Linfield students learn about sustainable practices at Crawford Beck Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA with owner David Beck (left) and Wine Studies Director Greg Jones. ##Photo courtesy of Linfield College

Class Act

Linfield a key industry partner

Located in the Northern Willamette Valley, Linfield College was originally chartered in 1858 as Baptist College at McMinnville. Today, Linfield is known as an independent undergraduate institution nationally recognized for its vibrant teaching faculty, outstanding science programs and distinctive international emphasis. One of Linfield’s newest endeavors: wine education.

The growth of the Oregon wine industry requires educated and trained personnel in the vineyard, winery and within wine’s overall business structure. Heeding that call, Linfield intended to become the first school in the country to offer an undergraduate, interdisciplinary degree in Wine Studies and to become a premier institution for wine education for traditional four-year, undergraduate students, wine industry members and adult learners.

Linfield is now home of the Grace & Ken Evenstad Center for Wine Education, the intersection of traditional academic programming in Wine Studies and other wine-related educational opportunities. Directed by longtime wine industry collaborator and noted wine climatologist, Greg Jones, the Center for Wine Education offers a minor and major in Wine Studies through a unique, interdisciplinary academic approach incorporating: winegrowing history, geography and environmental requirements; processes to produce and sell wine; and sensory evaluation techniques and wine communication. Both courses of study can be paired with a diverse selection of other majors and minors along with international exchanges and internships.

Student Tia Elder says the program is a perfect fit. “I decided to go to Linfield because I liked the amazing study-abroad programs, small class sizes and great professors, but, ultimately, I decided on Linfield because of the Wine Studies program,” she said. “Through the program, I have already met so many influential people in the industry; it has also given me incredible opportunities, such as traveling to Burgundy, France, and helped me find internships and other wine-related volunteer opportunities.”

Linfield’s connection to the region’s wine industry has grown over time. From hosting the International Pinot Noir Celebration since 1987 to organizing other international conferences, workshops, seminars and lecture series, the college rightfully gained a reputation as an important wine trade member.

Furthermore, Linfield students have engaged with the wine industry through a summer immersion program, internships and research; the development of the Wine Studies major will only expand these connections and opportunities for both students and industry members.

Linfield is also home to the Oregon Wine History Archive (OWHA), located on campus at the Nicholson Library and available at The OWHA is an unparalleled project that is home to important documents, artifacts, interviews, and many other historical digital and physical items. The archive acts as a resource center for past and ongoing projects, including undergraduate research, documentary films, academic writings and much more.

Wine education grew out of faculty interest and the vision of Linfield’s retiring president, Tom Hellie. “It’s an exciting next step, following our longstanding involvement with IPNC and the creation of the Oregon Wine History Archive,” he said. “Our new degree in Wine Studies will not only set us apart from other colleges and universities, it will also provide new employees and eventual leaders in Oregon’s wine industry.”

In addition, Linfield engages with the industry through its partnership with local wineries in the creation of The Oak & Vine Society, a wine benefits program with membership open to Linfield alumni, donors, employees, students (over 21) and parents of students. In addition to providing benefits to Oak & Vine members, each winery supports the Linfield Wine Education Fund, providing scholarship opportunities for students in need.

It is through the wine-related programing at Linfield that the Center for Wine Education is evolving along with the Oregon wine industry.

“Linfield’s Wine Studies major incorporates business, marketing and sustainability perspectives,” said Amy Prosenjak, president of A to Z Wineworks and a Linfield Trustee. “Today’s global wine industry depends on people knowledgeable in running and operating businesses profitably. Linfield College, nestled in Oregon wine country with access to field trips, guest lectures and participation in wine and grape research and development, develops liberal arts students poised to explore, speak and write proficiently about business problems. We have several Linfield graduates working at A to Z and plan to continue that tradition.”

For more details about Linfield’s Wine Studies, visit

Web Design and Web Development by Buildable