Display archives historic Willamette Valley wine roots

The exhibit, “Bringing Vines to the Valley,” a history project on the Willamette Valley wine industry, will be on display in Nicholson Library until Oct. 31. Sarah Hansen/Photo editor

The rich history of the early wine industry in the Willamette Valley is on display in an exhibit by the Linfield Center for Northwest Studies. The display is featured in Nicholson Library.
The exhibit, entitled “Bringing Vines to the Valley,” is the first in the Oregon Wine History Project, an undertaking by a collaboration of Linfield students and faculty.
Linfield seniors Barrett Dahl, Sara Juergensen and Dulce Kersting worked on the project during the summer, completing archival work, creating video and collecting artifacts to bring the project to fruition.
The exhibit features documents and photos compiled on panels, industry artifacts displayed in a glass case and videos available for viewing related to the early history of pinot noir in Yamhill Valley and Oregon wine pioneers.
“These are artifacts most people haven’t seen but that are big in the industry,” Juergensen said to an audience of Partners in Progress donors that viewed the exhibit Sept. 21.
Many local winery owners contributed to the project, including those from Ponzi Vineyards, Sokol Blosser Winery, Adelsheim Vineyard, Erath Winery, Amity Vineyards and Eyrie Vineyards.
Each winery included in the exhibit has its own panel, showcasing the different areas in which the winery owners specialize and are proud of, Juergensen said.
Juergensen, a history major, said she valued the opportunity to do hands-on history work, use primary sources, touch artifacts and interview local winery owners to collect an oral history.
“We were able to apply skills we picked up in the past four years at Linfield,” Dahl, an anthropology major, said. “[The Oregon Wine History Project] is the guinea pig project for the Linfield Center for the Northwest.”
The project is part of a series scheduled to become annual. Next year’s research topic is slated to be the 25th anniversary of McMinnville’s International Pinot Noir Celebration.
The purpose of the Linfield Center for the Northwest is to build a connection between the Pacific Northwest and the campus, Kersting said.
The objective of the center, according to its website, is to establish long-term experiential learning practices with students and to focus on local, regional and global intersections with the Pacific Northwest.
As a method of achieving this objective, the center promotes regionally oriented field experiences and collaborative research projects. The Oregon Wine History Project, in addition to three summer research projects in the fields of biology, education and mass communication serve as the center’s pilot projects.
The center will move to Northup Hall when the building’s renovations are complete.
“Bringing Vines to the Valley” will be exhibited in Nicholson Library through Oct. 31.

Gabi Nygaard/Staff reporter
Gabi Nygaard can be reached at linfieldreviewculture@gmail.com.

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