McMINNVILLE – Linfield College has taken the lead in wine education with the implementation of a new wine studies minor focusing on educating students from a variety of perspectives.
The new minor, one of the first of its kind in the nation, will benefit the local wine industry by producing graduates who have a broad understanding of the world of wine that, combined with their major area of study, will better prepare them for a role in the wine industry.
Linfield’s program is different from others, which focus on a business or science track. This minor is designed to give students a broad education that includes the history, culture, production, business, science and appreciation of wine. Courses will explore the cultural, social and economic significance of wine in Oregon and around the world. Local industry experts will be called upon to share their knowledge and experience from a real-world perspective. Students who combine a wine studies minor with majors such as management, marketing, accounting, mass communications, biology, chemistry or international business will be well positioned to pursue careers in the wine industry, or to continue their education through graduate studies in viticulture, enology or wine business.
“Because of the growth and global recognition of the Oregon wine industry, Linfield continues to expand its commitment to wine studies for undergraduates and the general public,” said Susan Agre- Kippenhan, Linfield vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty. “The addition of a wine studies minor distinguishes Linfield as an innovative institution, expanding on the interdisciplinary scholarship and teaching to which the college is clearly committed.”
Linfield has a long history of collaboration with the wine industry, beginning with hosting the world-renowned International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) since its inception 30 years ago. Over the past several years, Linfield faculty have been increasingly involved with the industry through collaborative research projects in biology, marketing, history and management. Career exploration classes focusing on wine-related topics have resulted in internships with local wineries. Other students have worked closely with local winery owners collecting and cataloging materials for the Oregon Wine History Archives and the Oregon Wine History Project, housed at Linfield College. Most recently, Linfield’s Online and Continuing Education program has launched online certificates in wine management and wine marketing and is introducing a new series of enrichment workshops that include several wine-related topics.
Jeff Peterson, associate professor of sociology and director of the Linfield Center for the Northwest (LCN), is the program coordinator for the wine studies minor. Through LCN, Peterson has worked extensively with the local wine industry to create learning opportunities and internships for Linfield students.
Ellen Brittan, Linfield’s director of wine education, will help coordinate the program and secure access to members of the local wine industry who can provide expertise to supplement the academic side of the program. Brittan, owner of Brittan Vineyards near McMinnville, has extensive experience in the wine industry and currently serves on the board of the IPNC, and is chair emerita of the Oregon Wine Board and past president of the Oregon Winegrowers Association.