A CHAT WITH DR. GREG JONES, OUR NEW RESIDENT CLIMATE EXPERT - The Yamhill-Carlton American Viticultural Area The Yamhill-Carlton American Viticultural Area

A CHAT WITH DR. GREG JONES, OUR NEW RESIDENT CLIMATE EXPERT

We’ve been meaning to share the news that our friend Dr. Greg Jones, the preeminent wine climatologist who has offered tremendous insight on our wine-growing climate changes over the years, is now the new Director of Wine Education at McMinnville’s Linfield College. As such, Greg will oversee a program that offers a liberal arts perspective to the business and history of wine. His Linfield position will continue the work that he has undertaken, most recently at Southern Oregon University, on climate change and its effects on wine-growing and terroir. He has been commuting to his home in Ashland this year while his sons finish their senior years in high school, but we caught up with him earlier this fall in his new office at Linfield.

HOW DID THIS NEW APPOINTMENT AT LINFIELD COME ABOUT?
“Six to eight years ago I spoke with President Thomas Hellie about wine education in Oregon. Our thoughts aligned. I’ve always admired what Tom was doing and thought it was a perfect place for wine education and for connecting with the community. Last February, at the Oregon Wine Symposium, I heard that [founding director] Ellen Brittan was leaving. And then Tom gave me a call.“

HOW DO YOU SEE THE WINE STUDIES PROGRAM GROWING AND CHANGING?
“We will be putting together a Wine Studies major that communicates wine as a vehicle for a liberal arts education. It really offers students a great vehicle for learning. Wine encompasses so many things – food, geography, history, economics, a beverage. It will be an all-encompassing program for students to learn marketing, events, sales, a little chemistry, a little biology, and social media.”

NOT SO MUCH ABOUT WINE-MAKING AS ABOUT THE OVERALL MARKETING AND REACH OF WINE?
“Yes. We know that selling and interfacing with the public is the hardest part. Until now, there has been no private liberal arts focused institution in the world with wine education. It should be fully in place by Fall 2018. Right now, we have two Fundamentals of Wine courses, and a planned trip to Burgundy in January for students to study its connection to the Willamette Valley.”

WILL THE CENTER CONTINUE TO INTERACT WITH THE WINE COMMUNITY?
“Definitely. The Center for Wine Education umbrella will include community events to build relationships with the industry and community. And we will continue our Wine Seminar speaker series, with 4 to 6 events a year. We’re also planning a summer Wine Immersion Program, a very focused two days/week for students and community, especially people in the industry to have an immersive experience in wine.”

BUT WHAT ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH? CAN YOU CONTINUE TO DO YOUR CLIMATOLOGY STUDIES AND REPORTS?
“Yes, absolutely. Part of my job is to continue research and outreach. We’re collecting data from probably the largest collection of vineyards in the U.S., including sixteen vineyard sites just in southern Oregon. Our monthly climate and weather reports are now sent out to 1,000 people, and have been for the last ten years. That will now be branded to the Linfield website for even greater outreach. I don’t so much need a lab as I need a place to store data. There is some plant and soil sampling and fruit chemistry that we can do with the chemistry department here, and Linfield is planning a new science building that will include fermentation studies and research capabilities.”

WHERE CAN WE FIND THE MONTHLY CLIMATE REPORTS? AND WHAT IS OUR FORECAST FOR THIS WINTER IN WINE COUNTRY?
“They are now posted on the Linfield website. And right now it is looking like cool and wet in the Pacific Northwest and cool and dry in northern California.”


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