News Release 08-001-D
SOWI director starts July 21
UCC hires viticulturist, winemaker for program to begin in the fall
Announcement highlights other news in its wine program
News Release 08-001-D For more information:
Release date: 07/01/08 Bentley Gilbert
For immediate release (541) 440-7747
Winchester— Umpqua Community College has hired Christopher Lake, the viticulturist and assistant winemaker at Stone Bluff Cellars in Haskell, OK, to become the first director of the College’s Southern Oregon Wine Institute.
“Chris Lake not only has the entrepreneurial experience of a commercial wine maker,” said UCC President Blaine Nisson announcing Lake’s appointment on Wednesday, June 25, “but he also has published extensively and worked in viticulture and enology programs in academic settings. That’s a combination we expect will be vital to our new program here in southern Oregon.”
Lake has a two-year associate’s degree and a bachelor’s degree in plant science from California State University in Fresno. He has published more than 20 articles based on his research on the cultivation of wine grapes, and presented papers at the meetings of professional associations. He has been a board member and officer of several horticulture, viticulture and grape growers’ associations.
“The Southern Oregon Wine Institute is poised to become a valuable partner to the grape and wine industries in southern Oregon by providing both certificate and degree granting programs in viticulture and enology,” Lake said Wednesday. “I look forward with great anticipation to developing these programs and serving the needs of both Umpqua Community College students and the grape and wine industries of southern Oregon. I am honored to be selected as the director of the Southern Oregon Wine Institute.” He will start work at UCC on Monday, July 21.
Other Wine News from UCC
In the meantime, the Southern Oregon Wine Institute at UCC recently received $200,000 in job-creation Lottery dollars from the Douglas County Industrial Development Board Fund, approved by the county commissioners at their June 18 meeting.
“This grant is particularly important,” said Nisson, “because it demonstrates that our viticulture and enology program is a significant economic development opportunity for our region and well as a new academic program for our students.”
Earlier, the College received a $93,000 grant from the State of Oregon that will help finance the early costs of the viticulture and enology program.
In late June, the Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians gave the Southern Oregon Wine Institute a $50,000 grant. With the two grants above, funding for the first two years of the Southern Oregon Wine Institute is now complete.
“Once again the Cow Creeks have demonstrated their concern for the greater community by supporting efforts to develop jobs in Douglas County,” said UCC President Nisson. “This rounds out our funding for the operation of the program.”
Working with the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association, the College will host the country music band “Black Hawk” September 27 at the College’s new, outdoor Swanson Amphitheatre. All of the proceeds, after expenses, will go to the Southern Oregon Wine Institute. It is planned that this will become an annual event with proceeds shared between SOWI and the winegrowers association.
Several weeks ago, the first student to the two-year degree program, Sandy Glaser, has registered for the fall.
Finally, as part of a master plan process, the architectural and development plans are moving forward on land on the eastern end of the campus for both a vineyard and winery.
“Douglas County citizens have a lot of heart and a lot of vision and there is lot of need locally,” said Nisson. “Fortunately, in the Southern Oregon Wine Institute, UCC will be able to help grow the economy so that it will attract many new jobs of all kinds. The industry, political leaders, the College’s faculty and administration, and the public have been fundamental to our initial success.”
Enrollment in the College’s one-year viticulture certificate program or the two-year degree viticulture and enology program is possible at the present time. Financial aid is available from UCC for both programs.-30-