This is no April Fool's Joke! Umpqua Community College's Southern Oregon Wine Institute announced it received a gift of $800,000 to get the school's winery jump-started. The generous donation was made by Sutherlin attorney Danny Lang.
According to The News-Review article, Lang admitted he drinks only about three glasses of wine per year, and he couldn't pronounce most wine names. Still, he said, he recognized the importance of the industry in the region.
The Southern Oregon Wine Institute will use the money to build a commerical-scale winemaking facility that is modeled after a similar structure at Walla Walla Community College in Washington (design by Fletcher Farr Ayotte pictured). The total cost of the project will be $8 million and if that money is raised through loans and donations, ground breaking will begin this summer.
Currently, the Southern Oregon Wine Institute is mainly an online-based program that serves approximately 50 students working to earn a one-year or two-year degree in viticulture and enology. The institute will be releasing its first wine vintage this summer.