Winemaking at SOWI began in 2012 after an aggressive fundraising campaign allowed the Danny Lang Teaching, Learning, and Event Center to be constructed on the campus of Umpqua Community College. The winery in the Lang Center was conceived as a state-of-the-art wine production and teaching facility with energy-saving design and cutting-edge safety features. UCC’s Wine Production/Cellar Management program teaches a broad overview of wine production which includes equipment sanitation, grape processing, fermentation science, cellar operations and procedures, cellar record keeping, barrel and tank management and bottling/packaging practices. Upon completion of the UCC Wine Production/Cellar Management program, students will be qualified for entry-level winery positions that can lead to a fulfilling career in winemaking.
Teaching Winery and Winery Incubator Concept
The winery was designed for a production capacity of 3,000 cases per year. As part of their coursework, students participate in making wines for the college’s SOWI Cellars label, which produces about 500 cases annually. The remaining production capacity is slated for use as a winery incubator. Wine industry entrepreneurs can develop their own business plan and receive TTB and OLCC licensure to utilize the SOWI equipment and cellar space to start their own brand. This allows them to craft quality wines while aiming start-up capital towards permanent facilities of their own. SOWI has received funding from both the US Department of Agriculture and the Economic Development Administration for both the teaching winery and the winery incubator. Because of these grants, the SOWI winery is outfitted with the best available equipment for high quality winemaking on a small scale.