Wines & Vines Home
   
 
Welcome Guest
LOGIN |  CREATE ACCOUNT
 
ADVERTISEMENT
 
 
 
03.26.2014  
 

Oregon Institute Hires Program Coordinator

Mark Chien returns to the northwest after 15 years in Pennsylvania

 
by Linda Jones McKee and Peter Mitham
 
 
“mark
 
After 15 years as a viticulture extension advisor in Pennsylvania, Mark Chien is returning to Oregon to serve as program coordinator at the Oregon Wine Research Institute.
Corvallis, Ore.—There’s still no director, but come June the Oregon Wine Research Institute will have a new program coordinator: Mark Chien, who has served as the viticulture educator for Penn State Cooperative Extension in Lancaster, Pa., since 1999.

Announcing his new position and departure from Pennsylvania in his viticulture e-newsletter, “Wine Grape Information for Pennsylvania and the Region,” Chien described himself as “a non-traditional, non-conformist colleague,” a point that may come as no surprise to the industry in Oregon, where he previously worked from 1984 to 1999.

“In May, Judi and I will move back to Oregon (where we lived from 1984-1999),” Chien announced. “It is with very mixed feelings that we depart Pennsylvania. Our original intent was to have a five-to-seven year adventure in the eastern U.S., and it has stretched to 15, during which both of us have established ourselves in the community. It will be difficult to leave.”

Experience in the East
In 1999, Chien left Salem, Ore., where he had been vineyard manager of the 100-acre Temperance Hill Vineyard, and came to Pennsylvania to become the wine grape extension agent for 16 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania. At that time, the Lake Erie region of Pennsylvania—with its tradition of growing juice and table grapes—had extension personnel in place, but the southeastern part of the state had no viticultural or enological resource staff available. Funded partly by Penn State’s Cooperative Extension and by the Southeast Grape Industry Association, Chien was given responsibility for a wide range of duties, from assisting grapegrowers and winemakers to securing research funding and serving as advisor about small business management and marketing.

It soon became apparent that the entire state could benefit from his skills, and in 2002 Chien became viticulture educator for all of Pennsylvania, both to meet that need and to access funding from the Pennsylvania Wine Marketing Board. “When I first came to Pennsylvania,” Chien told Wines & Vines, “I was almost afraid to taste the vinifera wines, as many of those wines had problems. Now I look forward to tasting all wines from the region. It’s an amazing change.”

To gather the information and background to help growers and winemakers in Pennsylvania, Chien traveled widely. “We had to get information from other places, such as Cornell and Virginia Tech, because it didn’t exist in Pennsylvania,” Chien said. When he returned from meetings with growers, conferences or wine tastings, Chien would report his observations through a newsletter, with the goal of providing useful information for the region’s wine growers.

Looking back on his time in Pennsylvania, Chien said, “It has been a thrilling ride for me with eastern wines.…It never ceases to amaze me the passion and delight that wine engenders in people, and their ability, despite all odds, to grow fine wine under seemingly impossible conditions. I have grown to admire and respect all of you for your sense of place and history and determination to succeed, where, quite honestly, those from less harsh regions would fail or simply not bother to try to grow fine wine grapes.”

What’s behind and what’s ahead
Chien’s departure for Oregon will leave Pennsylvania with a “temporary void in the viticulture extension landscape” (as Chien described it), but according to Jamie Williams, vice president at The Winery at Wilcox in Wilcox, Pa., and president of the Pennsylvania Wine Association, the Pennsylvania Wine Marketing Board is working to find someone to fill the extension position. “We need someone in place for viticulture extension,” Williams told Wines & Vines, “especially after the winter we’ve had. A lot of people will have problems this coming season.”

When asked to define his goals for his new position in Oregon, Chien replied, “There’s a lot that can be done. We need to get the Institute functioning at its peak performance, to facilitate their work and make that work help the industry. We have to be targeted in our efforts, figure out what the industry wants, and use science and research to move forward and continue to improve wine quality.”

Bill Sweat, president of the Oregon Winegrowers Association and co-owner of Winderlea Vineyard and Winery in Dundee, Ore., told Wines & Vines, “As the former manager of Oregon’s Temperance Hill Vineyard prior to moving to Pennsylvania, Mark has first-hand experience with the issues winegrowers face. 
 
“The Oregon Wine community is very excited that Mark has decided to return to Oregon as the program coordinator for the Oregon Wine Research Institute. Mark will also serve on the Oregon Wine Board’s special committee on research. Mark's background in agricultural extension, and past experience as a wine grape grower in Oregon, is an excellent match for his new role at OWRI."

Future at OWRI
Chien’s arrival promises an extra measure of leadership to the Oregon Wine Research Institute, which has been under the interim direction of Bill Boggess, also executive associate dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences at Oregon State University, since 2012.

Boggess oversaw the institute’s transition from previous director Neil Shay, who stepped down at the end of June 2012 to focus on research. The institute embarked on a process that fall of “developing a strategic direction” to balance the interests of industry, the university and the federal research statio n housed under the OWRI banner.

What’s needed at OWRI
Following Shay’s resignation, Bill Nelson, the former president of WineAmerica who served as executive director of the Oregon Winegrowers Association, prepared a report at the request of the OWRI. The report was described to Wines & Vines at the time as, “a basic examination of what different folks are trying to accomplish” via the institute (see “Oregon Wine Institute Mulls Future”). 

Nelson’s report, submitted in September 2012 and publicly released a month later, praised the research institute’s potential but highlighted a division between the university’s and industry’s understanding of the institute and the role each group plays. The report recommended that new leadership for the institute adopt less of a top-down approach and be integrated within the academic function of the university, which is primary owner of the institute.

“The director should have an academic role (research and education) as well as a leadership role,” the report said. “Research should be prioritized to address problems that are central to the needs of Oregon grapes and wine. This concept is embodied by the term ‘Unique to Oregon.’”

Boggess was unavailable to speak about the search process that culminated in Chien’s appointment as program coordinator, although it appears Chien’s appointment addresses concerns raised in Nelson’s report.

SHARE »
Close
 
Currently no comments posted for this article.
 
CURRENT NEWS INDEX »


 
Wines & Vines Home
 
866.453.9701 | 415.453.9700 | Fax: 415.453.2517
65 Mitchell Blvd., Ste. A San Rafael, CA 94903
info@winesandvines.com
Wine Industry Metrics
 
Off-Premise Sales » Month   12 Months  
July 2014 $557 million
5%
$7,577 million
6%
July 2013 $533 million $7,128 million
     
Direct-to-Consumer Shipments » Month   12 Months  
July 2014 $61 million
9%
$1,674 million
10%
July 2013 $56 million $1,517 million
     
Winery Job Index » Month   12 Months  
July 2014 312
10%
222
19%
July 2013 283 187
     
 
MORE » Released on 08.15.2014
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Practical Winery & Vineyard Library
 
Search the PWV archive »
 
 

Direct To Consumer
Wine Shipping Report
2014
 
Download full report »
 
 

CALENDAR
  • September 5-6
     
    Windy City Wine Festival
     
  • September 11
     
    Women for WineSense "Women in Wine"
     
  • September 12
     
    Direct to Consumer Wine Sales
     
  • September 18-21
     
    Euphoria
     
  • MORE »
 

READER COMMENTS
 
Article: Ledger David names first winemaker »
 
What a joy to have Kiley on the team! A lot of exciting things happening...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Useful Spanish for Wine Harvest »
 
you misspelled "zona" under Loading Area
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Early 2014 Grape Harvest Begins »
 
Thanks for mentioning Temecula and the South Coast appellation in your article. It is great...
Reader: Guest
 
Article: Wineries May Lose Internet Domain Dispute »
 
All these arguments could be levied by any industry associated with any gTLD, new or...
Reader: Doug Barnett
 
Article: Wineries May Lose Internet Domain Dispute »
 
Do brands get hijacked now? Even though .wine does not yet exist, are there false...
Reader: Larry Chandler
 
 


Directory/Buyer's Guide — Your Wine Industry Marketplace
 
 
WINERY SEARCH
 
 
Advanced Search »
SUPPLIER SEARCH
   by Product
 by Company Name or Brand
 
Browse by Category »
2014 Directory/Buyer's Guide
The Wines & Vines Directory and Buyer's Guide
 
 
EXPANDED ONLINE SEARCH INCLUDED WITH PURCHASE
 
ORDER NOW »
 
LEARN MORE »
 
 
Wines & Vines Magazine
 
 
LEARN MORE »
 
SUBSCRIBE »
 
Digital Edition Now Available!
Wines & Vines Digital Edition Now Available
 
LEARN MORE »
 
ORDER NOW »
 
 
The Wines & Vines Online Marketing System
 
The Industry Standard winery marketing application
 
FREE LIVE DEMO »
 
VIEW VIDEO »
 
 
 
 
Latest Job Listings
 Wine Educator
 Napa, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Tasting Room Sales
 Calistoga, CA
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Midatlantic Field Sale...
 Washington, DC
Sales and Marketing
 Southeast Field Sales ...
 Miami, Orlando Or Fort Lauderdale, FL
Sales and Marketing
 Outbound Phone Sales P...
 Dundee, OR
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 General Manager
 Napa, CA
General Administration and
 Hip Winery Seeks Bar M...
 Denver, CO
DTC, Tasting Room and Retai
 Harvest Lab Intern
 Napa, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Paid Harvest-Winery In...
 Sacramento, CA
Winemaking and Production
 Wine Sales Rep/Broker
 Multiple Territories, CA
Sales and Marketing
 
More Job Listings >>
Follow Us On:
 
 





Home  |  About Us  |  Editors  |  Subscribe  |  Print Edition  |  Digital Edition

Advertise  |  Site Map  |  Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy
 
 
Copyright © 2001-2014 by Wine Communications Group, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
No material may be reproduced without written permission of the Publisher.
Wines&Vines does not assume any responsibility for any unsolicited manuscripts or materials.