ALUM OF THE MONTH: DYLAN ROLFES, VINEYARD MANAGER AT STIRLING WINE GRAPES INC. IN WILLAMETTE VALLEY, OREGONJuly 8, 2019
Dylan Rolfes graduated with a Masters of Science in Horticulture with an emphasis on Fruit and Vegetable Production in 2012. Dylan is from is from Granger, IA.
Dylan’s major job responsibilities include overseeing day-to-day operations for more than 20 vineyards in the northern reaches of the Willamette Valley. That includes everything from organizing and training crews for canopy management tasks, setup and operation of tractors and other mechanical equipment, and grape and vine quality assessment and adjustment. In short, he works a jack-of-all trades type of position in the vineyard.
We asked Dylan what he likes most about his job. “What I like most about my job is the incredible variety of work that I get to do on a regular basis. There is no such thing as a typical day as a vineyard manager. Each day, and each vineyard, provides a new set of challenges and opportunities to learn something new. This is also a very tangible career. There is something very rewarding about working with your hands each day and having something real to show for all of your hard work. It also doesn’t hurt when what you have to show is a high quality bottle of wine.”
Following is the advice Dylan offers to current students: My advice to students would be to continue to always embrace new challenges. I have never gained much from accepting a job that I was already good at doing. Also, don’t fool yourself; this career field is hard. You will likely work 70 or more hours a week; much of it very physically and mentally exhausting. However, if you truly love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life. So make sure that you are doing something that you truly love.