Linfield helps organize wine archive

Amy Wesselman, International Pinot Noir Celebration executive director from 1999-2007, pours glasses of wine for guests during the 2008 event. The celebration has been occuring every year since 1987.
Photo courtesy of Rachael Woody

Linfield College recently received the Oregon Cultural Trust’s $8,000 Cultural Development Grant in order to revive and organize The Oregon Wine History Archive (OWHA).
Oregon culture has played a crucial role in our history and will continue to strengthen Oregon’s future through rich cultural commerce such as the Oregon Wine Industry. Linfield received this grant through a written proposal to the Oregon Cultural Trust, whose purpose is to support programs that help the public get access to the state’s culture.
“While the collection is still in the beginning stages, it will emerge as the largest and most comprehensive archive of any wine industry in the world,” said Rachael Woody, Linfield’s archivist and one of the main creators of the grant proposal.
The OWHA will eventually house information on all aspects of the wine industry, from planting the grapes to selling the wine.
Catharine Jarmin Miller, director of foundation and corporate relations and another main contributor to the grant proposal, referred to a quote from the grant proposal to demonstrate the importance of the archive. The proposal states, “As part of the larger
agricultural world, the growing and processing of wine grapes can be seen as a microcosm to study the relationships of divergent classes of people, human interaction with the land, and the industry’s growing importance to Oregon’s economy.”
Woody continued to explain why winning this grant was such a triumph.
“It is important that Linfield College take up the responsibility of stewardship for our local community’s history,” she said. “For the wine industry’s history specifically, we are at a pivotal time where the original pioneers are retiring and the next generation is taking over. Now is the time to collect as much history as we can before we lose invaluable founding documents, a lifetime of knowledge, and hours upon hundreds of hours of stories.”
Ultimately, the archive is expected to be a significant contribution to Linfield and the surrounding communities. An excerpt from the grant proposal states, “These digitized materials have been used by students in a variety of discipline, including history, food, science/technology, sociology/anthropology and agriculture/resource economics.”
“[The OWHA] is also a tremendous opportunity for students to get hands on experience and for students working with the archivist to learn how to preserve history and provide access through digital media,” Miller said.
The Oregon Wine History Archive will begin uploading digital content next month at

Alyssa Townsend
Opinion editor
Alyssa Townsend can be reached at

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