With a booming wine industry in Linfield’s backyard, administrators and vintners worked to inform students about internship positions at local wineries through panel discussions May 12 and 14.
Kristi Mackay, career services program coordinator, said she was asked to coordinate the panels by Victoria McGillin, creator of the Wine Education Advisory Group and dean of faculty.
“Because the wine industry is this dynamic, amazing industry, and we’re in the middle of it, we’re trying to figure out how Linfield and the wine industry can work together to help each other out,” Mackay said.
The panel consisted of six Linfield alumni who graduated between 1995-2007.
The May 12 panel focused on the ownership structure of wineries, and alumni discussed what qualities they seek in their staff employees. Mackay said this discussion made it apparent that these alumni appreciate liberal arts students, and Linfield students in general, because they know how to think.
The May 14 panel hosted what Mackay described as younger alumni, or those who graduated within the last 10 years, and focused on how they got started in the wine industry. Mackay said the panel members discussed traits they look for in an employee, such as assertiveness, the ability to multitask, willingness to get your hands dirty and the importance of networking.
KC Marold, direct sales manager of Panther Creek Cellars and a 2007 Linfield graduate, also stressed the importance of networking in the wine industry profession.
Marold said she is happy to help others interested in the profession and that she likes to talk to people about it, especially college students.
Residence Life will offer a wine seminar to students at Panther Creek Cellars on May 17. Marold said she is excited to talk to Linfield students about the basics of wine tasting and help them understand its complexities.
Mackay and Marold said they would like to see the relationship between the wine industry and the college grow in the future.
“It’s really exciting that we might be able to develop some sort of program that would involve Linfield and the wine industry and some sort of experiences for our students,” Mackay said.
Regardless of how the relationship develops, both agree it is a shame something hasn’t developed sooner.
“To look at what we’re doing now and to think, ‘Why weren’t we doing this five years ago?’ just seems like such a natural fit together,” Mackay said.
While panel attendance wasn’t as high Mackay had hoped, she said that the low numbers weren’t because of a lack of student interest but because of scheduling conflicts.
Several internships in the wine industry are available to students. More information can be found by going to the Career Services Web page or by contacting Mackay.