwork
    • Legal elements (alcohol, origin, etc.)
    • Converted to a PDF for final submission
  • Business Plan will include mission, vision and goals, competitive analysis, market analysis, product description, distribution plan, sales plan and marketing plan. The business plan must provide information from the Cost of Goods financials: grape source and costing, market research, competitive analysis and more. The Plan Template is available for download below.


Judging Criteria

  • Separate panels of industry experts, journalists, etc. will judge each component of the competition: Business Plan, Financials, Label
  • Evaluation parameters will be finalized by each panel of judges and our committee
  • Evaluation with constructive comments and scoring based on 100 points will be returned for review and grading by faculty
  • Awards will be given in each category with Grand Prize for best overall project




Instructions and tutorials

  • Advisors for each team will have the login and password for each team, or contact Tim Hanni MW directly if needed or you have any problems accessing your account! tim@timhanni.com or 707-337-0327
  • Directions for logging in (here), creating, saving and recalling financial workbooks will be provided.
  • Each team will be assigned a teamname@winebusinesseducation.com email for access to financial calculators.


Resources for team research:


Contact Tim Hanni MW for more information: 707-337-0327 or tim@timhanni.com

Winning teams (Grand Prize, Best Business Plan, Best Wine Label, Best Costs of Goods Financial) receive a decanter trophy generously provided by Riedel, The Wine Glass Company