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Great news from Domaine Serene founders Grace and Ken Evenstad. They have pledged $6 million to Linfield College's wine education program.

SUMITTED PHOTO  - Domaine Serene founders Grace and Ken Evenstad have pledged $6 million to Linfield Colleges wine education program.

You might have expected to read about St. Patrick's Day hijinks today in Lifting the Fork.

A traditional Irish recipe is the only salute to Irish culture I can offer today, but then again, my news may just be a hefty dose of the luck of the Irish for Linfield College and Oregon's wine industry.

I learned recently that Domaine Serene Winery founders Grace and Ken Evenstad have pledged $6 million to Linfield College. It's the largest gift in Oregon history in support of wine education, and one of the largest donations in Linfield's history.

The gift will allow the college to significantly expand its wine education program, which already offers the first interdisciplinary liberal arts bachelor's degree in wine studies in the United States.

According to a release from Domaine Serene Winery, the gift will endow the Grace and Ken Evenstad Center for Wine Education at Linfield and fund an endowed faculty position, the Evenstad Chair in Wine Studies. It will also fund the design and construction of the Evenstad Wine Laboratory as part of a new science building under development on the college's McMinnville campus.

What a generous and thoughtful gift from the Evenstads.

The Grace and Ken Evenstad Center for Wine Education will include a Wine Studies degree that incorporates the historical, geographical and environmental aspects of growing grapes and the making, bottling and selling of wine, as well as coursework on sensory-evaluation techniques and industry-specific communication issues.

"Ken and I were drawn to the fact that this new and unique program will focus on all aspects of running a successful and sustainable wine business," Grace Evenstad says. "In our opinion, the real benefit is that it focuses on building a high level of quality throughout the entire business of wine — in winemaking, management, accounting, sales, marketing, etc. This gift will enable thousands of future students to follow their passions in the wine business. It will prepare them for success and will enable the American wine industry to benefit for generations, even centuries, to come."

Linfield currently offers a Wine Studies minor that can be paired with other academic programs and is in the process of developing a standalone major. The Center for Wine Education at Linfield also offers wine management and wine marketing certificates online, holds a wine lecture series, provides a summer Wine Industry Immersion Program and hosts one of the world's premier wine events — the International Pinot Noir Celebration — each summer.

The Oregon Wine History Archive, where I conducted a great deal of research for my book "Willamette Valley Wineries," is housed at Linfield. It is an impressive treasure of Oregon's wine history.

"This tremendous gift is not only a boon to Linfield College, it's a major investment in the future of wine education in our state," says Linfield College President Thomas L. Hellie. "We are deeply grateful to Grace and Ken for this important gift — and we're proud of their faith in Linfield's wine education program."

Last June, Ellen Brittan stepped down as the founding director of the Center for Wine Education. Internationally known wine climatologist Gregory V. Jones succeeded her, and he will be the first to hold the Evenstad Chair in Wine Studies title.

"It is such an honor for Linfield College and myself to be recognized and supported by the Evenstads. Through their generosity and vision, Linfield College will be able to provide a unique, liberal arts education in wine studies that will help develop future leaders of the Oregon wine industry," Jones says. "In addition, the Grace and Ken Evenstad Center for Wine Education will deliver numerous activities that will engage and educate the wine industry and community, enriching the Oregon wine experience for everyone."

The Evenstads and Linfield share a goal of helping support Oregon's wine industry as it develops into one of the world's premier grape-growing and wine-producing destinations.

"From the first day that we set foot in the Dundee Hills, we have been on a never-ending quest to grow and produce the finest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the world," Ken Evenstad says. "By making this donation to Linfield College, we are investing in the future thought-leaders of the global wine industry. With this partnership, it is our hope that the newly endowed wine studies program acts as a magnet to attract the brightest minds from around the world to further propel our industry to even greater heights on the world's stage."

The partnership between Domaine Serene and Linfield is already underway, with on-site educational programs hosted by the winery and a January study-abroad trip for Linfield students that included a visit the Evenstad's French winery, Chateau de la Crée in Burgundy.

This is indeed great news for Oregon's wine industry. Thank you, Grace and Ken. To paraphrase an Irish blessing, may the dreams you hold dearest for Linfield be those that come true, the kindness you spread keep returning to you.

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'll share a recipe for Dublin Coddle, which my Norwegian sister says is outstanding. And I just bet it would pair nicely with a Domaine Serene Yamhill Cuvee 2014 Pinot.

Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure.

Dublin Coddle

Serves 6

4½ pounds potatoes, peeled

1 pint boiled water

1 ham, chicken or beef stock cube (optional)

1 pound good quality pork sausages

1 pound piece thick-cut bacon

2 large onions, sliced

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

salt and coarse ground pepper to serve

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Cut any large potatoes into three or four pieces, leaving smaller ones whole so that they will cook evenly. Dissolve the stock cube in the boiled water, if using.

Grill the sausages and bacon long enough to color them but taking care not to dry them out. Drain on paper towels and chop the bacon into 1-inch piecers. You can chop the sausages into bite-sized pieces, though some prefer to leave them whole.

In a large ovenproof casserole dish with a tight lid, layer onions, bacon, sausages and potatoes, seasoning each layer liberally with pepper and parsley. Continue until the ingredients are used up and pour the hot water or bouillion mixture over the top.

On the stove, bring the liquid to a boil. Immediately reduce the heat and cover the pot. You may like to put a layer of foil underneath the pot lid to help seal it.

Place the covered pot in preheated oven and cook for at least three hours (up to four or five will not hurt it). After two hours, check liquid levels and add more water if necessary. There should be about an inch of liquid at the bottom of the pot at all times.

Serve hot with fresh soda bread to mop up the gravy.

Recipe courtesy of Irish Country Cooking.

Barb Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281 ext. 100 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. She is the author of "Willamette Valley Wineries," a pictorial history of the Willamette Valley wine industry. Learn more at barbarasmithrandall.me. Follow her on Twitter @barbrandallfood.


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