The Oregon Wine Industry Experience at Linfield is preparing students for wine industry careers. What makes the program unusual is its liberal arts approach, says The Oregonian.
The year-long program, funded in part by the prestigious James S. Kemper Foundation, will prepare students for professional careers in Oregon’s rapidly growing $2.7 billion wine industry. Students will participate in a Summer Wine Institute, fall harvest experience, January Term wine career exploration course, and spring internship at a Willamette Valley winery.
Summer Wine Institute
Wine industry professionals from Willamette Valley vineyards and wineries will host and teach courses during a 10-week Summer Wine Institute. Students will learn about grape growing, winemaking and bottling, among other topics. Sustainability issues will be addressed, along with distribution and marketing.
Students will work at the International Pinot Noir Celebration, which draws 800 wine aficionados from around the world to the Linfield College campus in July. They will also have the opportunity to interview members of the Oregon Wine Board and visit wineries.
Fall Harvest Experience
Growers and winery owners say experiencing the wine harvest is a crucial rite of passage for anyone interested in understanding vineyard operations. Every fall, Willamette Valley wineries and vineyards hire temporary harvest employees, and Linfield students will work alongside these employees to learn about the harvesting process.
Wine Career Exploration Course
A course held during Linfield’s January Term will introduce students to the many jobs and positions needed to operate a vineyard and winery, ranging from viticulturist to winemaker, sales manager to marketing director, and label designer to web designer.
Spring Winery Internship
With a foundation of hands-on experience, education and training, students will be able to bring specialized knowledge as well as a broad liberal arts background to winery internships. Each internship experience will be developed around the needs of the winery and the career interests of the student.
The program will operate under the auspices of Linfield’s Career Development Office and the Linfield Center for the Northwest.
Linfield College is located near the birthplace of the earliest vineyards in Oregon’s fertile Willamette Valley. The school founded the Oregon Wine History Archive, which houses collections from some of the most significant wineries, vineyards and wine organizations in Oregon. Students and professors have conducted oral histories with wine pioneers and have produced a documentary about the history of the IPNC. An exhibition, scheduled for summer, will look at Latinos in the wine industry.
The James S. Kemper Foundation is based in Chicago, Illinois.