MSc in Cognac Spirits & Wine Management

Business Education in Top French Exports

In France, we practice Art de Vivre (the art of living) – an approach to daily life that incorporates beauty, culture, flavour and connection. This is such a core part of our culture that France is recognised by UNESCO for Intangible Cultural Heritage in gastronomy (the art of food and drink).

This programme teaches you how to translate the tradition of Art de Vivre into a thriving business as is done in the French wine industry and Cognac – the only region in the world where Cognac is made, and the heart of the distilled spirits industry.

Build the operational focus and experience you need to run a successful business embodying French Art de Vivre:

  • Gain knowledge in fields needed to run an international business such as finance, marketing, strategy and intercultural management
  • Develop expertise in the production process, including distillation, aging and blending
  • Learn how to market a luxury lifestyle, weaving together customer experience, story, branding and the senses
  • Build knowledge of distribution practices and regulations, including import/export markets and trade
  • Master the culture and flavour of wine and premium French spirits, learning to create food pairings, mixed drinks and other products that resonate with key markets
  • Acquire training in a well-established Cognac market with huge potential for international growth

Apply now

Key information

DEGREE EARNED

Master of Science in Cognac, Spirits and Wine Management

LANGUAGE

English

FORMAT

MSc: Terms 1 and 2 can be done online or in-person ; Term 3 can be done anywhere in the world

Extended MSc: Online from July to August 2021; online or in-person from mid-August 2021 to July 2022; Term 3 can be done anywhere in the world

Some courses may only be available in one format (online or in-person)

PROGRAMME START

MSc: 18 October 2021

Extended MSc: 5 July 2021

ELIGIBILITY

Proficiency in English

MSc: 4-year bachelor's degree in business or engineering OR exceptionally a 4-year degree in another field with business experience or academic honours

Extended MSc: 3-year or 4-year degree in any field 

DURATION

MSc: 9 months of classes + 4-6 months internship, company mission or research project

Extended MSc: 12 months of classes + 4-6 months internship, company mission or research project

TUITION

MSc: €16,000

Extended MSc: €20,000

Programme

This programme is delivered in partnership between Audencia and the Cognac-producing region of Charente. You’ll split your time between these two partners for a combination of academic, cultural and on-site industry training:

  • Foundational business and management training
  • Courses in French Art de Vivre
  • Specialised operational courses in spirits management
  • Luxury marketing education
  • Tasting and pairing workshops
  • Master’s dissertation on an issue in Cognac and spirits management
  • Internship or company mission

Audencia Business School: Triple accredited, internationally recognised provider of innovative, collaborative and responsible business education in Nantes, France, with close proximity to established wineries

Cognac-Producing Region of Charente: The Silicon Valley of premium spirits, where Cognac and other well-known distilled spirits like Grey Goose and Cîroc are made

If you’re a highly qualified student with a four-year degree in business or engineering, this MSc programme lets you run at full throttle to complete a Master of Science in Cognac, Spirits and Wine Management. If you have a degree in a field other than business or a three-year degree, the Extended programme is for you.

Term 1 (October to January)

Business & Management Fundamentals

  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Finance
  • International Strategy
  • Global Marketing
  • Managing Across Cultures
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Ethics
  • Managerial Coaching
  • Research Methods in Business

Introduction to French Art de Vivre

  • French Art de Vivre, Myth or Reality?
  • French Terroir: Products and Brands
  • Optional: French language courses

Term 2 (February to July)

Business of International Distilled Spirits & Wine

Through this course you will gain an overview of the diversity of distilled spirits and wines marketed worldwide. You will also develop a distinguished palette (through smell, taste, etc.) to recognise and differentiate distilled spirits.

Activities include: field visits, meeting distributors, tasting workshops with renowned professionals and more.

Exporting & Importing Distilled Spirits & Wine

This course provides you with an analysis (customs, distribution system, consumption and culture) of the current key markets for distilled spirits and wine: Asia and the United States. It also gives you insight into emerging markets.

International Economic Models of Distilled Spirits & Wine

This course will give you an understanding of how the wine and distilled spirits industry is financially structured (international groups, investments, etc.). You will then go further, developing your knowledge of how this structure affects employment.

Cognac: From Tradition to Innovation

You will have the opportunity to work with famous producers throughout the cycle of this course. The curriculum includes hands-on workshops with world-famous Cognac producers and visits to their properties. During the course, you will acquire in-depth knowledge of Cognac, both the spirit and region, including:

  • Historical and cultural significance
  • Evolution of production
  • Key selling points of a range of products bearing the brand
  • Upcoming challenges
  • Planned changes for this premium spirit

Pairing Food & Spirits

In this course, you’ll take your introductory training in French Art de Vivre and further develop it specifically within the context of spirits. You must know your product before marketing it or creating an experience with it. This hands-on experience helps you get to know the key selling points of these luxury spirits – and how to innovate with them to best address customer needs. In these classes, you will learn to:

  • Build skills in the art of tasting
  • Master the techniques of cocktail
  • Learn the pairing of fine food and cocktails as a uniquely French gastronomic experience
  • Experience cocktail and food tastings with renowned professionals

Luxury Marketing: Wine, Distilled Spirits & Champagne 

Master marketing strategies and codes specific to the luxury industry:

  • Brand marketing: learn what a brand brings to your business, particularly within the context of wine, spirits and champagne, and, for comparison, other elements of Art de Vivre
  • Customer experience: learn how to create appropriate customer experiences in France and in other countries to personify wine, spirits and champagne as part of Art de Vivre
  • Storytelling/history telling: learn to convert product and service information into stories and histories that connect with your audience – and how to adapt these stories to the environment of another country

Branding French Spirits & Wine in an International Market 

“Made in France” is a sign of success, quality and premium product. Learn how France has been able to specialise in luxury goods (niche markets) and how to leverage this when marketing French products in other countries.

Digital Management in Distilled Spirits & Wine

Learn how to apply business techniques using digital tools to help develop a business. We’ll also cover channels and styles of communication specific to the wine and distilled spirits industry. Topics include:

  • Online marketing
  • Big data management
  • Online brand management
  • SEO/SEA
  • Social networks
  • “Virtual” experiences
  • Special events
  • Disruption
  • Innovation

Global Leadership in International Alcoholic Beverages 

Working within the business of wine and distilled spirits, you’ll need management knowledge of the wider industry of French Art de Vivre. Learn how to:

  • Manage a multicultural team in the Art de Vivre and spirits industries
  • Work with “stars” (such as top chefs) around the world
  • Work with French producers, distributors and other stakeholders within the wider French Art de Vivre industry

Term 3 (July to December)

(Minimum 4 months, maximum 6 months)

During your final Term, you will complete an individual internship, a collective company mission for a company, or a research project. This is an opportunity for you to further develop your expertise. Our career services consultants, strong corporate network, and successful Alumni network will support you in making your professional objectives a reality.

Internship

Audencia has built a strong network of corporate partners in the spirits management industry. You have the option of going to work in a relevant company as an intern, where you’ll learn how to do a specific job.

Company mission

Another way to accomplish this part of your programme is the company mission, in which you’ll join a team and work on a consulting project for a company under the supervision of an Audencia professor and consultant. Audencia and partner companies will propose a number of consulting projects on real-life business and management issues in international spirits management.

Research Project

Instead, you may choose to work on a research project with a faculty member, delving into research questions applied to concrete company problems.

The Cognac region is truly the Silicon Valley of premium spirits, with 1,000+ companies in a 5,000km² area. This is the place where Cognac, Grey Goose, Cîroc and a wide and ever-growing selection of luxury liquors, gins and whiskies are made. It is a place of tradition and innovation. A wealth of opportunities are available to you within this area.

Worldwide opportunities are also available. We welcome you to work in any country of interest!

Concurrent with Terms 2 and 3 (February to December)

Your project is the culmination of your programme experience. Through this written work, you will demonstrate the techniques and principles you’ve learned in the form of a written work, frequently linked to your internship/company mission/research project. Previous Audencia graduates have presented their dissertations to convert into full-time employment with the company of internship/mission.

Purpose

Through this project, you’ll address a particular business/management issue in the Cognac, spirits and/or wine industry. Your written work have an international focus. This master’s dissertation will show that you can design, conduct and report on a piece of practice-related research that combines academic research methods with practical recommendations.

Personal guidance

You will be matched with a supervisor who will provide personal guidance throughout the life of your project.

Independent learning

You will have tutorials with your supervisor, but the bulk of your work will be self-managed. Your project is a substantial piece of individual work that requires extensive initiative and independent learning.

While your programme is 100% English-taught, you have the option of adding French to your steadily increasing list of qualifications – for work or for fun!

You will have the opportunity to take optional French language courses in September 2021 before the programme begins. Audencia offers a four-week French language course with 20 hours of lessons a week for an additional cost of €600.

You may also learn independently at any time using your exclusive online access to Assimil, a proven intuitive language learning method, provided at no additional cost.

Additionally, you can choose to attend French as a Foreign Language (FLE) evening classes at the University of Nantes’ language department, which is situated just across the road from our main campus. There are a wide range of levels available. Contact the University of Nantes directly to register. Register early to secure your place.

If you have a four-year bachelor’s degree in a business or engineering field, you can skip this stage and dive directly into the MSc programme. Note that the Extended MSc is still strongly recommended for anyone without a degree in business in order to ensure you begin your studies at the same level as your peers.

If you have a four-year bachelor’s degree in a field other than business or a three-year bachelor’s degree in any field, you will need to successfully complete an additional 30 ECTS from July to October as part of the Extended MSc before starting the core MSc programme courses mid-October.

During this additional 30 ECTS term, you will follow one of two tracks:

For those with a three-year bachelor’s degree in the field of business, the Extended MSc will allow you to deepen your business knowledge, improve your soft skills, learn how to work in multicultural teams and acquire knowledge on the latest business innovations.

Information technology & Fundamentals in management:

You’ll start online (5 July-15 August) with a look at innovation in business through three courses in information technology and fundamentals in management.

Starting 18 August, you will join us on campus to study in-person, or continue your classes online.

Mandatory business courses:

  • Business Simulation
  • Contemporary Economics
  • Working in Multicultural Teams
  • Business English or French as a Foreign Language

Electives:

Then, you can choose two electives to advance your knowledge:

  • International Business Law
  • EU Commercial Relations
  • Geopolitics in Trade
  • Management of International Trade Operations
  • Geopolitics in Trade

Once you’ve completed the 30 ECTS from July to October, you're ready to start the MSc courses.

For those with a three-year or four-year bachelor’s degree in a non-business field, the Extended MSc is the opportunity to gain a solid understanding of the foundational principles of management, improve your soft skills, learn how to work in multicultural teams and acquire knowledge on the latest business innovations.

Information technology & Fundamentals in management:

You’ll start online (5 July-15 August) with a look at innovation in business through three courses in information technology and fundamentals in management.

Core courses:

Starting 18 August, you may join us on campus or continue your studies online to study seven core business courses to acquire a solid foundation for your future MSc programme. You will explore each subject in depth and test your knowledge through extensive business simulations.  

  • Business Simulation
  • Working in Multicultural Teams
  • Contemporary Economics
  • Principles of Accounting
  • Principles of Finance
  • Business English or French as a Foreign Language

Once you’ve completed the 30 ECTS from July to October, you're ready to start the MSc courses.

95%
Employed students hired within 2 months of graduation
15,000 +
Internships and job offers per year

Audencia & Cognac

This powerful partnership provides you with training from the best in both industry and academia. The knowledge, experience and vast network you’ll gain will prepare you to enter or climb in the exciting spirits management industry.  

Quality

Audencia is amongst the elite 1% of business schools worldwide to hold triple accreditation from EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA. A world leader in corporate social responsibility, we were the first French business school to adhere to the UN’s Global Compact and sign the Principles of Responsible Management Education, which we also helped define. We bridge the gap between passion and business, pairing creativity with meaningful and effective action.

Network

Through our network, you’ll work with faculty members who have extensive industry experience, researchers who specialise in a diverse range of fields and corporate partners in need of real solutions. We’re constantly developing innovative collaborations that expand our network, such as our alliance with other leading institutions in Nantes that unite and enrich engineering, management, architecture and creativity. Our partnership with the Cognac region gives you access to premium partners in the industry.

Life

A well-connected modern city with old-world flair, Nantes, France, is recognised by the EU for quality of life. The entire Loire Valley region is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Learn more about life at Audencia.

Experience

There is only one place in the world where Cognac is made – and you’ll spend the second term of your programme here. First made in the sixteenth century, Cognac has climbed to luxury status. Built on centuries of craft and tradition, this region is the perfect place to learn the secrets of what happens when Art de Vivre meets international trade.  

Resources

Known as the Silicon Valley of distilled spirits, this region is home to 1,000+ companies, representing 1,200 direct jobs and 8 billion euros annual turnover. Furthermore, from an operational perspective, the region is booming with cork manufacturers, cooperages (makers of wooden casks/barrels), printers, designers, glass manufacturers and more.

Growth

The Cognac region is a hotbed of creativity and growth in the distilled spirits industry. The most iconic examples are vodkas like Grey Goose and Cîroc, but there is also growth in liquors, gins and whiskies. The Cognac region is rich in tradition and practice, as well as being an exciting location for innovation.

Life

The Cognac region of Southwestern France is steeped in the tradition of Art de Vivre. Here, you’ll build your hands-on knowledge, as well as your understanding of the importance of craft and experience. You’ll have the chance to explore this storied region and its idyllic scenery while housed with a local family, for a completely authentic experience. 

Audencia Faculty

Faculty members at Audencia are incredibly diverse, with 50% of professors representing 27 countries outside of France. Many have backgrounds in industry; their work is published in internationally recognised academic journals and business publications and they regularly act as consultants to a wide range of business entities, including start-ups, non-profits, NGOs, SMEs and multinational corporations.

All faculty members work within the frame of corporate social responsibility (CSR), advancing responsible best practices for the business world. Areas of expertise are many and typically fall into one or more of the following research departments:

  • Business and Society
  • Communication and Culture
  • Finance
  • Management
  •  Marketing 

Meet Audencia faculty members

Career & Alumni

The Master of Science in Cognac, Spirits and Wine Management gives you training and experience in the French Art de Vivre industry, such as distilled spirits. Depending on the direction of your thesis and internship or company mission, this programme prepares you to climb within your current company, accept a management position at another company or start your own company as an entrepreneur. 

  • French Art de Vivre
  • Spirits import/export 
  • Luxury goods and services 
  • Distribution
  • Business
  • Advertising

Examples of positions this degree prepares you for include:

  • Brand ambassador
  • Export manager
  • Trade marketing manager
  • Business developer
  • Product marketing manager
  • Marketing and communication manager
  • Master blender
  • Trade manager

Through the Master of Science in Cognac, Spirits and Wine Management, you’ll build a global network of peers and potential employers. Audencia is highly international, boasting partnerships with 175+ corporate partners and 190+ global academic partners. At Audencia, 34% of students come from outside of France, representing 100+ countries.

During this programme, you’ll meet and work with professionals in a range of other French Art de Vivre/luxury and related industries. In addition to your internship or company mission, a roster of guest speakers and industry partners will contribute to your learning and assessment activities. This offers you the chance to network with industry professionals and meet potential role models and mentors throughout your stays in Nantes and the Cognac region.

 

 

An international professional network

Throughout your programme and after graduation, you’ll have access to the large, international, professional network of Audencia’s Career Services Department.

Audencia’s Career Services team – with international corporate backgrounds – will help you throughout the entire career development process. You will have access to:

  • Individual career coaching and advising
  • 90,000+ employment opportunities posted each year on our dedicated intranet
  • Employment fairs with 120+ companies
  • CV workshops
  • Interview preparation and mock interviews
  • Panel discussions with professionals and alumni
  • Assessment centre preparation
  • Personal development programme on topics including leadership skills, communication skills, ethics, intercultural management and networking
  • Auditing sector fair
  • Information resources and online tools
  • Access to 100+ career events on various topics

Audencia also has a business incubator available to programme graduates interested in pursuing entrepreneurial goals.

Audencia Alumni

Join the nearly 27,000 Audencia alumni working in 110 countries. Audencia Alumni includes 31 professional and cultural clubs in France and 40 international chapters. Furthermore, over 2,000 of our alumni have become CEOs.

The alumni association will help you connect with other professionals and provide additional development and networking opportunities to support your career.

Admissions and Finance

Apply now

Join us! Here is a breakdown of everything you’ll need to make it smoothly through the application process. Admissions are open until the programme is full; however, we strongly recommend applying by the early-application deadline of 31 January.

MSc programme:

  • Proficiency in English
  • 4-year bachelor’s degree in business or engineering, or exceptionally, a 4-year degree in another field with business experience or academic honours

The Extended MSc strongly recommended for applicants without a degree in business.

Extended MSc programme:

  • Proficiency in English   
  • 3-year or 4-year degree in any field

Note that you can apply during the last year of your bachelor’s studies.

At Audencia Business School, Corporate Social Responsibility is at the very heart of our values; in order to ensure equal treatment of applications during the admission process, we grade the application files using a 100-point system, tied to a set of objective criteria:

1. GPA conversion

  • Converted to US system of 0-4.0 (55% of the final score)

2. English proficiency

  • TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS tests (up to 40%)
  • English-taught programme for bachelor’s degree (up to 20%)
  • Native speaker (40%)

3. Professional experience in months (up to 5%)

  • 1-12 months (1%)
  • 13-36 months (3%)
  • Over 36 months (5%)

We also award bonus points for the following criteria:

  • Ranked school (ARWU/QS/THE) or accredited school (AACSB/EQUIS/AMBA/ABET) (5%)
  • Country of origin not represented in the class in the past two years (5%)
  • French B2 language level and above (5%)
  • GMAT above 500 or GRE above 300 (5%)

You may begin your online application at any time; you can save it and make changes before submitting. Admissions are open until the programme is full; however, we strongly recommend applying by the early-application deadline of 31 January for the September intake.

In addition to the online application, you will be required to submit the following documents:

  • CV and cover letter in English
  • Copies of diplomas and academic transcripts
  • English test score (TOEFL, TOEIC, IELTS)*
  • Copy of identity document (e.g. passport)
  • Photo (jpeg, 346 x 366 pixels)
  • Online interview (scheduled shortly after submitting the online application if you qualify)

*English test scores are not required for native speakers or applicants who have completed their undergraduate degrees in English. Contact us if you have a different English test score or are planning to take a test later in the year.

1. Submitting your application

Complete the online application (recommended by 31 January for the September intake). Upon completion, you’ll pay the €100 application fee using any major credit card. If you cannot use a credit card, you may contact the Department of International Affairs for alternatives.

Your application will be evaluated within seven days. If you qualify, step two will also occur within seven days of your application.

2. Admission interview

At a prearranged time, you will have a 15-20 minute exchange with an admissions counsellor to assess your level of English and make sure that you are a good fit for the programme.

3. Admission decision
Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis. You should have a decision immediately following your interview. If your application is borderline and requires further review by the programme director, you will have an admission decision within eight days of your interview. Please do expect some delay during holidays.

4. Acceptance
Congratulations! If admitted, you’re invited to officially join the programme. You’ll sign a contract and pay the first instalment of the tuition fees: €1,500 (non-refundable).

Please contact our admissions office with further questions.

You may begin your online application at any time; you can save it and make changes before submitting. Admissions are open until the programme is full; however, we strongly recommend applying by the early-application deadline of 31 January for the September intake.

Master of Science in Cognac, Spirits and Wine Management
MSc€16,000
Extended MSc €20,000

Other costs linked to school fees

  • Application fee: €100.
  • Costs such as visa fees, CVEC, supplementary health insurance, transportation, accommodation and meals are to be paid directly by the student. Visit Student Life to learn more.

We award €500,000+ in scholarships per year, giving high-performing students around the world the chance to study in a world-class environment. In light of the global crisis, Audencia is investing unprecedented funds in scholarships to help you to pursue your goals. This is a reflection of our commitment to global responsibility – and our belief in you as the next generation of leaders.

ScholarshipAmountDetails
Early Application: Solidarity€1,500Applications before 31 Jan
€1,000Applications before 28 Feb
€500Applications before 31 Mar
Diversity€4,000 For underrepresented nationalities
Excellence€5,000Merit-based scholarship, selection based on academic excellence, test scores and other criteria

* The awarding of scholarships is subject to availability of funds and final decision from the Audencia scholarship committee. The scholarships are awarded in the form of partial tuition fee waivers to students who are admitted but who have not yet started the programmes. Scholarships, waivers and awards are not cumulative. If two are awarded to the same student, only the one with the highest amount will be kept unless otherwise stated.

 

 

In addition to an Audencia scholarship, you may be eligible for funding by other public or private bodies. You will find some examples here.