Linfield College in both Portland and McMinneville, in prime wine country territory, has long been a top wine school. It is located in the heart of the Willamette Valley, known for making some of Oregon’s best Pinot Noirs, and also hosts the annual International Celebration of Pinot Noir conference and rowdy gathering.
In early September, in tandem with the French Ecole Superieur d’Agriculture (ESA) in Angers, Linfield launched a five-year combined bachelors and Master’s program. The impetuous behind it was to, “to provide a unique student pathway to studying the wine sector, completely degrees in a more rapid manor and provide students an international experience,” according to Gregory V. Jones, the director or Evenstad Center for Wine Education at Linfield.
He added that he believes it is the first of its kind in the country and that Linfield is the only U.S. partner for the program. It will allow students to shave one year off their studies.
The initial program is starting small and will have a maximum of five students per year. Jones shared that three current wine studies students have said that they will be applying for it.
The combined degree includes three years at Linfield and a semester in France at ESA in Angers in the Loire Valley. During the forth year one semester will rotate between the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain or Szent István University in. Another will take place at either University of Trás-Os-Montes e Alto Douro, in Vila Real in northern Portugal or the Catholic University Sacred Heart of Piacenza, Italy.
For the last year the students will divide their time between ESA and then conduct a professional thesis project at a private company, research laboratory or public institution, said Jones. He said that these might take place “at any of the main hosting countries above or in other partner institutions in countries such as the U.S.A., Chile, South Africa, Switzerland or England.”
All the classes will be conducted in English. The unique, five-year curriculum was intended to help students develop technical skills in vineyard creation and terroir management, grape and wine quality improvement; and winemaking techniques and sensory analysis. It is also intended to help them to address changing environmental issues; and forming strategic skills in defining wine identity and diversity, wine markets and brands, wine firms and sectors, national and international wine business strategies, according to a Linfield press release.