This interview is with Courtney Merriott and Johnny Brose of Flora Jane. In this interview, the couple speak about both their personal and joint journeys in the wine world. Johnny, who attended OSU, talks about his college introduction to the wine scene and what it is like teaching winemaking in Chemeketa’s wine studies program. Meanwhile, Courtney, who started her recognition for wine working at the Dundee Bistro, talks about her role in wine distribution. They go over the story of beginning their small wine business together, sharing the meaning behind its name and logo. They also discuss the highs of selling wine to new customers, the hopes for their product, and the challenges of having a first vintage in 2020.
This interview was conducted by Rich Schmidt at Courtney and Johnny’s home in Newberg on June 21, 2022.
This oral history interview is with Jess Sandrock. Jess talks about her accidental introduction to wine through a love of horticulture and her discovery of a love of teaching. Her work as an instructor at Chemeketa Community College and with the nonprofit AHIVOY are discussed, as are the changes in the Oregon wine industry and some possibilities for the future.
This interview was conducted by Rich Schmidt at Linfield University on February 22, 2022.
This Oral History Interview is with Mimi Martin of Wine and Spirit Archive. Mimi talks about her time in food and wine education in New York before deciding to make the leap and move to Oregon to start her own project. She talks about the evolution of that project and the various types of educational opportunities she’s able to offer.
Later, Mimi discusses the growth of Oregon wine and of global wine education, and what she sees for the future.
This interview was conducted by Rich Schmidt on February 4, 2022 at Wine and Spirit Archive in Portland.
This interview is with Bryan Berenguer at Chemeketa and Human Cellars. In this interview, Bryan begins by speaking about his life before wine. He discusses traveling to different places in the world, including Myanmar where he lived for several years. During his time in Myanmar, Cyclone Nargis hit and Bryan took a job at a Nargis Recovery Program in a German company. He describes his experience living there for over three years, what it was like working there, and what it was like leaving. He goes on to tell us about his visits to Germany and France and his first real introduction to the wine industry, as well as what it was like went he went back to visit Myanmar once more.
When he begins speaking about the wine world, he describes getting a degree in viticulture and enology, managing a vineyard in Germany, and finally getting a job teaching at Chemeketa. He goes over how biodiversity and biodynamics can be improved in the vineyards, how new technology can be included, and what practices he employs. He also talks about the effects of smoke from the 2020 summer fires, and what effect they had on the grapes and the classroom environment. He ends by telling us his predictions for the future of the Oregon wine industry and how 2020 may affect the Oregon wine community.
This interview was conducted by Rich Schmidt at Bryan’s home in Dundee on February 26, 2021.
This interview is with Jessica Cortell of Vitis Terra Vineyard Services. In this interview, Jessica answers the question “why grapes,” and talks about her extensive education at OSU that led her to her PhD and conducted research that received international recognition. She then goes on to talk about how she became a vineyard manager and starting her own consulting business, her grape growing/vineyard philosophy, as well as managing clients with different expectations by creating a relationship based on trust and knowing when to help and share knowledge. Jessica then goes on to speak about teaching at OSU and Chemeketa, her favorite time of the year, and some of the challenges she faces with her job. Towards the end of the interview, she touches on what she sees for the future of Vitis Terra, the Oregon Wine Industry, and concludes by offering words of wisdom to someone wanting to enter the industry.
This interview was conducted by Rich Schmidt at Jessica’s personal vineyard— Carlile’s Crest Vineyard on August 20, 2019.
This interview is with Scott Burns. In this interview, Scott begins by talking about how he got into geology and soil. He then speaks about his various travels teaching around the world, and how he ended up back in Oregon teaching at Portland State University. Scott discusses the reaction from the wine industry about what he was doing with terroir, the different characteristics that define terroir, and what is so special about the Willamette Valley Soil. Scott is excited that people are not caring about soil (as it can be now seen on the back of many labels), and talks about the many projects that he has surrounded himself with. Towards the end of the interview, Scott touches on the future of the Oregon Wine Industry and its climate, the future of soil/terroir education, and the many things about his career that he is proud of.
This interview was conducted by Rich Schmidt at Oswego Hills Vineyard and Winery on July 31, 2019.
This interview is with Bree Stock of the Oregon Wine Board. In this interview, Bree talks about how she got into the wine industry through hospitality, as well as her education that “happened naturally as a way to understand where wine came from.” She speaks of the journey that led her to where she is now as a sommelier and living in Oregon. Bree goes on to talk about the “growing pains” of a region, her global perspectives on the Oregon Wine Industry, as well as her education that she received in becoming a sommelier, and master of wine. She then speaks about what it’s like judging wine, experience as a woman in a male-dominated industry, and the future for the Oregon Wine Industry.
This interview was conducted by Rich Schmidt at the Nicholson Library at Linfield College on May 29, 2019.
This interview is with Patty Skinkis, Associate Professor of Viticulture, and Extension Specialist of at Oregon State University’s Oregon Wine Research Institute. In this interview, Patty discusses how she started out studying horticulture, but late developed a passion for viticulture. She also discusses how she ended up in Oregon, and her role in the Oregon Wine Research Institute. She goes on to discuss what specifically she does for the Extension program, as well as her involvement in the Oregon Wine Industry. Patty also speaks about the current research she is conducting, as well as her academic side of life which she very much enjoys. Towards the end, Patty talks about the challenges to her job, as well as how it is being one of the few women in this industry, and how grateful she feels to be a mentor for many women looking to be a part of the industry. She concludes with talking about future projects for the OWRI, and her hopes for the industry.
This interview was conducted by Rich Schmidt at Oregon State University on March 1st, 2019.
This interview is with Mark Chien, program coordinator at the Oregon Wine Research Institute at Oregon State University. In this interview, Mark discusses how he got into the wine industry, getting an education at UC Davis and learning about viticulture: “it was always about the vineyard.” He then goes on to talk about how he ended up in Oregon, and his initial impressions of the industry, and his work with Oregon State. Mark also speaks about his role at the Oregon Wine Research Institute and its future, as well as the future of the Oregon Wine Industry.
This interview was conducted by Rich Schmidt at the Nicholson Library on January 17th, 2019.
This interview is with Barney Watson, of Oregon State University. Barney Watson was an instructor and Enology Extension Specialist at Oregon State University (OSU) for 28 years, working to develop the best ways to bring grape clones into the Oregon wine industry. In 2004, he co-founded a winery, Tyee. In this interview, Watson discusses how he got into the wine industry, his work at OSU, and his overall wine philosophy.
This interview was conducted by Rich Schmidt at the Jereld R. Nicholson Library at Linfield College on September 22, 2015.
This interview is an oral history conducted by Rich Schmidt with Al MacDonald. The interview took place at the Jereld R. Nicholson Library at Linfield College on June 25, 2015 and included topics such as MacDonald’s creation of a curriculum for Chemeketa Community College’s Vineyard Management/Winemaking (now Wine Studies) program, as well as his role in LIVE (Low-Input Viticulture & Enology).
Al MacDonald is the founder of Seven Springs Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills. Seven Springs provided quality fruit for many local winemakers from the early 1980s through 2007. MacDonald was a key proponent for wine education and sustainability in Oregon.
In this interview, MacDonald discusses what brought him into the Oregon wine industry and shares many of his experiences. MacDonald goes into depth about the creation of the wine curriculum at Chemeketa and the founding of LIVE. He also touches upon his time teaching, as well as predictions for the future of the industry.
This interview was conducted on June 25, 2015.
This interview is an oral history conducted by Linfield College archivist Rachael Cristine Woody with Dr. Greg Jones of Southern Oregon University. The interview took place at the Jereld R. Nicholson Library at Linfield College on September 11, 2013 and covered topics including Southern Oregon’s unique climatology, the diversity of varietals that could thrive in the region, and a look at how early Oregon pioneers may have kept vine cuttings viable.
Further discussion addresses how using past knowledge can make it easier for current winemakers, thereby implying that Oregon may not have to wait centuries to catch up to the established knowledge of older grape-growing regions. Jones speculates that knowledge from data collectors and forecasters (such as Peter Britt) about Oregon’s past and current experimentation by winemakers and institutions in the area will lead to an accelerated evolution of Oregon’s wine.
This interview is an oral history conducted by Linfield College archivist Rachael Cristine Woody with Dr. Porter Lombard. The interview took place at Dr. Lombard’s home on July 29, 2013 and covered topics including early wine industry history in Southern Oregon, research at the Oregon State University (OSU) Extension Center that began with the pear industry, and ideal soils and varietals for the region.
Dr. Lombard focuses on the importance of a good soil, and he provides his opinions on the best soils in Oregon, paired with the types of varietals he’s seen flourish in the region. The interview also provides a history of how grape-growing knowledge evolved in the area, including the first research plot for wine grapes being planted in 1967, classes that Charles Coury taught for growers in the area, and how the OSU Extension Center came to include grape-growing research.
This interview is an oral history conducted by Linfield College archivist Rachael Cristine Woody with Blaine Nisson, former Director of Umpqua Community College (UCC). The interview took place at the Jereld R. Nicholson Library at Linfield College on June 27, 2013 and focused on Nisson’s involvement in the creation of UCC’s new program, the Southern Oregon Wine Institute.
Nisson provides extensive commentary on the strategy and effort involved to create the Southern Oregon Wine Institute. The interview explores the strategies needed to ensure the program would have a positive economic impact in the Umpqua region while at the same time contributing to – and drawing from – the knowledge and resources of the wine industry. The interview closes with thoughts on the larger question of the Umpqua wine industry’s identity.
This interview was conducted by Rachael Woody at the Jereld R. Nicholson Library at Linfield College on June 27, 2013.
This interview is with Scott Burns, a professor of geology at Portland State University. Burns has taught all over the world about soil and the terroir of different places. In this interview, he talks about his work, experiences he’s had in the wine industry, and the science behind varietals.
This interview was conducted by Janis Miglavs in 2007.