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2014 Summer Linfield Magazine

1 2 - l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e Summer 2014 Reputation and marketing key to wine industry What were two Linfield professors doing at February’s Oregon Wine Symposium, the annual summit for grape growers and winemakers? Why, presenting their research, of course. Sharon Wagner, professor and chair of the business department, and Lisa Weidman, associate professor of mass communication, along with students, have spent several years studying the reputation of Oregon wines and how those wines are promoted and marketed. They spoke about their findings at a panel discussion at the symposium. “The use of social media is exploding in the world of public relations and marketing,” Weidman said. “This is one way we can apply our expertise in the areas of public relations and reputation to help the Oregon wine industry.” Oregon wineries benefit from this type of research because it provides objective validation of the reputation of Oregon wine with consumers and the wine trade, according to Charles Humble ’71, communication director for the Oregon Wine Board. “As a small wine region, Oregon lives and dies on its reputation,” he said. “Being able to articulate exactly what wine professionals and consumers think about Oregon wine is critical to shaping and evangelizing that reputation.” Humble said that Linfield has done a tremendous job supporting Oregon’s wine industry, beginning with the wine history archive. “This kind of project highlights Linfield’s understanding of the Oregon wine industry. We place tremendous value on the partnership with Linfield and look forward to many more years of mutual benefit.” The professors and their students have given professional presentations on their research in each of the past three years. This summer, Wagner and Weidman have been invited to present their research, “Reputation Management on the Internet: Content and Impact of Oregon Wineries’ Websites and Facebook Pages,” at the Academy of Wine Business Research Conference in Germany. In May, they presented another paper stemming from their collaboration,“Communicating the Good Life: How Oregon Wineries Use Facebook to Connect with Consumers,” at the International Communication Association conference in Seattle. David Beck explains how to count vine nodules and shoots to Linfield students who participated in a microbiology lab at the Crawford-Beck Vineyard this spring. Beck and his wife, Jeanne, who both hold Ph.D.s in chemistry from Johns Hopkins University, had long distinguished careers in academics and research. As advisors for the OWIE, the Becks shared the science behind the production and harvest of wine grapes during several sessions with students during the Summer Wine Institute. “Linfield has resonated with us and we are fond of the programs, especially in the wine area,” David said. “We love having students in our vineyard, which is basically our gigantic laboratory. They ask good questions, they make you think, and they surprise you with their perspective on things.”


2014 Summer Linfield Magazine
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