Business, professional & real estate | Sonoma State grad joins Israels first online wine company

åFor Noam Steinhart, who holds a B.S. in wine business from Sonoma State, her career took off when she landed an internship in Israel with top sommelier Jessy Bodec.

“When the internship ended, he asked if I could come and work for a new online wine company in Tel Aviv,” called Devine. Now after 16 months of startup, Devine has sold thousands of bottles of wine from around the world to customers across Israel. Modeled on the wine clubs found in California, Devine offers customers a choice of six or 12 bottles per bimonthly shipment.

Steinhart, 24, had already worked in the industry when she earned her degree in December 2013. “I worked at Sonoma Wine Shop managing the bar and store, as well as the wine club,” she said. “These jobs provided me with some of the skill sets I needed to help launch Devine in Israel.”

Noam Steinhart brings academic skills to Israel’s burgeoning wine industry.

Born and raised in Israel, Steinhart moved to Palo Alto with her parents and three younger siblings at the age of 10. Growing up in a house where the kitchen was always the center of the family, she discovered her passion for the world of food and wine. She was drawn to Sonoma State’s Wine Business Institute because it integrated wine knowledge with business skills.

After graduating, she decided to move back to her roots in Tel Aviv and discover what her knowledge could bring to Israel’s burgeoning wine industry.

Israel is one of the oldest wine-producing countries in the world, with records showing winemaking in the region as early as 1800 BCE. Today Israel boasts more than 300 wineries, located in three major winegrowing areas: the Judean Hills between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, the Golan Heights in the north, and the Galilee. Because of the hot desert climate, the major grape varietals are cabernet sauvignon, merlot, syrah and sangiovese.

Devine, Israel’s first online wine company, sells wines from many of the local wineries, according to Steinhart, “but we also import wines from around the world, and then deliver directly to people’s houses.” She noted that shipping costs are not as high as in the United States.

Steinhart said that the wine club concept did not exist in Israel before Gali Feigin and Yael Avidor launched Devine. Although a fairly new company, Devine has already been featured on Israeli television and in numerous publications and recently sponsored Tel Aviv’s prestigious art festival, Fresh Paint. Devine also offers special events to club members as well as wine education courses.

When asked about her career goals, Steinhart said, “One of my career goals was to work in the wine industry in Israel. Now that I’m doing that, I’m having so much fun and learning a lot.

“As long as I’m working in the global wine industry, I’m sure I will be happy.”