Watch Founder Jim Bernau speak about Oregon's wine industry and Oregon State University here.
We are so proud to share the exciting news that our Founder Jim Bernau has been honored with the 2016 Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences Hall of Fame Award. Oregon Wine Research Institute (OWRI) details the recognition below:
Jim Bernau, founding owner of Willamette Valley Vineyards in Turner, OR, received the 2016 Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences Hall of Fame Award, which pays tribute to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in agriculture. He joins Dai Crisp (2015) and David Adelsheim (2013) as wine industry recipients of this honor.
Jim is an advocate of research and education efforts at OSU, supporting the Oregon Wine Research Institute and the OSU Fermentation Sciences program. Along with a team of industry representatives, his efforts to increase legislative funding enhanced OWRI research in four OSU departments, provided resources to hire an enology faculty research assistant and a research vineyard manager, and a new faculty position in OSU Applied Economics. These resources allow OWRI to better serve the wine industry.
Jim's lobbying efforts extend to the early 1980's with the start of the Oregon Wine Advisory Board (now the Oregon Wine Board) and the establishment of a grape tax to fund the organization. The OWB provides funding opportunities for viticulture and enology research though a granting process. He also supported legislative initiatives aimed at the building of wineries in farm zones, direct wine to consumer sales, and wine tasting in stores. OWB Executive Director Tom Danowski states, "Jim's generous spirit has lifted our industry through his gifts to iSalud! and Oregon State University. He has been an effective spokesperson for our industry in Salem and Washington, D.C."
Jim's contributions to OSU extend past his legislative efforts. When Jim was president of the Nor'Wester Brewing Company of Portland, he made a personal donation to OSU's food science department to establish the first professorship for fermentation science in the nation. Along with the donation, Bernau worked with OSU to establish a pilot brewery equipped with tanks and equipment, used to educate students on the mechanisms behind beer brewing and production.
Jim demonstrates his efforts in sustainability by his commitment to Oregon Low Input Viticulture and Enology. In the organization's beginning, Jim served on the LIVE board of directors, and he has dedicated a significant amount of time ensuring all vineyards under his control at Willamette Valley Vineyards are LIVE certified.
Mark Chien stated, "I met with Jim to interview him he had just returned from meeting with the governor, who wanted an update on the Oregon wine industry. The fact that she called Jim for the information speaks volumes of his role and importance to the state government and the Oregon wine community. The Oregon Wine Research Institute believes Jim deserves this honor."
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