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Winemaking Students Learn Overseas

Internships program has placed 18 from Northwest grape and wine colleges

by Peter Mitham
matt cates domino de cair
Umpqua Community College student Matt Cates spent the semester interning at Domino de Cair, a Spanish winery specializing in Tempranillo.
Bend, Ore.—When Matt Cates returns from Spain today he’ll be wiser and maybe a bit jet-lagged. The Umpqua Community College student traveled overseas in September to learn the craft of making fine Tempranillo at Dominio de Cair, a new winery near the town of Aranda de Duero in Spain’s DO Ribera del Duero (Burgos) region—one of the country’s two pre-eminent locales for Tempranillo.

Cates is just the latest Northwest viticulture and enology student venturing overseas for experience. Many have traveled through a longstanding—but low-key—program the Oregon University System developed in 1996 with $4 million in federal funds that came as a so-called “peace dividend” following the end of the Cold War.

Coming and going
Known as IE3 Global Internships, the program has supported the work terms of more than 1,500 students in 82 countries during the past 16 years. Of those, 18 have been viticulture and enology students.

“Our first student was in the summer of 1999 to a wine chateau in France,” Cynthia Engel, Europe and Oceania internships director for IE3 Global Internships, told Wines & Vines. “The students have been to Tours, France, and to Cape Town, South Africa.”

The program works with 17 schools to place 190 students per year, and IE3 is seeking to expand internship opportunities for viticulture and enology students.

“This is fairly new. We do have a couple of sites in South Africa that we’ve sent several students to in the past, but it’s definitely a newer partnership,” Engel said. “We are looking to expand our options at this point.”

New Zealand is among the locations on the horizon, as is Spain.

Cost of the program
The program is ideal for students who have an internship requirement as part of their program and require support to pursue overseas opportunities. IE3 facilitates the internships, vetting both hosts and students as well as setting expectations for hosts and providing support to students. The cost of the internship is approximately $3,450.

“The universities agree to waive their tuition for the term that the internship is taking place, but (students) still earn their home university credits, and then they pay our program fee, which is really comparable to in-state tuition,” Engel explained.

Participating schools
The model has allowed the program to expand beyond serving Oregon schools alone. It now works with four schools in Washington state, the University of Alaska-Fairbanks, the University of Montana and the University of Utah.

A relationship is now being established with Umpqua Community College and the Southern Oregon Wine Institute, where Cates is enrolled in the associate of applied science degree program in viticulture and enology.

Cates’ own internship was fostered by a sister-cities agreement between Roseburg, Ore., where Umpqua Community College is located, and Aranda de Duero, home of Colegio San Gabriel. The two schools provided support for Cates, with additional funding coming from the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association.

While a second internship in New Zealand is in Cates’ future, the relationship with IE3 promises to open new opportunities for other students in Southern Oregon and, by virtue of Umpqua’s relationship with willing partners in Spain, schools across the Pacific Northwest.

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