Over 200 hundred wine lovers gathered at Chemeketa’s Northwest Wine Studies Center May 18 to sip and savor the fruits of student and alumni labor. The event was a celebration of the natural bounty of our region, the professionals who craft these resources for our benefit and the education that makes our joy possible.
Kevin Green, who studied in Chemeketa’s program over a decade ago was showcasing his first bottling, La Randonnee, praised the networking opportunities associated with Chemeketa, “I contacted an old classmate who has a vineyard, and was able to make my first wine with his fruit.”
Current Chemeketa student Ben Martin is the co-founder of Dauntless Wine. He is a former member of the Marine Corps and will donate the annual net revenue of his company to veteran services. His dream is to buy a vineyard where he could employ disabled vets. Martin was honored at the event with the Emerging Leader award.
Two Student of the Year awards went to Jacob Sembler and Danny Jaffer.
The Legacy Builder Award went to Ken Wright who urged students and veterans of the industry with hard-earned lessons from experience. For example, Wright’s advice for winemakers is to take a keen interest in the vineyard. “You must control the soil and vines for the fruit to sing in your wine.”
Wright has been a big advocate for wine education supporting both Chemeketa and Yamhill-Carlton High Schools programs. He describes himself as a life-long learner, “You will never know it all, but you must try.”