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2014 Summer Linfield Magazine

From vine to to consumer Five Linfield College students are stepping into the Oregon wine industry with knowledge that takes others years to learn, thanks to the Oregon Wine Industry Experience (OWIE), concluding its inaugural year at Linfield. When Jeff Peterson and Michael Hampton teamed up to create OWIE, they envisioned collaboration between wine professionals and Linfield to provide students with unique academic experiences and preparation for work in wine-related areas. Peterson, associate professor of sociology, founded the Linfield Center for the Northwest to engage students with topics and issues related to the region through research, internships and service learning. Hampton, director of Linfield’s Office of Career Development, is dedicated to helping students and graduates understand how their degrees prepare them for work in a wide variety of settings. The program’s goal is to educate liberal arts students for work in the wine industry – not for growing grapes or making wine, but in marketing, distribution, graphic design, accounting and other business areas. “We connect with employers who have job openings and who want Linfield graduates,” Hampton said. “We provide students a full background and picture of the wine industry from vine to wine to consumer so they are hitting the ground running in tasting rooms, accounting, distribution, marketing or any aspect of employment. They develop a range of experiences that give them insight and knowledge into most areas of the industry.” Hands-on work Since last summer, students have sweltered in the vineyards, clipped vines, counted clusters, taken core samples, washed barrels and driven forklifts. They learned subtleties in the pairing of food and wine and how wine can enhance and change the taste of food. They sorted grapes, punched them down in fermenting tanks, scooped out skins and cleaned the containers during the crush. They measured brix levels, interviewed owners and employees, and volunteered at the International Pinot Noir Celebration (INPC) at Linfield, which attracts professionals and connoisseurs from around the world. Students secured internships both fall and spring semesters to apply what they learned. Students met with founders of Oregon’s wine industry, listening to stories of the hard work, dedication and passion that has gone into the growth and development of a distinctive wine region for more than four decades. They explored marketing and distribution, and even created a wine label. They learned the back stories and in the process, they learned that an enormous amount of work and attention to detail goes into producing world-class Oregon wines. David Beck of Crawford-Beck Vineyard said OWIE provides a model for teaching students the business of the wine industry. “Linfield has done a tremendous job of making itself a part of the industry in very real ways,” he said. “Linfield has been very creative about grabbing pieces of this large and growing industry by bringing students into the vineyard and wineries, providing opportunities to help prepare for work in the business.” 6 - l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e Summer 2014


2014 Summer Linfield Magazine
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