Harvesting Experience

Our Legacy Harvested internship program is in full swing

Tiquette Bramlett, the president of Compris Vineyard and founder of nonprofit Our Legacy Harvested.##Photo By Patty Mamuia
Compris Vineyard, formerly Vidon Vineyards, was purchased by Erin and Dru Allen in November 2020. Located in the Chehalem Mountains, the winery produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Tempranillo and Viognier. ####Photo By Patty Mamuia
Our Legacy Harvested 2022 intern Marcela Alcantar-Marshall.## Photo provided by Broussard Communications
Our Legacy Harvested 2022 intern Denzel Green.## Photo provided by Broussard Communications
Our Legacy Harvested 2022 intern Raven Blake.## Photo provided by Broussard Communications
Our Legacy Harvested 2022 intern Dr. Kimberley Dockery.## Photo provided by Broussard Communications


From the instant she started work at Anne Amie Vineyards, Tiquette Bramlett challenged herself— and others— to develop a more inclusive place for every employee in the wine industry. Along the way, she refined her skills in team building, organization and business.

In 2020, seven years after moving to the Willamette Valley, Bramlett was hired as president of Vidon Vineyard, now named Compris, the French word for united and understood. She also pioneered the nonprofit Our Legacy Harvested, or OLH, to empower and educate Black Indigenous People of Color, widely known solely by initials BIPOC, community in the wine industry.

One of OLH’s first goals was developing a winery internship program focused on harvest and production. In the fall of 2021, with help from associate director Diana Riggs and development director Brittney Guthmiller, Bramlett established the structure for the internship program. After publicizing the opportunity primarily on social media, OLH screened 38 applicants from across the country. All eight board members, who share a hospitality focus, reviewed the applications.

Those individuals chosen by the board “are an incredible group. We had great meetings and, by the end of each conversation, it was obvious,” said Bramlett. Five also seemed the perfect number to be able to focus individually and not miss anything. “The interns have specific goals, so we created individual curriculums,” said Bramlett. “They will also come together in group sessions. We want to show them the full scope of the industry and all the potential avenues,” she said.

In August, the organization’s initial harvest interns began their four-month, direct experience. Study areas include viticulture, vineyard management, winemaking in the barrel room, the science of bottling and determining brix, along with the numerous daily decisions common to smaller wineries.

The four wineries partnering in the program completed the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, or DEI, training required by OLH. Interns were paired with Adelsheim Vineyard, Nicolas-Jay, WillaKenzie Estate and Compris Vineyard.

Interns Marcela Alcantar-Marshall and Raven Blake currently work while learning at Adelsheim Vineyard. Marcela and her family moved to Carlton with a goal of entering agriculture. “I quickly realized wine was the best way,” she said. She hopes to experience different aspects of the wine industry to find what she most prefers and looks forward to a deeper understanding of all the processes.

Raven Blake, who lives in Connecticut, said, “Working my first harvest in 2013 at Bedell Cellars in the North Fork of Long Island sparked my interest in winemaking. It was an experience that I enjoyed the most in the wine industry and I’ve been interested in returning to the cellar ever since.” Raven’s goal is “to complete my own wine business plan. I also want to develop an anti-racist and anti-bias training format to use for other wine and hospitality ventures in the future.”
Denzel Green, from Louisiana, will intern at WillaKenzie Estate. He visited Penner-Ash Wine Cellars in 2017 and felt intrigued with winemaking when he saw the tanks filled with juice and skins. Earlier this year, with the radio on in the background, he heard Tiquette Bramlett “discussing an organization working to get more people of color into the wine industry,” he said. In that instant, he was ready to apply, but had to wait until the application period opened. “I intend to take full advantage of this internship,” he said. His goal is to become a winemaker with the support and connections of OLH.

Dr. Kimberley Dockery, originally from Tennessee and now living in Portland, will intern at Compris Vineyard. She said, “I would love to gain more education and study to become a sommelier.” Dockery’s areas of interest include wine and plant-based food pairing.

Kenynan Carter, now living in Atlanta, will intern at Nicolas-Jay. His fascination with food and wine began with a job at an Italian restaurant when he first tasted Sangiovese. Recently, he has taken online classes through a Napa Valley wine academy and attained a Level 2 certification. “I look forward to continuing to learn from this unique experience,” he said.

A July 2020 fundraising party officially introduced the nonprofit. “It was a great success. We had wine, food, vendors with clothing, art and jewelry and live entertainment. It was not only a fundraiser, but a great way to show how we can connect and build community,” said Bramlett. An upcoming event is planned for November.

During their internship, all interns share a home in McMinnville and will travel around the Willamette Valley, Southern Oregon and Washington for educational, social and networking opportunities. Planned connections with industry representatives and members of the BIPOC winemaking community are another part of the internship program.

A second internship program, planned for next May, will focus on hospitality and the direct-to-consumer side of the wine business.

When considering the best methods to recruit and select intern candidates, Bramlett drew on her own unusual path into the industry. One week after graduating from college with majors in vocal performance and organizational leadership, her life took a frightening turn: Bramlett was hit by a drunk driver and learned she had thyroid cancer. Although she was only scraped in the accident, the cancer diagnosis was life-changing. During weeks of treatment, she joined her parents on wine tasting jaunts to Napa and California’s Central Valley. She soon began questioning tasting notes and started to wonder, “When you say it tastes like this, what does that mean?”

She began reading The Wine Bible, a gift from her mom, and imagined herself transported in time and place whenever she drank an old-world wine. These experiences inspired Bramlett to enroll in sommelier training.

Although she didn’t share the wine experience of her classmates, she had a particularly sensitive palate. Recognizing this, her teacher offered one-on-one tasting lessons and suggested smells to sample. He realized she was genuine.

“That training helped me learn I didn’t want to work in a restaurant but in a winery,” Bramlett said. “I loved it because of the technical side of things and its connection to hospitality.”

“I frequently rated Willamette Valley wines the highest in all the blind tasting we did. The observant master sommelier pointed that out to me,” she said.

That spring Bramlett came to Oregon to visit friends and apply for jobs at some wineries. A chance encounter at a restaurant prompted her to apply at Anne Amie Vineyard. She made an impression; as the staff remembered her from a tasting visit more than a year before. Hired immediately following the interview, Bramlett moved a month later from Southern California.

“I was only planning on being there for a season, but they hired me full time. I was fortunate they kept challenging me,” she said. Bramlett remained for five years, working as the brand ambassador during the last two. From there, she moved to Abbey Creek Vineyard for several months and worked with Bertony Faustin. “He helped me bring humanity back into hospitality,” she said. “He reminded me of the importance of sitting with people and nurturing a connection… that we need to remember it’s bigger than wine.”

At Compris Vineyard, Bramlett’s job encompasses something of everything. She advances the business plan, helps with hospitality and— sometimes— winemaking. The 90-minute tasting experience is by-appointment. “We accommodate everyone in this space. No one is ever rushing, and we get one-on-one time with each and every guest,” said Bramlett.

Erin and Dru Allen purchased the winery in November 2020; both feel passionate about wine and community. They moved to the Willamette Valley vineyard property from Bend, where they once ran a trucking logistics company. “They are very intuitive and quickly immersed themselves in learning the craft of winemaking. Neither is afraid to ask questions,” said Bramlett. The Allens fully support the goals and connections OLH creates. As a visual reminder of Compris’ commitment to inclusion, Black Lives Matter and Progress flags fly outside the tasting room.

For Bramlett and OLH, the internship program marks ambitious dreams for the nonprofit. Future plans include a permanent campus for educational seminars, hosted dinners and pop-up events that expand the BIPOC wine community.

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