A Business Case for Wine Tourism


Paul Wagner

Instructor: Napa Valley College & Wine Marketing Consultant

Paul Wagner 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.

He has been an instructor for Napa Valley College’s Viticulture and Enology department for more than nearly thirty years, is a guest lecturer at many universities around the world, and has spoken at more than eighty conferences.

His first book, co-authored with Liz Thach and Janeen Olsen, Wine Marketing & Sales, Strategies for a Saturated Market by The Wine Appreciation Guild, 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.  His second book: Wine Sales and Distribution, with John Crotts and Byron Marlowe, by Rowman and Littlefield, won the Gourmand Award for 2019, and its second edition is due out in early 2024. A third book, Artisan Public Relations, was published in 2020. In 2019 he recorded a series of lectures on wine for the Great Courses program at the Teaching Company: “The Instant Sommelier,” and in 2020 recorded a series of lectures on wine for Audible: “The Story of Wine in Ten Glasses.” His recent series of mystery novels have won critical acclaim.

Paul Wagner has been a judge at more than 100 international wine competitions. He was inducted into the Spadarini della Castellania di Soave in 2005, and in 2009 he was honored with a “Life Dedicated to Wine” award at the Feria Nacional del Vino (FENAVIN) in Spain. In 2018 he was given the American Wine Society’s annual Award of Merit, joining such luminaries as Robert Mondavi and Gina Gallo, and was named the winner of the McPherson Distinguished Teacher Award at Napa Valley College.

Mr. Wagner founded Balzac Communications & Marketing on April 1, 1991. His 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.  He is now retired from active duty at the agency and enjoys the title of President Emeritus there, and serves as Senior Advisor, Wine Tourism for Expedia Cruises.