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MAT alum leverages fine arts training, brings ancient technique back to winemaking

September 26, 2018

  • Andrew Beckham in his workshop.
    Andrew Beckham in his workshop.
    Michael Alberty

Lewis & Clark alum Andrew Beckham (BA ’98, MAT ’01), a fine arts teacher at Beaverton High School, is using his ceramics background to reintroduce an ancient technique to west coast winemaking.

As reported by Michael Alberty for the Oregonian, Beckham was happily making wine in oak barrels at his Beckham Estate Vineyard when he came across a magazine article about Italian winemaker Elisabetta Foradori. Intrigued by her use of large terracotta pots, which the Italians call “amphora,” to make wine, Beckham says he put the magazine down and thought, “Hey, I’m a ceramic artist, I think I can make these things.”

In 2013 Beckham fired up his kiln to make one-liter amphora prototypes to begin testing. Beckham eventually worked his way up to 90-gallon amphora – they hold the equivalent of one barrel of wine - in which to ferment and age his wines. There aren’t many wineries in the world using terracotta vessels, so word of his amphora project spread quickly.

“I have a vision,” Beckham declares. “I want to change the way people in this region make wine. I want to have an impact.”

Read the full article at oregonlive.com.

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