Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hate to see it end but love to see it over

          At my final week at Oregon Barrel works I learned how they put the final rings on the barrels before they are wrapped for shipping. They use a huge hydraulic press that presses the final rings onto the barrels. The steel rings that we used for shaping the barrels finally come off and more attractive galvanized steel ones are put on. Once the hydraulic ram pushes the rings on then they are lightly sanded again and a rivet is put into the ring and the side of the barrel keeping them from coming loose and moving. This was my job, using the rivet gun to put in the final rivets. I learned so much over the course of this internship it is hard to put ever detail into a blog post but I hope I have captured the essence of it for you. In my estimate I think it takes approximately 40 man hours for each barrel to be completed and a lot of back breaking work. So next time you go to fill a barrel with wine know that there was a lot blood and sweat and tears that went into it. The tears were probably mostly mine though.

How much wood could a wood chuck chuck

          This week I spent most of my time at Oregon Barrel Works packaging oak chips. This was an interesting process because one guy will sit outside with a hydraulic wood slitter splitting oak pieces into small manageable pieces then they are ground up in a wood chipper, then from there there are loaded into a giant drying drum where they spin and heat is added to dry the chips. Then after they cool I would bag them into 40 pound bags and put them on a pallet. They are put in a kind of sock looking then and tied off before going into the bag so the wineries can just throw the whole sock in without chips going everywhere.

My arms might fall off

          This next week was non the less as interesting as all the rest of them have been. Once the barrels are pretty much finished at this point now comes the sanding. Using a circular sander I got the pleasant opportunity of sanding between each ring on the barrel. This takes a couple times around each space between the rings and as you can imagine holding a vibrating sander for hours at a time doing a repetitive motion can be extremely tiring. I couldn't believe how smooth the barrels turned out though when I was done. This was a painful week but ill be back next week expecting to learn more.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

That's All Folks

Well, last post of the year. How can I possibly sum up the experiences, people, and wines that I have encountered in the past 12 months? While the words are hard to find, I know that I am so very thankful to have had this opportunity. I have met 7 of Linfield's finest scholars and traveled halfway around the world with them. We saw each other grow in the program, as people, and as passionate wine consumers. I could not have asked for a better group! Also, I wanted to give a special thank you to our French speakers...without you ladies I would probably still be in France trying to figure out how to order food! I also want to thank the group as a whole. You all made the van rides, vineyard work, and winery tours memorable and hilarious. I am excited to see where each of our path's lead, and hope that they will all cross again in the future (preferably at a place where they serve a whole lot of wine).

                                           Image result for that's all folks


It's the End!

    I just finished my last reflection paper, my final presentation is pretty much done and finals are in a little over a week!
Wow, I cannot believe the OWIE is basically over. What a year it has been. Full of new flavors, friends and experiences this program is something I will remember for the rest of my life. I started it without ever having drank wine because of being underage and now I can buy and enjoy a bottle while understand the time and passion that goes into it.

I want to thank everyone that help made this such a memorable, learning experience. It truly has been the best vintage to date. I look forward using the skills and information I learned later on in life, whether that is in a career in the wine industry or just being able to enjoy and share a bottle of wine with people.

Cheers to a great year everyone!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Count Down Begins

These last few weeks have been hectic, both at my internship and in school. The internship at Duck Pond Cellars has been going phenomenal and I can't believe that I only have a week or so left. In the last few week, I have been helping set up emails for the bands that are going to be preforming in the summer concerts at the vineyard. I sent the emails with waivers and such, and then had to organize and double check that I was receiving all the ones that I needed to receive. I am still continuing to help revamp the tasting room. I helped frame some big pictures and rearrange some of the gift shop items. It is also very exciting because Duck Pond is going to be releasing a Pinot Noir Blanc in the near future. I was lucky enough to taste it because I attended the Taste Dundee event with my mom a few weekends ago. There was a very successful turnout there and it was so much fun. I cannot wait to see how the event does in the future, since it was just the first one. It has been an exciting time working on my projects at Duck Pond and I cannot wait to wrap it up and graduate in a few short weeks.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Finishing everything up!

I can't believe we are nearing the end of this experience. I only have two more weekends at Dominio IV and I started as a Guest Relations Associate at Archery Summit. The past two weekends at Dominio have been exactly the same; I've just been working in the tasting room.

My training for Archery Summit has also started, and I love it so much! I am pretty excited for graduation and this new chapter in my life.

That's all I have to report today,

Conclusion: Inconclusive

As the end of another school year comes about, it is difficult to believe that I have been in this internship for a year now. It has really been quite the journey--aside from changes and growth in my own personal life, my academic and professionals lives have developed into a place where I have much to hope for and look forward to. This internship was the incentive for me to return to my academic career and I have much to be thankful for because of it. Though I have decided to transfer due to changes in academic goals and a fatigue in commuting, I will still look back at this chapter as an epitomes moment in my adult life.

Perhaps, too, this is the best description of my research on Oregon chardonnay--a moment, a chapter, something still to be written. After talking to over 30 winemakers, vineyard managers, sommeliers, and winery owners, after researching articles on the sensory sciences, vineyard management, and historical reviews, and even holding my own tasting to discern anything concrete on the matter, my results are this: inconclusive. And I hope this an acceptable answer to the question, "What is Oregon chardonnay?"

It is a developing sector of the industry--in its infancy, really. Though I can procure 50 years worth of information on the subject, it is really only in the last 5 years that a significant amount of attention has been given to this part of the industry. So how could I come up with a definite answer to such an ambiguous question? Indeed, I admit to a naivety on my part--perhaps even an over-confidence that is quite unattractive for a rookie. I've  been humbled--I've come to believe that I really don't know that much on the subject, or at least anymore than anyone else. And I question what else I could have done, what other questions should I have asked?

Thus, for my presentation I will ask those questions, but only as a way to outline the question and ultimately help us understand and define such a fascinating category. It is a question, a conversation that will take a couple of generations for us to understand and have a better grasp at, but the least I can do is provide a foundation for it and things to think about--things a consumer will ask. There is a much to learn on the subject, which is a good thing.

Perhaps Oregon chardonnay is not so much inconclusive--perhaps it is yet to be made.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Nearing the End!

It's hard to believe we are only three weeks away from graduation! The weeks fly by when you're having fun with wine internships...

Presentation time is approaching. I have all of the information ready to go and have final touches to put on my presentation - thankfully the syllabus says it isn't due until finals week!

Ironically, I was given the opportunity to sit in on a professor's class where accounting for the wine industry is the topic. I will be doing this next week to refine some of my findings and possibly add more topics to my syllabus for the wine course. Needless to say, I am very excited about the week ahead.

All that is left to do is finish up the presentation, prepare for rough practices next Wednesday, and complete the supervisor and self-evaluations (along with compiling that final paper).


Friday, May 1, 2015

Another week down!

Last week was very interesting; I worked with Patrick on ways we could update the Dominio IV website. The process involved going through the website, finding the things we wanted to change, figure out what new pictures we wanted to include, and putting together a document with a list of everything we want to change.

After going through the website myself, I sat down with Patrick to discuss my observations. We collaborated on the changes we wanted to make, and, afterwards, I created the word document with a specific list of all the changes.

I sent that list in to Patrick, he reviewed it, added some pictures, and sent it off to the website company. There will be a scheduled conference where the company talks to Patrick about the changes, but that might not happen for a couple months. The website looks like it will be debuted after about a month or so into the summer.

My Saturday in the tasting room was quite busy; we had a private party of 12 come in at 4 pm, so Heather and I closed the tasting room to the public for this tasting. It was fun!

That's all I have to report for this week,

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Another Week

My goal to complete my presentation last week turned out to be much more challenging than I anticipated. I did, however, finish the overview of my presentation, determined which parts to omit, and selected a background for all of my slides.

The final presentation is coming together and I cannot wait to have this huge task completed. With graduation and finals approaching, these last few weeks have been the busiest of my time at Linfield. I am hoping to receive our presentation days soon as my schedule fills with interviews and final assignments.

For the next week I am setting a much more attainable goal: complete half of my slides for the presentation. I know that finishing the whole thing will take some time, but getting it done sooner will allow for more presentation practice.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Just a little Thank You

With graduation on the (very close) horizon, I've been thinking a lot about what the Oregon Wine Industry Experience has done for me, and I really want to thank everyone who has been a part of and who has contributed their time and help to this program. When I started at Linfield, I was convinced I was going to study business or communication arts because I really wanted to own a restaurant or become a chef one day. But, over the next two years, I would completely change my course of study. I would discover that I definitely did not want to own a restaurant, and I would also realize that my passion is eating the food, not necessarily making it.

I visited Michael Hampton in the Career Development office last year after I had decided to become a food critic. I had no idea what I was going to do or how I was going to accomplish it; I just knew that I loved food and writing. When I arrived, Michael gave me some really good advice on how to pursue my "dream job." He also stealthily pushed the brochure for the Oregon Wine Industry Experience across the table towards me. I suspiciously eyed the paper in my hands, wondering whether or not I was actually interested in the Oregon Wine Industry. What is the wine industry? As a 20 year-old, I had no idea what it was. I didn't even know it existed...

I know. These facts are even hard for myself to hear, much less admit to the world.

After a brief read through the brochure, I noticed that there was a food and wine pairing section in the program. I was hooked. I didn't even have to deliberate; I knew I wanted to study wine! (With food of course). The summer portion turned into fall harvest with lots of earwigs and fruit sort, and the fall turned into a trip to Burgundy. Papa Winecat (Jeff) and Whitney introduced us to renowned winemakers, toured with us through the Burgundy vines, put up with our bantering, and we also ate exquisite meals. Oh my gosh, the food was so good. This trip was not only about meeting amazing people and eating delicious food, though. I also realized something important: I had grown a deep passion for wine.

Now, I sit at my desk thinking about all that I have learned this year, and I can't help but think about how much more there still is to learn. I love the culture, I love this place, I love the people, and I love wine. (And food still, of course).

So, thank you. Thank you to everyone who made this journey possible. I would not have fallen in love with the Oregon Wine Industry without any of you, and I am forever grateful.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Presentation Preparation

The past week has been chaotic in terms of this internship.

I went through quite the struggle to obtain a new copy of our internship text in order to receive a code. Ultimately, two books and a headache later, I was able to take the strengths text that accompanied our text. As we discussed grades in our group meeting I found that the weekly blog post never came up. I am not sure if it is still required, but I suppose I will fill everyone in on my progress anyways.

 With most of my tests out of the way this week and little homework over the weekend, my goal is to complete my PowerPoint slides by Sunday night. I have already created an IPS, Morningstar X-Ray, and explanation paper as examples of student work. All that is left is putting my course onto a presentation. I will also provide handouts, but the number in attendance at our presentations is still unknown.

I have a general idea of how I am going to structure my presentation, making sure to pull information I have gained over the past year. Although I have found the wine industry to be very intriguing and complex, it is not the highly competitive business world I imagined. Erin brought this fact up in the meeting, and I think she perfectly verbalized how I have been feeling about the industry. The close knit community and ability to share information and ideas is crucial for the growing industry, but as a finance major I have not found it aligns with my passion of growing to be a dominating business with well executed financial strategies. Hopefully the course I have created will be able to pull from wine and finance to create an interesting presentation.

 Here is my own to do list as our internship comes to a close:
 1. Create Presentation
          a. Include syllabus, calendar, and example assignment
2. Supervisor Evaluation (from Jeff?)
3. Self-Evaluation
4. Final two portions of the essay
5. Presentation
6. Earn an A in this course

Again, I leave you with a quote that sums up the past week:
"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

Summer is around the corner

After our group meeting yesterday and writing my second reflection paper I realized that I am right on track of where I need to be with my project and research.

Looking back at the information I have collect it is quite extensive. I have learned why Mark does all his own analysis at Duck Pond and what the ETS satellite lab here in McMinnville offers to its clients. I am meeting with Robert Brittan today to learn about how he conducts his wine analysis for his lab. I also received responses to the questions I asked Corey from Core Enology. I understand why he runs his own consulting lab and is a great resource to the local wineries too.

Since summer is a mere five weeks away it is time to start compiling what I have learned this semester (and previous ones) and putting it into application. In the coming weeks I will begin to develop the curriculum needed for a crash course in lab skills and wine lab tests.

Stay tuned for more!

New Perspectives

New Perspectives
            It was a bit of a bizarre experience. Ever since I started in the wine industry and working in tasting rooms, I always enjoyed talking to people about wine—learning about what is out there to drink, where they had been earlier in the day or where they were going, other tasting and drinking experiences they had, and the joy of reminiscing to be had in those experiences. But it was on this day I found myself simply not really caring about what the customers across the tasting bar had to say to me. It struck me like a reflex hammer on the crown of my skull: I really didn’t want to be in hospitality anymore.
            I am not sure what it was that brought this epiphany about—could have been the tasting room I was in, another cloudy winter day in western Oregon, or the fact that everyone that I had served or seen in other tasting rooms in the Valley and came to not liking them were, in fact, all in that very same room as me. And I was alone in this moment—I silently endured the torture of listening to them drunkenly discuss about how they had this “exquisite” bottle or that “library wine” from “X, Y, and Z wineries” and then asking me if I knew anything or even tasted these bottles that I could care less about. It was like an arthritic attack on my face and hands: it was painful to nod and smile, and to then pour a wine that they could care less about beyond their own inebriation.
            I had had it. I didn’t want to be nice anymore.
            Drama aside, I knew at that point that hospitality was not a long-term situation for me. In my own development in the industry, I found wine to be intellectually engaging and invigorating—indeed, without the industry, I may not have even gone back to pursuing my own education. There is an excitement in tasting a wine and seeing what it has to say, to get to know it and by extension, any of the people who came in contact with it before the wine reached your lips. Then to lay that wine down for over the years and see how its personality develops and unfold can be something of a romance. Wine is an art form that approaches music in its enigma, frescoes in its composition, and friendships in its dynamism.
            Wine is truly better with friends.
            If there was a singular thing that has kept me in the industry it would be the people that I have met. Many were not originally from the industry—quite a few from high-tech, financial, and medical. And they all had something interesting to say or something challenging to the status quo. Even to my own status quo. It was this kind of allure that I found captivating and certainly an excellent complement to the wines I drank and were getting to know. And I loved sharing these experiences with people who have grown to be colleagues and friends. Ideas, relationships, and wine were and currently are creating this experience that has bright possibilities. Not a tasting room with special seating or a sommelier that could be paid better in a restaurant than at a winery.
Or cranky tasting room associates who were to provide an “experience”.
From this point forward, my focus will be more on understanding key concepts regarding wine and winemaking, and to broaden my palate to familiarize myself with the wines of other regions. In that I hope to meet more people, make more friends and colleagues, and really just learn the stories of the wines that bring us all together. Whether this leads to a career in winemaking or wine admiration, of this I am uncertain. But I know I thrive in environments of real thought, intellectual challenge, and where possibilities of growth and to do better are indeed possibilities. Not another “night out on the town,” or rather, “after church at the wineries,” but a true desire to get know the wine and how to move our great industry forward.
And for the record, nobody died on that day.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tasting Time!

A year into this project and I still feel like I do not know much about my chosen subject of research. Chardonnay in this state is still in its infancy and any effort to quantify/qualify is met with elusion and more questions.

I have enjoyed meeting with winemakers and vineyard owners over the past year - the stories are fascinating and helpful. However, I am finding that they don't always provide actual data, or at least anything that provides an objective view of chardonnay. I recently met with Dave and Jeanne Beck who were kind enough to provide me with vineyard reports and trends in terms of wine scores, which will certainly help me along. But still, I question, do I really know what Oregon chardonnay is?

I will be reviewing my notes (typing them up for better organization) to see any more general trends and talk about matters that I can safely talk about (keep in mind that I am not a winemaker or vineyard manager of any kind - just a newbie). In the meantime, I am organizing a tasting with industry and restaurant professionals to discuss Oregon chardonnay and see if we can discern any innate qualities. Erica Landon of Walter Scott Wine has been incredibly helpful in getting this organized - I am excited to see what the results will be!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The season is picking up again!

Last weekend I mainly worked in the tasting room! The tasting room manager was away on vacation, so I got to practice utilizing all of the knowledge I have learned thus far to sell the wine. I am really enjoying being in the tasting room because I am beginning to learn who customers are and what they like (mainly because they keep coming back)! So it is really fun to facilitate conversations and see recurring customers.

I also recently paired a decadent Triple Cream Goat Brie with a 2005 Tempranillo. The explosion of flavor on my palate was absolutely divine. The light tannins in the Tempranillo attached to the proteins in the cheese, and this combination created a luscious and balanced taste of creamy (and slightly stinky) cheese and wine. Oh. My. Gosh.

My research project has been an on-going process. I find that everyone tastes wine differently (and everyone prefers different wines), so everyone definitely has his or her own opinion on what to pair with certain wines. BUT. That being said, one can refer to the basics of food and wine pairing to pinpoint what typical food might pair well with certain wines. As much as I would love to go into the details of these basics, I'm afraid I must save them for my presentation in May.

A bientôt,

How to be a Tasting Room Manager: Must Love Cleaning

The most important thing I have learned about being a tasting room manager so far: you must love cleaning.

Thankfully, I love to clean! And appearance makes a big difference in a tasting room and a customer's experience. Walking into a business that has crumbs on the floor, water rings on the tables and lots of dishes piling up on the bar is so off-putting. You wouldn't want to eat or drink there! In my regular job as a tasting room associate, I have to make sure that the service I give appears effortless and consistently sparkling. 

Though this is difficult at times, I never realized how difficult the tasting room manager's job is in this regard. Not only does she do my job (and do it at a higher level of skill), she also does lots of deep cleaning of the tasting room and back office. Dusting shelves, ordering food, vacuuming, mopping floors—all of this happens behind the scenes and not necessarily during normal hours of business.

Cleaning, however, can also mean something I love to do: organizing! This week, I helped reorganize all of our displays. We have a set of beautiful shelves on each side of the tasting room that display bottles, wine glasses and clothing that we have available for purchase. We also have information about the Willamette Valley and where to go next.

Refreshing these displays (which had stayed the same since about November, I believe) was so enjoyable! There was a faux-science to it, too. For example, we have two sparkling wines. I separated them and put one on each side of the room. But for all of our library wines, I put them all in one nook. Sometimes customers walk in and ask "where are your library wines?" Before, they were all over the place. Now, I can walk with them to the shelf and explain all of our library wines in one fell swoop.

Thankfully, I love every aspect of this internship so far—even the small tasks that might seem inconsequential, like cleaning or organizing!

Strategy Shift

I have a new respect for professors. This project has shown me the complications and difficulties in creating a class syllabus and schedule, and I can't begin to imagine the headache when the task is not hypothetical.

Anyways, I have changed a small approach to my project. I am going to add a case study example to my presentation to highlight the goals for my course. In making this addition, I have now created another project to complete. I truly believe the case study example will add emphasis to my overall project.

Progress - connections have been made with professors in the business department. An accounting professor in the department has been an amazing resource, and has really helped me develop my project. I just need to talk with Ellen and possibly Jeff about the desires for the minor and how to address these goals in my syllabus.

Left on my agenda for the project: meet with Ellen, finish IPO, Morningstar X-Ray Report, fund selection, write-up, compile information for syllabus and schedule after meeting with Jeff.

Tasks for completion of internship: supervisor evaluation, self evaluation, complete reading, two more paper segments, and continue weekly blog postings.

Next week we will have a group meeting, so I hope to blog the following Thursday regarding my progress in completing the assignments for both the final project and the internship as a whole.

As I sign off, I leave you with wise words from Ernest Hemingway: “Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing."

Busy Work Chaos

Progress update as of now:
1. I have met with ETS lab services in McMinnville and discussed what they offer and what type of background you have to have to work there.
2. Talked with Mark from Duck Pond Cellars about his lab methods.
3. Waiting for a response from the questions I asked via email to Corey from Core Enology and Colby from NW Wine Co.
4. Waiting for a response from Ellen and Robert Brittan, one in regards to the Linfield wine studies and the other about lab practices for their winery.
5. Purchased my Now, Discover Your Strengths book and took the online strengths test.

Still need to do:
1. I need to follow through with Maysara Winery about getting a hold of someone who can help me with my lab questions.
2. Write my 2nd reflection paper due next Friday.
3. Read some of the Discover Strengths book.
4. Start putting together a tentative crash course involving the skills I know of as of now.

It is a very busy time in the semester, filled with a wide variety of tasks, tests and projects!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Life After Surgery

Last week was my first week back to the internship due to surgery on a nerve in my elbow. I have been trying to figure out what was wrong since this last fall and we finally got it fixed. Anyways, on a happier note, I actually got to go back to working at Duck Pond Cellars. I was able to work most of a full day on Friday and had a lot to do. The only thing that I am unable to do is lift anything over 3 pounds, so I have little jobs assigned. I had to rewrite the board with our local wine and cheese pairings, the flights and our other local products. Today I also got to see what work has been done to the gift shop and Erin asked me to change anything that I didn't see fit. I changed a few things, but since this is something I have been working on for awhile, I want it all to be perfect. Anyways, I also had the opportunity to be a part of the corporate meeting. We talked about the accounting side of the company and at that moment I realized how grateful I am for the education and the opportunities that I have gotten through Linfield. I understood a lot of what was being presented and I love how I am finally able to tie things that I have learned over the past four years to the real world. Being in this internship has taught me a lot thus far and I cannot wait to see what I learn by the end of this semester.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Timing is Everything

I chose the worst possible week to try and meet with business faculty. With course registration coming up, advising appointments have taken over every professor's schedule. Essentially this means that I have had to schedule appointments varying from one to two weeks out to get the information I need in creating my own course. Although I have not yet gained this information yet, I have taken another step forward in getting it!

As for the course, I have begun to read the required text and plan to get through the majority this weekend. I know that our second paper due date is quickly approaching, so I would like to have the book and accompanying test completed as soon as possible. This will leave more room open for completing my project and being able to receive critique well before the presentation deadline.

Unfortunately this means that I do not have as much information as I was hoping for from this week. While getting the scheduling out of the way is an accomplishment, I will be expecting to have all of the required information for my project by next week to ensure I am on the right track. I will also be completing the final parts of my spring internship by filling out the necessary paperwork as well as sending the evaluation forms to my supervisor.

Research, research, research!

After sending out emails to different wineries and labs I received quite a few interested in helping with my project! Yay!

Last week was filled with email responses and setting up times/best ways of communicating. Colby from NW Wine Co. is going to respond to my questions via email, which makes sense because as a group we already spent a bit of time there in the summer doing lab work for them. I had a phone conversation with Mark, Duck Pond Cellars winemaker. He provided a lot of good information and an open door if I have more questions. Corey from Core Enology promised to answer my questions via email, since I have already done a little bit of work with him in the fall.

I visited Steve at the ETS lab here in McMinnville, conveniently located in Davidson Wine Supplies. He showed me around the lab and explained what they do there. While it is not as fancy as their main lab, they have some pretty cool instruments and provide good services to the Willamette Valley for accredited wine analysis. I can see how doing routine testing through a lab could get spendy after awhile though.  

I am still trying to get a hold of Maysara Winery and doing some digging for some other sources to contact.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Finally Under Way

Though it took some time for me to find an internship after we came back from Beaune, my internship is now under way! I'll be completing my internship hours at R. Stuart and Co. Winery. I have worked in the tasting room at R. Stuart since the beginning of this school year and love working there.

What I love most is meeting those who come into our tasting room. We have a steady flow of regulars from McMinnville and the surrounding areas, as well as many tourists from around the world. From the regulars, I can learn all about their lives: what they do on weekends, who their children are and funny stories about McMinnville or Linfield if they've lived here for a long time. It's a very intimate connection because I am invested in their life. Often they are invested in my own, asking about school, singing and why I love wine. From the tourists, I learn about other places I would someday love to visit. I have heard about places as far away as Indonesia and as close as Chicago (and was enchanted by both).

This connection with the customers was what led me to choose an internship with R. Stuart. I wanted to learn what it was like to experience this every day, as someone who runs the tasting room. My boss, Casee, is an amazing role model. She knows how to connect with people quickly and effectively (and of course, how to sell wine). I'll be shadowing her and learning about how a tasting room functions, what a tasting room manager does, and how to do it well. I am very excited to learn more about her job—both the joys and the frustrations.

Sorry if your barrels leak, it wasent me.... Wk 3

          After bending the barrels and putting rings on the other side they were then taken to the lathe. This giant lathe would cut the edges of the barrel into a nice shape and put a notch into the top and bottom for the head to sit. This is was my job for the week, putting the heads on the barrels. each top to the barrel is measures precisely because they are all slightly different and a head is cut accordingly to the sizes they need. For example the top of the barrel will measure 29.52 and the head will have to be cut to 29.52. After this was done that is where I came in. I would take the barrels and sand the inside of the bung hole to create a nice surface for a rubber corks to sit without creating a leak. Then I would find the top that matched the barrel. Then I would take a kind of putty which I found out later is just a simple mixture of whole wheat flour, citric acid, and water, and place it in the grove around the barrel with a wooden pointed tool. If I messed this part up and I missed any spot of the grove the barrel would leak. Then I would pound one of the steel rings holding the barrel together up, separating the wood and creating enough of a gap for me to put the head in. Then while holding the head up with one hand I would have to pound the rings down to tighten the barrel back up while making sure the head sat precisely in that small 1/8th inch gap. Then after it was tight enough for it to sit there without falling I would take my piece of plastic and go around the ring hitting the plastic with the sledge hammer on the rings forcing them down and forcing the barrel tighter.
          This was a very interesting part of barrel making and who knew that this would be so much work, and so much precision. I have been amazed the entire process so far and I cant wait to go back and learn the next step in the process.

          P.S. I am sorry if your barrels leak...... I'm new.

What have I gotten myself into Wk. 2

         My second week at Oregon Barrel works was also very interesting. The main thing that I learned this week was how to raise (start) a barrel. One of my coworkers would take piece of strait flat oak and run them through a plainer that would cut the sides at an angle, create a curve on the back and the front of the piece of wood, and smooth it out. After this another one of my coworkers would lay the pieces of wood out onto a table where there were two pieces of steel on either side that were measured precisely to be the length of the circumference of the barrel. When he would lay the pieces of freshly cut wood onto the table he would have to alternate big and small pieces and find which pieces would make an exact fit to the length on the table. After this step he would bring the pieces in stacks over to me. Now for my part. I would have a galvanized ring that I would hold, then I would take one piece of wood, usually the biggest one, and clamp it to the galvanized ring. I would use my waist to hold up the other side of then ring then I would have to pick up and place a piece of wood into the circle and butt it up to the clamped piece. My left hand would put pressure onto the piece that I just put in holding it against the clamped piece. If I did not hold enough pressure on the piece at any point it would fall and I would have to start over. I would do this with approximately 30 pieces of wood that would make the barrel take shape. The final piece was always the hardest to get in but definitely the most rewarding. after the final piece was on I could throw a steel ring around the barrel and remove the clamp and the galvanized ring. I would throw a second steel ring on and then take a 3 pound sledge hammer and a plastic block and pound the rings down onto the barrels. This would tighten the wood up and make the barrels start to take shape. To pound each ring on it took me about 10 minutes per ring. Then the most difficult part, the top ring. When you put the top ring on you have to make sure that the other rings are tight because if they are not the top one wont go on. After about 20 minutes of pounding on this ring and finally getting it on I was done. My hands were throbbing, my right forearm was incredibly sore from swinging a 3 pound sledge hammer for 40 minutes and I could have given up after one barrel but to my overwhelming excitement there were 8 more stack of wood ready to be put together into barrels for me. This was the longest day of my life it felt like, what had I gotten myself into.

Oregon Barrel Works Wk 1

          Starting out my first week at Oregon Barrel Works was very nerve wracking. The first day I showed up the hustle and bustle of workers and the noise of machines cutting the edges of the barrels. Then after I was given my gloves, safety glasses, and earplugs, a huge cloud of smoke rises to the celling and fills the rooms with smoke. It had a very distinct smell of burnt wood, and being my first day I thought something was on fire! Luckily after observing where the smoke was coming from I found out that it was only the smoke from the oak chips they were producing after they were heated, then ran down a convayerbelt into a cooling drum where they would wait to be packaged and sent off.
          The first week I was there I mostly spent my time packaging the oak chips. After the chips were fired until they had a dark brownish color to them they would wait in the cooling drum until they had cooled to 100 degrees from about 350 degrees. Then I would take the plastic sacks and fill them up to the top with the chips. The bags had to weight precisely 40 lbs. so I would have to guess and see what was about 40 pounds then put them on the scale and add or take out chips depending on the weight. After this I would tie the tops with zip ties and begin loading them onto pallets that were stacked about 8 feet high. If you can imagine lifting 40 pound bags up over your head to stack them on the very top its not a fun experience.
          Overall my first week was very interesting and just being there one week already thought me a lot. I cant wait for the weeks to come and see what else interesting things I can learn.

Collin Simovic

Sunday, April 5, 2015

New Club Release!

This week was a whirlwind! Dominio IV released their new 2012 Tempranillo yesterday, so we spent Friday preparing for the release on Saturday.

On Friday, I arrived at the tasting room to find Ryan missing; he had to run up to Portland to retrieve wine from the portland wine storage. As soon as he returned, (five minutes after my arrival), the two of us began unloading his full car and putting the wines away to their designated place. Afterwards, I manned the tasting room while he ventured back out to finish up some last minute errands for the event on Saturday. I was a little nervous because this was my first time running a tasting room on my own, but I met a really nice family from Iowa who was very supportive and kind. I also got to meet two other people from within the industry, and we ended up having a nice conversation, as well.

When Ryan returned, we continued to set up the cellar for the event. The wine bottles were placed on barrels with candles, the cheese plates were set up (without the cheese on them, yet), and we prepackaged some wines into bags so they were ready to go if we had a rush.

On Saturday, I began the afternoon with washing and polishing glasses, lighting candles, buying and slicing bread, and plating cheese and salami. I also ran to the back and retrieved wine orders when people asked for them. As the afternoon continued, I began pouring and talking to a few customers and had a really nice time! At the end of the event, we cleaned up and headed home.

That's all I have for this week!
Until next time,

Saturday, April 4, 2015

It's in the Chardonnay

It is always worth it when customers come into the tasting room and try a wine that makes their faces light up. Especially when it's a chardonnay - an Oregon one nonetheless.

Over the past few months, I have been conducting interviews with several winemakers, vineyard managers, and winery owners in regards to this very special wine of Oregon. It has a bit of a tattered history in the state, but so much excitement is driving this wine into the spotlight. The creative energy is mind-blowing and the thought behind it is mind-boggling. Everyone has something to say about Oregon chardonnay and the conversations around it have not been heard since the early days when pinot noir gained wide support from the vintners of the valley.

But why?

An obvious element about Oregon chardonnay is that one, so little of it is made, and two, there is hardly a customer voice in the conversation. These two obvious elements perpetuate one another so much so that it is next impossible to get a glass of such a short-supplied wine in the hands of a consumer (at least one in primary markets where categories can be developed and solidified) so that they can say what they think about the wine. Or how they experience it, rather. And in that experience of the first sip, we begin to understand why Oregon chardonnay is such a big deal.

In a correspondence I have had with Becky Wasserman since my return from Burgundy, I have asked how to respond to the above conundrum. In what seemed to be a bit of a chortle, Becky responded that they key in getting Oregon chardonnays (which face the same challenges as Alsatian white wines) to the consumer's attention is to correspond with a couple wine writers of repute (especially those sympathetic to Oregon cause), perform a tasting in a primary market with mentioned writers and two or three sommeliers of note, as well as notable retailers, and to do so after a best research.

So now I have my project, though in a tight deadline.

It was not until recently I gained access to statistical data about the planting and selling of chardonnay in Oregon over the past few decades, as well as the scores of chardonnays reported over the last 15 years. It is certainly helpful to see this, though I think a tasting through Oregon chardonnays and discussion about their innate characteristics and attributes is necessary to round out the picture. Winemakers are extremely helpful, but generalities can only be made from general opinion, and when hard-pressed with critical inquiry, the answer boils down to creative choices based on personal tastes (within certain parameters). I am meeting with owners of vineyards who kept their original chardonnay vines to hear their story - why?

It is this story that I am seeking to write and share. Perhaps it is this story, too, that is in the glass and makes our faces light up.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Another Week of Work

My spring internship has come to an end. It is now time to focus solely on my project as the presentation date quickly approaches!

This week I have been laying down some foundation for my project. I have finally set up meetings with business professors on campus and sent out emails asking for information on what a new hire in their finance/accounting departments should know before starting to work. While I offered to meet in person, it is unlikely all of the people I contacted will have an opportunity to do so. At this point I am waiting to hear back from these individuals to see how to best structure this class.

When meeting with the professors I will also be asking for examples of class schedules and their syllabi. These will be great starting points for creating my own schedule and syllabus.

I also recently heard that a professor in the business department is extremely interested in accounting related to the wine industry. Although I only have two accounting classes under my belt, perhaps his input would be helpful in making this course. I have added meeting with him to my list!

Next week I am hoping to check in with a good amount of information as to the content of my class and how it would work into the Wine Minor at Linfield!

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Research Progress

The first step of my research has begun! I have sent out emails to several different wineries and labs around McMinnville/Newberg area. Depending on the responses I get I will either need to follow up the emails with phone calls and then start the information gathering.

Majority of the places I contacted I have already been on a tour of their winery so I have I good idea of what the labs in place look like. Some places I would like to go and visit while I ask them questions about their lab practices so I can see what options they have to work with.

Hopefully the wineries and labs will be willing to help me with my research. Next week I plan on following up with a phone call if I did not get a response. Additionally I plan on arranging the visits and preparing my list of questions. The first part of the research has started.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Project Progress

As my project is progressing, I like to keep track of what I need to do in chronological order. I thought this would be an important list to blog about as we blog about the entire process.

What needs to be done:

1. Meet with Jeff - verify project idea, pick his brain for further ideas and who to talk to
2. Discuss the necessities of class structure required from the Business Department
3. Meet with Ellen Brittan and talk about the Wine Minor - what she would like to see from a course
4. Talk to wine community member about what business people in the wine industry need to know
         - tighten up list and solidify meetings
5. Gather syllabus and class schedule examples for references
6. Create syllabus and class schedule using all information
7. Make powerpoint and presentation materials

This is what I am following through the last semester of our wine internship. As my spring internship has come to a close, I have more time to focus on this project and complete the entire process in a timely matter. I am looking forward to meeting with everyone listed above to see where this project goes and how it takes shape.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Spring Progress

    After a hectic beginning to spring semester things are finally starting to get organized. My internship for the spring is a directly linked to my final project. In order to have enough information for my project, quite a bit of extensive research is needed. My internship is spent researching and interview for the project.
     It took some time to tweak the internship, in order to get the most out of it practically and educationally. For my final project to be complete I need to collect information from wineries which use quality assurance measures as part of their wine-making process. Additionally, I will visit with a few of the labs around the McMinnville area to see what they are testing for the wineries. This is the bulk of my internship, researching and collecting what tests and skills are needed for quality assurance in wine-making, from a lab perspective.
     Once I have a good idea of the skills and services that are needed I have arranged to work with one of my Linfield Chemistry professors to help write a crash course (month/week long) curriculum that could be taught to allow people who want to get into the wine business more marketable to employers.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Gettin' Ciggy With It

The spring portion of my internship has been divided into two separate, but equally important portions. Both are through a cigar company in Central Oregon that has taken me on for Thanksgiving Break, Winter Break, January Term Break, as well as Spring Break. The long hours I work are dedicated to creating a cigar and wine pairing program as a way to promote their business and market new cigars coming on the market in early fall. This event was under my suggestion and has now become my personal project for the company. I have been integrating several parts of my major as well as my wine knowledge over the course of this learning experience. My management skills have come into play when trying to connect people and oversee a rather large potential event. I have had to use a marketing lens in order to find the best location, price, and people for the event. As a finance major, I have been working on the necessary funds and inventory as well as projecting the revenue that would come from inviting different clubs and people based on their current and past history with the company. The forecasting has been challenging, but quite the learning experience. I have also had to write an initial public offering (IPS) statement for a mock winery, come up with mutual funds and stocks to invest in according to this IPS, and provide a Morningstar X-Ray on my findings with the help of two other Linfield students.

While the project is quite extensive, and may not be followed through with upon my forecasting, it has been quite the learning experience. I can see the time and effort that wineries put in for planning events from the logistic and financial perspectives.

As for my project, I have finalized an idea after going back and forth with my original proposal. I want the future wine minors at Linfield to be able to experience what I learned from this internship in the form of a class. This is why I have decided to make a class that could be taught in the Linfield Business Department and count towards the wine minor for those who are interested in the business aspect of the wine industry. I am most likely going to focus on the financial side. We will see how it develops as the weeks progress.

Dominio IV and Chardonnay

For the spring section of OWIE, I am interning at Dominio IV! So far it has been a really nice experience, and I have already learned so much about wine. When I began the internship in February, I had no idea what I wanted to do; I just knew I had a desire to learn as much as I could about working in a winery. So, Patrick and Ryan began giving me little tasks to complete to become acquainted with the winery and tasting room. I started with creating a template for email blasts and working at the Candle Light Dinner in the cellar, and, for the past few weekends, I have been working in the tasting room with Ryan.

Instead of going in to the tasting room last Saturday, I volunteered at the Oregon Chardonnay Symposium with Josh. It was so much fun and super insightful! We spent the morning setting up the tables (there were about 205 place settings, and each person got six different glasses of Chardonnay to try). It took us about two and a half hours to finish, but it ended up looking amazing!

Here are a couple pictures from the Symposium:

Afterwards, there was a grand tasting in the Stoller tasting room where many different Oregon wineries came to pour their chardonnays. Josh and I saw many familiar faces, and we also talked to others we had not yet met. The whole experience was fascinating and really fun (even though it was pouring all day, and I ended up getting soaked). But, "Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass, it's about learning to dance in the rain," and we definitely danced (metaphorically) in the rain.

That's all I have for today!
-Over and out-

Interning-The Duck Pond way

I have had the opportunity to be an intern at Duck Pond Cellars. I am the tasting room manager's assistant intern. I am overly grateful for this opportunity since it goes hand in hand with my management major. I fortunately received this opportunity through Shelby Duarte, who went through the OWIE internship last year and is now working for Duck Pond as the Assistant Marketing Director. In the last month or so, I have helped do a lot of little things, and have had the opportunity to sit down with Shelby and learn about the wines that are in the tasting room, the staff and the history of this family ran operation. I am working under Erin Fries, who is one of the family members of the owners. She has been extremely fun to work with and I cannot wait to further my knowledge of wine within this company. It is also a bigger operation than what I have previously had experience with, so this will give me an idea of what I would like to do in the future. and the pros and cons of working in a smaller business versus a bigger business. I am also working on my project, which is building a business plan for a "Western Wine Ways" resort. I will take the knowledge and experience that I have gained in the last 9 months and the help of people in the industry and hopefully come up with a resort that people would enjoy going to. It also is something I am passionate about since I come from the small town of Prineville, OR. I hope to be able to tie the wine industry with that small town feel, because I love them both.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Oregon vs Burgundy Take Away

          During my Oregon and burgundy wine experiences I have learned so much although I feel I haven't even really scratched the surface of knowledge about wine. Its so interesting to see the difference between the Oregon and burgundy. Some of the take aways that I have about this experience is that to begin with Burgundy has such a long history of making wine that Oregon is just a speck in history compared to Burgundy. We talked to so many people who have been in the industry in burgundy for so long and their families have been growing and making wine for generations its incredible to think that walking through the deep dark and moldy cellars of Joseph Drouhin we saw bottles of wine that were made before the Oregon wine industry was even in question. I also think that in Oregon we have so much to learn simply because we have not even half of the experience of the generations of French winemaking. also I learned that minerality is a touchy word in wine. we learned from a scientist that there is no such proof of what minerals taste like thus we cannot tell if a wine tastes minerally, even though winemakers will swear by the minerality of their wine. This is not to say that they are wrong theres just no proof of what minerals taste like. this was very interesting to me at how passionate some winemakers will be about the minerality of their wine. Overall i think this was a great experience and i pulled so much knowledge from this trip i could have never pulled this much information out of a book and being there first hand and tasting some of the most famous wines in the world was an amazing learning experience.

Little Lady, Big Business, Becky Wasserman

After a few days in Beaune we visited the sweetest little lady you will ever meet, she didn't stand much more than 5 foot but she was an inspiration to listen to. She invited us over for dinner in her beautiful house that she told us usto be a barn, with stone floors and walls and a magnificent wood beam ceiling it was a pleasure to be in such a homey place. She began by talking to us about how she first got into the wine industry. Over 25 years ago she traveled to the us with one French oak barrel. When she arrived she met with a few people in the California wine industry. They took great interest in the French barrels. She sold her one barrel in the us and after making a lot of connections in the us, the American wine makers wanted more. She then began importing barrels into the us. She was a one woman operation at first but as the demand for barrels grew so did her small company. Then by making these United States connections realized the demand for French wine. Becky began by shipping small quantities of wine to the us. Sometimes only a case at a time. Just like the barrel importing grew so did the wine importing. She was eventually shipping enough wine to fill entire containers. She began hiring on staff to help her with this massive feat and because of the way that she was discriminated against as a woman she only hired female workers. Throughout the life of her business she has held true to this idea and now maintains a crew of over 50 female workers. Her wine importing business has been very successful and it's amazing to see that one person can make such a big impact on an industry. The food we had was absolutely delicious and the wine that went with it was also very good! We tried 4 different types of wine at their house and then even opened a bottle of 1993 Pinot too which was so nice! It's not every day that you run into people as nice, welcoming and just genuinely happy as Becky and Russell. Thank you both we all really enjoyed spending time with you guys and hopefully our paths will cross again.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Terroir in Burgundy

On Thursday, the OWIE group braved the brisk weather of Beaune and departed our warm Ibis hotel. Our destination? Domaine Drouhin. We climbed beautiful, old stairs into a marvelous, oval meeting room and were greeted by Robert Drouhin. After sitting at the table, Robert began giving us a fairly condensed history of the Borgogne region in France, and he talked about Oregon a little bit too.

Some of the most interesting Burgundy facts he gave us were:
1) Pinot noir was native in the Côte d'Or when the Romans arrived.
2) We know that the vines were already well established and old in the 3rd century.
3) There is a high demand for Burgundy wine right now and they cannot produce enough wine.

Some interesting comparisons between Oregon and Burgundy:
1) Burgundy is way older than Oregon.
2) In Oregon, wine makers are able to do whatever they would like to their wine, whereas there are very strict rules in burgundy.

These rules include but are definitely not limited to:
1) 10,000 vines per hectare are required.
2) The vineyard location most likely determines the appellation of the wine, and it is very difficult to change the appellation (it can take years).

On Friday, Dominique Lafont said something interesting about these rules. He said, "Even though we have a lot of rules and restrictions in France, we also have all these rules to protect us, too." So he gave us a little more perspective on the rules!

That's all I have for today!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Meat and "Beaunes" of Wine

Watch someone taste wine. It is likely the first thing you will see is him/her swirling a glass then smelling the result of the opening aroma. It turns out all of the time I spent trying to nail down the descriptors for scents, I was only doing a third of the work involved in tasting. Looking for the structure, body, and feel of the wine on one's palate is where you can find the crucial differences in wine and understand the work of the winemakers. This has been one of my biggest takeaways.

I've also learned two important facts about the Burgundy wine industry: 1.) There is a deep emotional connection between those in the industry and their wines and 2.) Use caution when using the term minerality.

At the wine institute in Dijon, we were able to talk to a sensory scientist named Jordi. He was the individual who really opened my eyes to my own path and capabilities when it comes to wine. Jordi stated that there are no bilogical differences between expert and novice palates, meaning I am capable of understanding wine just as deeply as those we have met with time and practice. I look forward to taking this knowledge and continuing on in my journey with wine. As Jean Pierre at Joseph Drouhin said, "Free your mind for tasting"...and "New oak is like a razor in a monkey's hand".

Jan. Term Part 2: Beaune

    Tonight is the last night in Beaune for me and the fellow winecats (our nickname for the trip instead of wildcats). The past week has been amazing and a trip of a lifetime for me. I have never been to Europe and now I never want to leave.
     Over the past couple days we have met with world famous winemakers and seen where the magic happens, in addition to tasting wines that I will remember for a lifetime. I'll just highlight a few pieces from this part of the trip.
      The town of Beaune is absolutely charming with its cobblestone streets and historic steeples. Within the town we had the pleasure of visiting the Domain Drouhin cellars and meeting with Robert Drouhin himself. Before being the meeting he said this will be one of his last public meetings, it was an honor and I was tempted to ask for his signature. Hearing the history of his family first hand and how DDO came to be was incredible. In the cellars we witnessed the three acreas the spread beneath the city filled with barrels and old vintage wine bottles.
      Another memorable experience was the trip to Dominique Lafon winery, Domain des Cometes Lafon, who is Evening Land's consultant. He spent majority of the morning with us sharing his knowledge and passion and additionally letting us taste a great number of his wines. One interesting thing he showed us was how hail storms in the past two or three vintages have damaged almost fifty percent of his crop, thus leaving his cellars only halfway filled. In relationship to my project, about climate change, it will be interesting to note if this continues or is just bad weather repetitively.
     Last highlight of the trip, there are too many to mention, was the vineyard tour with Danielle Hammon, and employee of Becky Wasserman & Co. You would expect the vineyards to look the same as Oregon's vineyards since they are basically growing the same thing but this was not the case. Danielle showed us that Burgundy vineyards are much shorter and lower to the ground. Additionally they are much denser and the vineyards itself cover every square inch of the hillside. Some growers only have a few rows and others quite a few, the effect is a patchwork quilt, since each tends to their vines differently.
      It is difficult to pack my suitcase as I would prefer to stay in this village. The connections we have made and the things we have learned are invaluable and help shape the future I am looking for after Linfield. One thing I know for sure is that I plan to return to this region sometime in the near future. Now off to Paris!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Wine in Oregon Jan term

          Our wine experience in Oregon was a great introduction to the France portion and it really helped highlight some of the relationships and differences between the France and Oregon wine growing regions.
          First we met with David Adelshiem. He gave us a slideshow that really helped us see the roots of where Oregon wine has come from with pictures of the first plantings in Oregon and some of his early trips to burgundy where he learned a lot of ways to make his winemaking processes better. One of the biggest things that we learned from him in my opinion was when he was asked what is the French secret to making wine he said there is no secret it's just simply about location. This was interesting because even a winemaker in French who would come to Oregon and make wine the exact same way he did in France there would be tremendous differences in flavor of the wine simply because of the growing regions.
          We also visited David Millman at Domaine Drouhin of Oregon who also gave us some great insight to working with a French wine making company. He showed us his operation and gave us a tour of the barrel room. One of the most interesting things that we learned from David in my opinion was the difference in wine bottle labels between bottling requirements in France and bottling requirements in Oregon. On this same day we also met with Whitney. She gave us a lot of insite into the some things that we would have to know about burgundy. One of the main things that she taught us was the differences between the cru's. Grand cru, premier cru, and village level wines. This refers it the placing of the vineyard on the side of the hill.
          Overall this was a great experience and very helpful in helping us develop the relationship and some of the differences between Oregon and France. I can't wait to see what France holds for us.

Harvest experience 2014

             During my fall harvest I chose to do my internship with Anderson Family Vineyard. The family was very helpful in my learning experience. When I arrived at the vineyard at 5:45 am we started by placing buckets of grapes into pallet crates and weighing them using a large scale and the fork lift. This was the first step before the grapes were then put into the sorting table where we picked out any leftover leaves and the de stemmed grapes were put into the plastic fermenters. We used pallet jacks to then move the crates into their shop where Mr. Anderson then added suffer into the vats. We worked all day until 6 at night doing these same things. One challenge that we faced was that it was hard to keep up with how many grapes were coming up the hill. They used a quad with a trailer that brought up 12 buckets of grapes at a time. This was a very efficient way to bring up the grapes and we were able to process the grapes very quickly. Overall I learned a lot from this experience and it was a very helpful in bettering my knowledge if the wine industry. It's very easy to learn quickly when you are thrown into the excitement of harvest.

Oregon Preparations

Over the first two weeks of January term, the wine cats had the opportunity to meet several winemakers with connections to Burgundy. These meetings prepared us for our current adventures in Beaune, Framce.

Our first meeting was with David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyards. He gave us a short history of not only his vineyard and winery, but of his role in fostering relationships between Burgundy and Oregon. In 1974, Adelsheim studied at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune. He described learning that there aren't any secrets to great Burgundian wine—the place is it's own secret. The other great secret of both Oregon and Burgundy, he told us, is the idealism and the communal sharing that both regions embrace. In most other ways, Burgundy and Oregon are very different, from the soil to the parallels they rest on to the amount of government oversight.

At Evening Land Vineyards, we met with winemaker Ian Burch. Burch gave us a tour of their famous Seven Springs vineyard, nestled in the Eola-Amity Hills. Evening Land is unique in that it is comprised of three major vineyards, one each in Oregon, Sonoma, and the Côte D'Or. Seven Springs, however, produces incredible wines. Their La Source Chardonnay and La Source Pinot Noir were delicious when we tasted them. Additionally, Evening Land has several advisors who are big names in the wine industry worldwide. One is Dominique Lafon, who manages Domaines des Comtes-Lafon in Burgundy. We will meet Lafon during our time in France. The other is Rajat Parr, a well known Master Sommelier.

Our final two meetings were with David Millman of Domaine Drouhin Oregon and Whitney Schubert of Polaner Selections. Both presented on the soil, climate, and organization of winemaking in Burgundy. Millman's work with one of the most well-known Burgundian estates gave a lot of insight into what working for a French company might look like. Schubert works on a different side of the industry, as she manages the French brands imported by Polaner. We are all looking forward to meeting with Robert Drouhin and meeting up with Whitney in a few short days.

Overall, our time in Oregon has prepared us well for our current adventure in Burgundy. Knowing the history, soil, and a bit of culture will serve us well as we explore the Côte D'Or.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Oregon Teachings

   As I lay here at 6:30 am wide awake, thank you jet lag, I have had some time to reflect on the first few weeks of Jan Term and the people that we had the opportunity to meet with. First stop, David Adelsheim.
   David gave us a great PowerPoint presentation of the comparisons of Burgundy and Oregon, and the French influences on Oregon. This was very informative and had some amazing pictures that we were privileged to see. He really drew from his experiences and the growth that he, and his wife, were able to have because of the French influences. One big takeaway I took from this is that, even though the French Pinots are planted and grown in limestone, the oceanic soils also can make great wine. He told us that some people believed  that Pinot can only be grown in limestone, but he took a risk and it obviously paid off in the end. Without David, and others, Oregon's wine industry wouldn't be where it was today!
  The next stop was with Ian Birch, a winemaker for Eveningland and 7 Springs. This man embodies the French influences. He travels back and forth from Oregon to France, like many others. He talked about how his experiences influence his winemaking techniques. We had the opportunity to try the highest rated wine in Oregon, thus far, which was 98 points. This just shows how amazing and giving the wine industry can be. I feel extremely grateful for all of these experiences!
  I unfortunately could  not attend the last day where they met with David Milliman at Domain Drouhin, but I look forward to meeting Robert Drouhin while we are here in France.
  Being in Beaune is so surreal, and I look forward to the adventures and the learning that we will be experiencing while here.

Looking Back

It is the end of the second day in Beaune and I am struggling to not only get over the consequential jet-lag of such a long journey, but also to allow the reality of my actually being in France, of my staying in the heart of Burgundy to really sink in. Even the tour and tasting with winemaker Jacques Lardiere at Louis Jadot which started off my day seems eons ago, as was the wine sensations presentation given by Jordy at the University of Burgundy. As these scenes of a full day fleet back in the recesses of my memory nearly as quickly as the train that brought me here from Paris, even still I have had the opportunity to look back and begin to understand why the Oregon wine industry looks back to this beautiful place for a place of reference, heritage, and camaraderie.

Prior to leaving, I and my fellow interns had the opportunity to meet with essential figures in the Oregon wine industry who have helped establish relationships between us and the Burgundians. Perhaps most influential was the efforts made by David Adelsheim, who, shortly after planting his first vineyard in the early 1970s, felt it necessary to travel to Burgundy to help with a harvest to gain a better understanding of how to grow ad make wine. This initiated a series of ventures by Adelsheim that led to the establishments of relationship between Oregon and French winemakers, viticultural and enological imporvements, and paving the way that ultimately led the French to our soils and ignited what I dub as the French Invasion.

This "invasion" began with a bang when the large French negocion Domain Drouhin purchased vineyard land in the Dundee Hills in 1987, not without much subtle persuasion at the lips of Adelsheim. They made wines from the 1988 vintage and soon after Drouhin was building a winery and tasting room on their Oregon estate. David Hilman of Domaine Drouhin - Oregon asked my co-interns and me when we met with him would such an act, and more broadly, the exchange of winemakers between the two regions, influence our perception of the quality and story of Oregon wines? I knew historically, the move was a stamp of approval, so to speak, of the then barely borned Oregon wine industry. It spoke to the quality and potential of the wines being made in our great region. But further reflection and discussion  allowed me to see beyond the obvious and understand that this wasn't just a mere quality seal (I think the industry would have moved on (if only a bit more slowly) without it), but it was an exchange of ideas, a community built. It was moving beyond the superficial assessment that "Oregon as similar climate as Burgundy, therefore we must be able to grow the same wines" (two days here and I can already attest that these were very broad stroke statements), but rather learning from each other, how to manage vineyards sites or change winemaking techniques, etc. This would inevitably lead the way to more connections.

While certain winemakers in the Willamette Valley, such as Doug Tunnell and Josh Bergstrom, had since gone to Burgundy to study winemaking in one fashion or another, I think it was the release of Evening Land's first vintage in 2007 that further established the Oregon-French connection. Evening Land was initially conceived as making Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in California, Oregon, and France, respecting the terroire of each growing region. While the California and France programs have since been cut-off, it was clear duing our barrel-tasting that Ian Burch, the winemaker for Oregon wines, that Oregon arm based on Seven Springs Vineyard maintained a focus on this goal. But this also revealed Oregon as a willing and confident participant in the international wine community. Yes, we have maintained our friendship with the Burgundians, but have grown to better understand our soils, to know what decisions to make in a breadth of growings seasns, and how to make wines that really reflect what Oregon identifies itself to be. Oregon wine is no longer the meonic mess of a child between France and the Unversity of California - Davis, but rather have matured, albeit in record time, to engage a conversation that will ultimately give shape to our story.

And perhaps this was what Jacques was getting at when he talked about the inner parts of the grape as having the expression of the place, of the terroir, of where the vine is planted. Louis Jadot has finally gave in and purchased vineyards in Oregon. But if we look back, we see Jacques standing quietly in the background, observing and moving so cautiously before spearheading the project of purchasing the highly-regarded Resonance Vineyard. If we look back, we see the eyes of many Frenchman eyeing in curiosity what may become of our industry Well, we have fallen from the vine and have been harvested to bccome something greater. While we as an industry must never forget to look back, but we must keep our focus on a greater tommorrow. We must now look forward.

And I to sleep.