Southern Oregon Wine Institute gets grant

WINCHESTER, Ore. -- The renewal of a national grant has given the Southern Oregon wine industry an economic shot in the arm.

For their 'Grow Our Own: Job readiness for the Southern Oregon Wine Industry Project,' Umpqua Community College is set to receive $180,000 from the Wal Mart Foundation and American Association of Community Colleges.

Lee Paterson, the chairman of the SOWI advisory committee says it shows that the wine program's work is getting national attention. "People outside of our region really understand what's going on here and also understand our need for further economic development," he said.

Through this grant, the college hopes to provide mid-level training to unemployed workers in the area.

"It was a nationwide competition. we're one of 17, but we're also one of four that were selected to be mentor colleges in this," said Chris Lake, the director of SOWI.

With that designation, the Southern Oregon Wine Institute will be an example for other schools in using the best practices for growth. "The Southern Oregon Wine Institute is acting as a catalyst, to really energize the wine industry in Southern Oregon, we're very excited about that," Patterson said.