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Education: studied sociology and education at U. C. Santa Cruz and classical guitar with Dona America Martinez of the Royal Conservatory of Music in Seville, Spain. 


Teaching: Instructor for Napa Valley College's Viticulture and Winery Technology Department for nearly thirty years.  He is also a guest lecturer at many universities, including the Wintour MBA program in Europe, OIV Wine Marketing Master Class at UC Davis, and the Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. He has spoken at more than eighty conferences throughout the world on wine, wine tourism, wine education, public affairs, and wine marketing.

Books: With Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market by The Wine Appreciation Guild, which won the Gourmand International Award in 2008 for the best wine book of the year for professionals. The third edition of that work was published in 2019.  With John Crotts and Byron Marlowe, Wine Sales and Distribution, by Rowman and Littlefield, which won the Gourmand Award for 2019.  A third book, Artisan Public Relations, was published in July of 2020 by Board and  Bench. Columnist for Vineyard & Winery Management Magazine for ten years and served on the board of directors of the Society of Wine Educators for many years.  With Rick Kushman of Capital Public Radio, has hosted “Bottle Talk”  a weekly conversation about wine. In 2019 recorded a series of lectures on wine for the Great Courses program at the Teaching Company: “The Instant Sommelier.” In 2020 recorded a series of lectures for Audible: A History of Wine in Ten Glasses. His first mystery novel, Danger: Falling Rocks, was published by Val de Grace Books in 2021. There are now a total of six novels in the series. 


Judge at more than 100 international wine competitions.  A founding member of the Academy of Wine Communications, a consultant for the International Wine and Food Society in London, a member of the nominations committee of the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintner’s Hall of Fame, and a member of the Wine Marketing and Tourism Conference Advisory Board. Inducted into the Spadarini della Castellania di Soave in 2005.  In 2009 honored with a “Life Dedicated to Wine” award at the Feria Nacional del Vino (FENAVIN) in Spain, and in 2018 was given the American Wine Society’s annual Award of Merit, joining such luminaries as Robert Mondavi and Gina Gallo, as well as named the winner of the McPherson Distinguished Teacher Award at Napa Valley College.


Founded Balzac Communications & Marketing on April 1, 1991.  Clients there included the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux, Caymus Vineyards, Seagram Chateau and Estate Wines, Consorzio di Chianti Classico, Furmint USA, La Rioja Alta A.S., Constellation Wines, Sogevinus of Portugal, and a host of other wine, food, and regional tourism clients.  Now retired from active duty at the agency with the title of President Emeritus.  Current Position: Senior Consultant Wine Tourism for Expedia Cruises. 

In the News

A story in the Sacramento Bee quoted me about the fires in Napa and Sonoma 

And so did a newscast on RTV--the Russian International Television network.  Hope you speak Russian!

Nice coverage of the Fresno State University Conference in November of 2020 about the wine industry and COVID19. 

Meininger's Wine Business International published an article I wrote based on my presentation at the World Bulk Wine Exhibiton in Amsterdam about how to sell wine. It was republished as one of their top ten articles of 2023.

PW at SLO thumbnail_IMG_5047.jpg



Bottle Talk with Rick and Paul 

Podcast recorded at Capital Public Radio in Sacramento.  



Expedia Cruises, Petaluma CA.

Great Courses:  The Instant Sommelier

 A series of introductory lectures on wine from the Teaching Company

Paul Wagner.  Wine Marketing and Sales, 3rd edition.  Paul Wagner, Liz Thach, and Janeen Olson.  Wine Appreciation Guild, San Francisco. CA.  (July 2019) Teaching guide available here.


Paul Wagner. Wine Sales and Distribution, Paul Wagner, John Crotts, and Byron Marlowe.  Rowman and Littlefield, Denver, CA.  (2019)


Paul Wagner. Artisan Public Relations Paul Wagner.  Board and Bench, Santa Rosa. CA.  (2020)



Advisory Board member, Bordeaux, FR



Advisory Board, Santa Rosa, CA

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