Vineyard founder to uncork mysteries of Oregon wineries


CORVALLIS - Willamette Valley Vineyards president and founder Jim Bernau will present "Heard It Through the Grapevine - The Dirt on Growing the Oregon Wine Industry" as part of Oregon State University's College of Business' Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series on Friday, Feb. 4.

Bernau's 90-minute talk, which is free and open to the public, begins at 10:30 a.m. in OSU's Dearborn Hall Room 118. He will discuss innovations in capital formation, customer involvement, supplier relations and environmentally sustainable practices.

Bernau served as a legislative lobbyist before he established Willamette Valley Vineyards as a sole proprietorship in 1983. He helped structure the Oregon Wine Advisory Board and Bernau developed the first successful self-underwritten public offering of a winery in the United States.

"Jim Bernau's story is a fascinating account of innovation and success," said Ilene Kleinsorge, OSU's Sara Hart Kimball dean of the College of Business. "His experiences reveal the attributes needed to attain a high level of success in today's business environment."

Bernau has worked as director of the Oregon Chapter of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, as well as served as president of the Oregon Winegrowers Association and treasurer of the association's political action committee.

Last year, Bernau received the wine industry's Founders Award for his service.

No stranger to OSU, a decade ago, Bernau, then president of Nor'Wester Brewing Co. of Portland, gave $500,000 of Nor'Wester stock to the OSU Foundation to establish a professorship dedicated to fermentation science in the College of Agriculture Sciences' Department of Food Science and Technology. Established in 1995, it was the first professorship of its kind in the country.

Bernau's talk is the fifth in the College of Business' Dean's Distinguished Lecture Series. Other lectures have touched on Hollywood filmmaking, leadership in management, business ethics and community building.