Two Important Announcements in Wine Education
“Discovering and nurturing the next generation of outstanding young wine writers has been one of my longstanding personal goals for Vinous. As part of our mission, Vinous established the Young Wine Writers Fellowship in 2014, shortly after we launched. I am thrilled to announce that the Fellowship is back in 2018″
The Vinous Young Wine Writer Fellowship provides the fellow with a $3,000 stipend to be used for travel to and research on a wine region. It also comes with an article published in Vinous, one of the premier wine review publications. In addition, the fellow will receive mentoring from the Vinous staff, including Antonio Galloni, Stephen Tanzer, Neil Martin, David Schildknecht, Josh Reynolds and Ian D’Agata. (That’s an impressive mentoring team).
There are in fact very few opportunities for young, aspiring wine writers to find financial and professional help from the existing wine media establishment. We have the Wine Writers Symposium, but while a really great gathering, it’s not quite the same as the Vinous Fellowship in which professional development is paired with real publishing opportunity.
That said, it’s true that M. Shanken Communications (Wine Spectator), the Wine Enthusiast, Wine & Spirits Magazine and the Wine Advocate do have internship programs that provide entry into the wine media to younger people looking to find publishing or wine media experience.
These internships and others like them are great opportunities, as is the Vinous fellowship.
The announcement of the Vinous fellowship comes on the same day that Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon announced the creation of a combined Bachelor/Masters Degree in Wine Studies. There are other higher educational institutions that feed the wine industry with graduates trained in enology and viticulture and Sonoma State has a Wine Business program. But Linfield’s new program is the first fully-fledged under and post-graduate program devoted to all things wine and that has an international component to-boot:
“Students in the program will spend the first three years at Linfield, earning 90 semester credits in wine studies. They will spend the next two years at ESA, studying in either Spain or Hungary during their first semester and in Portugal or Italy during their second semester.
Students’ third semester will be in France, and they will spend their fourth semester conducting a professional thesis project at a private company, research laboratory or public institution in any of the countries in which they have studied or in Chile, South Africa, Switzerland or England.
Students will also have the option of completing internships during academic breaks in the final two years of the program. All classes are taught in English, but students are encouraged to study the language of the country in which they complete their internship.”
The new Linfield program is indicative of many things, not the least of which is the maturation of the American wine industry as well as the Oregon wine industry. In addition, it demonstrates that wine is no longer a whimsical career choice. Rather, we are seeing that the wine industry (be it sales, marketing, production, public relations, etc.) is a legitimate, mainstream career path.
Upon receiving my Masters I would have been hard-pressed to live on a fellowship the likes of the Vinous offering or to accept an internship in the wine industry media. I simply could not have afforded to do that. But, had I earlier determined to make a career in wine, I certainly could have considered embarking on a wine-focused program in higher education—had it existed.
None the less, kudos to Galloni and team for their fellowship. And hats off to Linfield College. These new programs and the internships at America’s top wine media outlets will produce people who in the future will be running the wine industry.