Dundee winery works with Portland art college to provide scholarship and artistic exposure

Artwork by three college students will appear on an upcoming limited edition three-bottle Vintage Brut set by Argyle Winery, and the young artists will also receive scholarships to continue attending art school in Portland.SUBMITTED - Artists (from left) Christin Engelberth, Subin Yang and Lindsey Walker visited Dundee as they worked to design labels for an upcoming Argyle vintage. They were joined for a tour of Knudsen Vineyard by vineyard manager Allen Holstein (left) and Argyle marketing director Chris Cullina.

It’s the first culmination of a new and, for at least the next five years, annual program called the “Art of Sparkling,” which puts a select few Pacific Northwest College of Art students in a rare position to design a label for the Dundee winery.

After the college recently moved from its longtime home in the Pearl District in Portland, Argyle sales and marketing director Chris Cullina visited PNCA’s new space in Old Town and was struck by the similarities between what the college was doing and what Argyle was up to in Dundee.

At the time, Argyle had recently moved its processing facility to Newberg and was in the midst of a major transformation and expansion of its Dundee tasting facility. In a way, it was inspiring for Cullina to see a successful example of how to reimagine an institution’s physical presence, whether a college or a winery.

“That struck a chord with me,” he said.

With Argyle’s past engagement with the arts in mind, the winery and the college began to talk about how they could collaborate in some way.

Months and many conversations later they came up with a rather unique way to provide a scholarship and also some notoriety to a group of young, budding artists.

Instead of simply asking students to submit a piece of artwork, judging the work and awarding funds to the winner, the new program began by asking interested students to answer a series of questions about Argyle. The questions focused on its history, some of the challenges the Willamette Valley faces with climate change and growth in the area, as well as a general interpretation of the company’s brand.

An initial 60 submissions was slowly whittled down until there were finally three top students who made the grade.

Then, those three students were asked to design a label for an upcoming Argyle vintage.

They came out to Dundee to learn about the winemaking steps and visited Argyle’s tasting house as well as nearby Knudsen Vineyard. But beyond an overview of the industry’s history and the lay of the land in the local region, the artists were deliberately not given guidance on where to go in their work.

“We firmly wanted them to make the choice and firmly wanted them to be free to express their interpretation as best they could,” Cullina said.

The original idea was that, in the end, the best label as judged by a panel would be used and its artist would receive the first-place scholarship prize, while the two other finalists would receive second-place prizes.

But when the artists presented their finished artwork in front of the jury, those plans changed.

“It became clear all three had to be printed,” Cullina said.

Although the labels have not yet been unveiled to the public, the artists recently offered some thoughts on their artwork, from a “natural and mysterious” design by Ann-Marie Christin Engleberth, to an image that “evokes the elevation, soil and sunlight of Argyle’s vineyards” by Lindsey Walker, to a “tranquil dark blue, white and black depiction of a summer night” by South Korea native Subin Yang.

“Talking to the people who worked at the winery, I could feel the sense of celebration, innovation and experimentation,” Yang said in a statement. “Hearing stories about the science and the experimentation that went into building Argyle’s vineyards and creating its sparkling wine helped me focus my work on the spirit of renewal.”

Because the artists all started from the same point and with the same background knowledge on the subject they would be interpreting, Argyle marketing director Cathy Martin described the end result, with the different images each artist produced, as a prime example of the artistic process.

“It’s the perfect definition of creativity,” she said.

The labels will be unveiled at an open house event Sept. 10 at Argyle’s tasting house, 691 Highway 99W in Dundee.

For more information, visit or call 503-538-8520.

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