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Jeffry Wiesinger ’23
Alumni Spotlight: Master’s in Wine and Beverage Management
Chef Jeffry Wiesinger ’23 is Among the Hospitality Professionals Benefiting from CIA’s Master’s Program
Award-winning Chef Jeffry Wiesinger—who co-owns Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ with his wife, Kathleen, in Paso Robles, CA—is passionate about food, wine, and his community. Starting in the industry as a dishwasher at age 15, he went on to earn associate and bachelor’s degrees in culinary arts and food-service management. Fast-forward a couple of decades: Having established himself as a successful chef and business owner, Wiesinger was searching for potential alternate revenue streams during the pandemic when he decided to head back to school, this time attending the Culinary Institute of America (CIA). There, he earned his latest achievement, a Master of Professional Studies in Wine and Beverage Management. The unique program combines the theory and tasting of global wines with the fundamentals of business and strategy; delivered primarily online, its curriculum includes global wine tasting kits shipped to students’ homes combined with week-long in-person residencies in Napa, CA.
“Earning a master’s degree and attending CIA were always lifelong goals of mine,” he says. “I discovered CIA’s master’s degree program in Wine and Beverage Management in early 2021. It was at that point that I decided to pursue the program from one of the most prestigious hospitality and culinary institutes in the world.”
The hard work was worth it. “There’s no way to sugarcoat it—balancing life, career, and school is incredibly difficult,” Wiesinger acknowledges. “I owe a great deal to my wife, my team at work, and my network of friends and associates for helping me balance the workload with my personal responsibilities and career.” Of particular value were the Napa residencies, where “the opportunity to meet my classmates in person and share some of the most incredible wine experiences of our lives was very special,” he recalls. “We were able to forge tight bonds that helped make the program much more interesting and enjoyable rather than simply completing the assignments online alone.”
His favorite part of the program? Getting to create a house wine for Jeffry’s Wine Country BBQ as his capstone project. That wine, named Surrender to the Flow, has been a huge hit, and Wiesinger plans to work with local winemakers to create more unique and delicious blends. “Between the knowledge and the confidence that I have gained through the program, I look forward to continuing to grow my business [while] looking for opportunities to expand into other segments of the food and beverage industry,” he said. “Earning this advanced academic degree has bolstered my entrepreneurial spirit and given me the confidence to pursue other ventures.”