Record Number Earn CIA Accelerated Wine and Beverage Certificates

Agustin Huneeus-th

Celebrated Vintner Agustin Huneeus Encourages Graduates to Define American Wine Culture

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Jeff Levine
Communications Manager

St. Helena, CA – Twenty-five new wines professionals received their certificates from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA) on Friday, May 3, graduates of the college's Accelerated Wine and Beverage Certificate Program (AWBP). Eighteen of those graduates have already gone on to take—and pass—the Court of Master Sommelier Level 2 exam.

The program is held at the CIA's Greystone campus in St. Helena, CA, in the heart of the Napa Valley wine country. Over the course of eight months, students tasted more than 1,000 wines in class (and many more on their own), went on dozens of field trips, and learned from the CIA's expert wine faculty as well as more than 50 guest speakers. Classes focused on wines of the world, sensory analysis, and the professional business of wine, spirits, and mixology.

Vintner and entrepreneur Agustin Huneeus was the keynote speaker for the graduation ceremony. His Huneeus Vintners features numerous properties from his native Chile to the Sonoma coast and Napa—including Quintessa, one of California's most admired and successful appellations.

Huneeus told graduates that they'll be the ones defining the future of American wine culture.

"I stand in awe of the width and the depth of your preparation to take on this very special path that you have chosen," said Mr. Huneeus, whose career in wines has spanned more than 50 years and 15 countries, and included heading Seagram's worldwide wine operations. "While most of your generation is fixated on technology, on speed and pressure, you are dedicated to the aesthetics of life, to beauty, to pleasure. They make life faster. You make life better."

A recipient of Chile's highest civilian honor, the Servicios Meritorios a la Republica medal, Mr. Huneeus also earned the Distinguished Service Award from Wine Spectator magazine. He serves on the CIA's Vintners Hall of Fame Board of Stewards.

This was the largest graduating class for the CIA's AWBP, and the program continues to grow due to its popularity and reputation. The next class begins in September. Enrollees must be at least 21 years old with a bachelor's or associate degree in hospitality management, culinary arts management, or a related field; or a bachelor's degree and experience in a restaurant with a professional wine and beverage program. More information is at

Photo Caption and Hi-Res Image

Agustin Huneeus delivers the keynote address at the graduation ceremony for the Accelerated Wine and Beverage Program at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone on May 3, 2013. (Photo Credit: Charlie Gesell/CIA)
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Founded in 1946, The Culinary Institute of America is an independent, not-for-profit college offering associate and bachelor's degrees with majors in culinary arts, baking and pastry arts, and culinary science, as well as certificate programs in culinary arts and wine and beverage studies. As the world's premier culinary college, the CIA provides thought leadership in the areas of health & wellness, sustainability, and world cuisines & cultures through research and conferences. The CIA has a network of 45,000 alumni that includes industry leaders such as Grant Achatz, Anthony Bourdain, Roy Choi, Cat Cora, Dan Coudreaut, Steve Ells, Charlie Palmer, and Roy Yamaguchi. The CIA also offers courses for professionals and enthusiasts, as well as consulting services in support of innovation for the foodservice and hospitality industry. The college has campuses in Hyde Park, NY; St. Helena, CA; San Antonio, TX; and Singapore.

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