Vinum Docet is a wine tour company led by Dr. Jeff D. Peterson. Jeff calls Oregon’s Willamette Valley home and travels frequently to wine regions around the world.
Dr. Jeff D. Peterson is a professor at Linfield College, in McMinnville, Oregon. He has lived and worked in much of Latin America, was raised in Brazil, lived in Mexico for several years, and has had projects in Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua. A sociologist by training, he is a faculty member of the Wine Studies Program through the Evenstad Center for Wine Education, teaching courses in Viticulture, the Geography of Wine, and the Sociology of Work and Occupations of wine. He initiated the Oregon Wine History Project™, and led the founding of Linfield College’s Wine Studies Program, the only wine studies program in the United States, and perhaps the world, to focus on the liberal arts approach to the wine industry. He also conducts the Oregon Wine Labor Survey for the Oregon wine industry, which is supported by the Oregon Wine Board.
Through local and international courses and travel, Vinum Docet, or “Wine Educates,” uses wine as a way to explore history, culture and food in ways that are more accessible and interactive (and a hell of a lot more fun!).
Frequently Asked Questions
Why did you start vinum docet?
I started Vinum Docet because it combines my passions for wine and education, with my skills for living in, and understanding, other cultures. As I’ve traveled to wine regions on my own and with others, I tend to frame what I learn about wine in terms of what I can understand about that region’s food, culture, viticulture (grape growing) and oenology (wine making) and history. Whether we are looking at recent wine cultures, such as Oregon, or wine making regions that go back centuries, such as South America or Spain and France, there always seems like there is more to learn about wine!
You talk about wine and education – am I taking a class?
No, but you are probably going to get a bit of education! I have taken many groups abroad, and what I try to do is give people the concepts and tools that make the experience more enriching. There might be handouts, or a short lecture by myself or a speaker; all designed to make your experience more enjoyable. I look at it as “wine, with a side of education,” to help your experience be both more meaningful and fun.
What are the tours like?
Because of my personal experience in moving back and forth between cultures, and my field experience in education, I enjoy exploring other cultures and helping other people explore them and understand them. In my tours we explore some of the conventional places you would expect to go, but I also like to find those hidden, out of the way places that are a bit more unique and hard to get to. On my tours you will find yourself talking with wine-makers, grape-growers, you will walk vineyards (and maybe even picking grapes, if the season is right), and you will most certainly find yourself tasting a lot of wine and the food that goes with it! I also try to give you free time to explore on your own, and will give you suggestions if you want them.
WHat do you love about wine ?
What I love about wine is that it is the perfect intersection of art, science and culture. This means that there are endless wine regions, wine-growing styles and wine cultures to explore. I love the fact that not only can I help people understand how these areas intersect, but I also get to keep learning myself, as part of the journey.
Will we do technical wine tastings? Will there be food pairings with wine?
We will do both. There will be wine tastings to look at the technical side of wine, but we will also have tastings that focus on how those wines combine with food. These are two different things – a wine you might not want to drink on its own might go great with food, and vice-versa. I am also very much a “drink the wine you like” kind of person. I will provide you with a chance to explore wine varietals, different terroirs, and styles of wine-making, but in the end, you get to decide what you want to drink.