breadcrumbs-home cross minus plus menu search oregon chemeketa-instagram envelope-o star check close home chevron-left chevron-right plus2 chevron-up chevron-down twitter facebook envelope linkedin angle-left angle-right angle-up angle-down rotate-left instagram
Jump to Header Jump to Main Navigation and Secondary Navigation Jump to main content Jump to Footer

The Skills Upgrader

MOVED 2,000 MILES AWAY FROM HOME TO START SOMETHING NEW

Chelsea knew she had reached her career peak as a wine bar manager in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A chance encounter with a Chemeketa Winemaking graduate inspired her to move to Oregon and pursue a degree.

chelsea_homepage

Cultivating the Life She Dreamt Of

My name is Chelsea and I am a 29 year who moved from Wisconsin to study wine at Chemeketa.

Serendipity brought me here. I was managing a wine bar in Wisconsin and felt like I had reached my career peak in my home state. I didn’t know what path to take, but knew I wanted to further my education. Fortunately for me, I had the pleasure of meeting an Oregon winemaker originally from Wisconsin on a business trip back home.

I got to taste her wines and we chatted about how she got where she is today. She told me about her education path through the Winemaking program at Chemeketa. I decided to do some research, and two months later I was taking online classes and making a plan to move out to Oregon on a whim. Not knowing a soul (but having a job and a place to live lined up) I moved out here with $2,000 in my pocket and the hope of starting something new. 

Originally planning to study Wine Business, I instead took classes in both viticulture and winemaking hoping I would love one or the other. After a couple terms I decided winemaking was the better for me, but I was still scared. I had no production or science experience and I was terrified that with all the chemistry, math and lab science I wouldn’t succeed. I hadn’t been a student in 10 years.

My professor/advisor told me it would all be fine and he would help me along the way. I credit most of my success to him as he really helped me make it happen. 

Now I’m graduating with a full time job as a cellar hand at McMenamins Edgefield. I live on a 400 acre farm with plans to plant a small vineyard in spring. One day I would like to have my own fermentation project—whether that’s wine, cider or something else only time will tell. This experience will be super valuable to me as I continue on my career path. 

As I leave the Chemeketa program I cannot fathom how to voice all of my gratitude to everyone who has helped me get here. Even though graduation is a big step in my career I truly wish the program could go on forever. Every day I walk in the wine studies center I learn something new and bettering myself. I’m honored to be graduating from Chemeketa Wine Studies.

Meet the others