FACULTY SPOTLIGHT: Pam Long
Please tell us about yourself.
I have lived on the North Coast of California for much of my life. My career began in Humboldt County in broadcast radio, eventually landing me in Los Angeles; Dallas; San Francisco; Nelson, New Zealand, and Santa Rosa. Eureka has been my home for the last ten years.
What led you to become part of the faculty in the Wine Studies program?
When I moved back here in 2013, I was amazed to learn that there were close to 35 wineries in Humboldt County. That got the wheels spinning and I developed a pitch for a comprehensive wine education program, and met with Extended Education director Sheila Rocker-Heppe. Without much convincing, she pretty much told me to “make it so.” The Wine Studies certificate program launched in spring 2016.
What can you tell us about the students in the Wine Studies program?
Diverse! The students are a rich variety of ages, career backgrounds, and stories. With all the enthusiastic interest in learning about wines of the world and palate development, class discussions are lively and thought provoking. The students’ questions and comments truly drive my course prep.
How have you seen students’ lives impacted by completion of the Wine Studies program?
The program is based on four fundamentals of the wine industry — winegrowing; winemaking; the marketing and business of wine; and sensory evaluation and service. The Wine Studies program has been host to local winemakers, beverage buyers for restaurants and retail outlets, food servers, wine distributors, wine enthusiasts, and farmers considering planting a vineyard. I would say the collective impact has nudged these individuals toward a better understanding of their tasks and inspirations. And most importantly has created something of a local wine community interested in sharing knowledge, collaborating on winemaking ventures … and sharing a good bottle of wine!
What have you learned from the students in the Wine Studies program?
Every student brings with them a set of tools. These tools are shaped by their experiences in life — work, travel, family, community. Their diverse backgrounds, along with their high-level interest in wanting to know everything about wine, has inspired me to tap into their individual tool sets. This sort of engagement with the students allows them to see their potential and place in what may become a burgeoning Northern California wine region.