Oregon’s wine industry connects with Linfield students

Linfield College is involved in a project dedicated to preserving Oregon’s wine history. The Oregon Wine History Project (OWHP) is an online storehouse of photographs and information located in Nicholson Library, whereas the Oregon Wine History Archive is the physical repository.

“Through the Linfield Center for the Northwest, we have been looking for ways in which we could connect Linfield College to the Oregon Wine Community in a way that made sense for a liberal arts college,” Jeff Peterson, the associate professor of the department of sociology and anthropology said in an email.

Because McMinnville is located in the center of Oregon wine country and is home to the International Pinot Noir Celebration, there are many people who think it is important to document the development of Oregon’s wine industry. The Linfield Center for the Northwest wants to work together with members of the Oregon wine industry in order to accomplish this, because they are the ones who have physical documentation about Oregon’s early wine making years.

Peterson said he is excited to have students working with valuable members of Oregon’s wine industry.

“It is a great opportunity for our students to get to know and work with these people,” he said.

Peterson said Susan Sokol-Blosser, who owns the Sokol-Blosser Winery, first came to President Hellie and Peterson with the idea of the physical archive.

“She had a background as an archival historian and really wanted these materials preserved,” Peterson said.

The Linfield Center for the Northwest was able to find sufficient funds to remodel the archive space in Nicholson Library in order to expand the storage space with compact shelving. This project will also be of interest to some Linfield students by providing an opportunity for students to work on research projects related to Oregon’s wine industry.

“They say all politics is local and I figure history should be local. So I figure the best place for these materials is Linfield,” said Dick Erath of Erath Winery.

With a grant from an alumna, the Linfield Center for the Northwest is currently looking for a part-time archivist and a part-time museums person.

The archivist will “help organize and work on the archives, also to get materials up digitally,” Peterson said. “The museums person will work with students on yearly projects and have it be an educational component to the archives.”

While the Linfield Center for the Northwest received a grant, they are still looking for more funding in order to fill these positions.

Meghan O’Rourk/Opinion editor
Meghan O’Rourke can be reached at linfieldreviewopinion@gmail.com. 

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