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Meet Victor Sandoval '24

A Taste of the Wine Industry

Linfield University's new tasting room and learning lab gives students a unique experiential learning opportunity.

Portrait of Victor Sandoval '24 in Acorn to Oak.

Posted on 09.29.23 by Gabriel Dawson '24 in College of Arts & Science

Linfield Curriculum requirements help undecided students know what to pursue

Victor Sandoval ’24, a Linfield communication arts major from LA didn’t expect to enter the wine industry when he first arrived at Linfield. He chose Linfield University for its small class sizes and experiential learning opportunities. Although initially unsure about the broad Linfield Curriculum (LC) course requirements, he found trying everything valuable in identifying his true interests.

Finding his calling

As he worked through his LCs he realized that communication arts was a good fit because it would help him build and maintain relationships.

“I wouldn’t say it happened in an instant; it happened over time. The sense of community has always been here and it helped me find my calling which is to work directly with people.”

This past summer, he gained hands-on experience through an internship with the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC), held annually on Linfield’s McMinnville campus, during which he assisted in customer service, event planning and distributor partnerships. He realized that the wine industry could help him work with people.

Acorn to Oak Wine Experience logo. "Where Education Meets Taste. Linfield University."Acorn to Oak Wine Experience

As soon as Linfield announced the opening of Acorn to Oak, Victor saw another opportunity for experiential learning in the wine industry. Given his recent experience with IPNC, he was a great fit.

“I’m really happy that I'm getting to experience the other side of this industry that I didn't have before.”

While his summer internship helped him build skills in the back room, he is now extending his hands-on learning by pouring wine, preparing food and interacting with customers which he has found the most rewarding.

A new clientele 

When he compares his time at IPNC with his recent experience at Acorn to Oak, he identifies something important. “The wine industry has this perception that tasting room clientele are particular and I am interested in how this can be changed for a younger generation.”

Acorn to Oak doesn't necessarily cater to the affluent crowd. Instead, they focus on producing a positive experience that welcomes people who would not typically seek out a wine tasting.

A tasting room with community in mind

It may seem to some that the tasting room market on Third Street risks oversaturation, but Victor is not worried about that. “One memory I have from the opening that really stuck out to me was when I was in the middle of service and finally had a breather. As I looked around I saw there were people from a bunch of different tables talking from across the room with each other. And I said to myself ‘Wow, this really is a community.’”

With their community-like atmosphere and by far the lowest price point on tastings in the area, they stand out from the other tasting rooms.

A dream for the future

Victor is considering pursuing a career in wine that promotes this affordable and community-oriented business model. He believes that Linfield's focus on experiential learning has empowered him to explore innovative approaches both in the classroom and in real-world settings.

“Linfield takes education seriously and it has made my three years and one month here amazing. It feels bittersweet to be ending this journey.”