Podcast – Interview with Jenna White

Tune in for this great interview with general manager and all around powerhouse Jenna White, who talks about her job in the industry, about working harvest, and connecting women to lift each other up.

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Full episode transcript:
Ute: Hello and welcome to the Thru the Grapewine podcast today with your host, Ute Mitchell. Please download, rate and review our podcast to help us grow. And if you are a woman in the industry or interested in wine, join our free V I P Facebook group. You’ll find all information in the show notes.

I am so excited about this episode as I am of course about all of them, but interviewing Jenna from The Dundee Hotel, which is a hotel right in Oregon wine country, was a special treat.

Jenna is such a powerhouse of a woman who wears many hats, and I admire her for her seemingly boundless energy. Plus she’s offering a coupon code for our listeners to get 15% off your stay at The Dundee when you use this code on checkout. So go ahead, make yourself comfortable and enjoy the interview.

So welcome, Jenna. Thank you so much for being here.

Jenna White: Yes, thank you so much for having me. I’ve been so excited and anticipating meeting you.

Ute: I know, I’ve, I’ve been looking forward to this for some time now, so this is great.

Jenna White: Yes, I’m excited.

Ute: So, tell me a little about yourself. I know you’re a super busy lady, from what I see when you’re, you know, popping up on Facebook and doing this and that and another thing.

What is it that you do exactly?

Jenna White: So in this realm of my world, because as you mentioned, I’m very busy. I wear lots of hats. But in this, in this department here, I am the general manager of The Dundee Hotel. I’m also the Asset Manager. Cuz at that facility, a lot of people, don’t realize it. Every day, people will come from our restaurant on the first floor to use our restrooms.

They’re like, “oh, this is a hotel upstairs.” So people don’t even realize we have a second floor boutique style hotel in Dundee, 22 rooms. But on the first floor we have five tasting rooms and a restaurant. So I am that Asset Manager, the Facility Manager. I help oversee that property. And then I also hold two roles: the Dundee Hills Wine Growers Association as well. I’m the Member Chair and the Retail and Lodging Liaison Director. I think that’s right.

Ute: That’s exhausting just listening to it.

Jenna White: Yeah. Yeah. But also fun cuz you still hear in my voice like I get excited about it because I love everything. I love all of those roles, honestly. Each one for their own reasons.

Ute: Right. I had no idea that, and, you know, shame on me, but I had no idea that you had five tasting rooms.

Jenna White: That’s what I’m saying. It’s, it’s very common and it’s, it’s even people in Dundee, I mean, we did a holiday market this year and it was so great seeing some of the community come out. We met a lot of our neighbors. And some of the people I were talking to, they just live a couple blocks away and had no idea.

Ute: Uhhuh.

Jenna White: And so we were able to work with them and get them to get their family in for the holidays. And we do different specials for locals, but it’s really interesting, but exciting in a way that we still get to showcase ourselves every day to people, even the local community.

Ute: Yeah. So how did you end up working in a hospitality? I mean, when, when did you get started? What was that driving factor behind it?

Jenna White: Yeah, so hospitality has been my life, since I was 15. So I’m a hard worker if you can’t tell. So yeah, I started at 15 and it, I loved it. I was at Pizza Hut, as a server and then quickly became a manager, and so I stayed in restaurant management all of my life until I randomly in 2017, I saw an ad for a hotel manager at the Inn at Red Hills (it was previously called).

Ute: Mm-hmm.

Jenna White: And I thought I wanted to try something different. My daughter was in middle school, the long hours of the restaurant, and I thought, let me just throw my resume out there. I, I’ve done things, yes, I’ve done restaurant management. But within that I’ve held many roles with sales and marketing and staffing and training. And so I was like, let’s see what happens. And I applied and I became a hotel general manager and here I am.

Ute: Wow.

Jenna White: Yeah.

Ute: I wanna be like you when I grow up!

Jenna White: I wanna be like me when I grow up. I still feel like… I was just saying yesterday, I was talking to some friends at Demaine Willamette.

I still feel blessed every day. I feel like sometimes people, when they get into a job that they love or they get to experience really cool or unique things, that they sometimes get numb to it or it becomes expected or not appreciated and man, I, I really, truly feel blessed every day for the relationships I have and the, the partners and neighbors we have.

Ute: Right. So do you live nearby then? Do you have like a long commute or is it…

Jenna White: No, not too bad. I’m actually just in McMinville, so 15, 20 minutes depending on that bypass traffic that we have, but yeah.

Ute: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. All right, well, so how long has The Dundee been been around? Because I’ve only ever heard about The Dundee like three, four years ago, the very first time.

So, tell me about The Dundee.

Jenna White: Yeah, so that is true. We are, we just popped up on the map. So it was the Inn at Red Hills, like I mentioned previously. And then in December of 2018, we were bought by a very small group, just a few investors local actually too, which is amazing. And so we started our own brand, if you will.

So, The Dundee was the first of a Trace Hotel brand. And we were, our grand opening was actually scheduled for April of 2020

Ute: Uh ohh!

Jenna White: So yeah, that was our Oregon Wine press release too was the April edition. April of 2020 was our grand opening announcement.

Ute: Right.

Jenna White: So if you, if you can get your hands on an April 2020 edition, you can read all about the grand opening.

But yeah, so we, our grand opening was 2020 of April, so that was a little bit rough, but at the… The way I look at it is like, that was such a unique time cuz it was a silver lining because it connected people in such a different way and it not only strengthened like personal relationships, but in our world, at least, I know not everyone had such a fortunate time, but in our world we were really able to strengthen our business relationships and bonds as well.

Ute: Mm-hmm.

Jenna White: So 2020 is when we opened and it was a rough go to begin with, but we have hit the ground running and we are doing really great and we are meeting a lot of new people and creating a lot of new relationships and going strong now in January of 2023.

Ute: I think this is such an interesting thing too, when I’m looking back at the last couple of years, I… in 2020 I started, well, I was laid off. I used to work for Hawks View, and then of course everybody was laid off in April.

Jenna White: Yeah.

Ute: Lockdown because, you know, nobody really knew how long, when this was gonna go.

Jenna White: Right.

Ute: They tried to keep us on at first when they were initially saying, “oh, we’re gonna be locked down for two weeks”, and well then that turned into much longer.

But I started working at Avidity, which is just between Sherwood and Newberg, kind of up on the hill where Parrett Mountain is as well.

Jenna White: Okay. Yeah. Yeah.

Ute: And it was amazing because they were one of the few wineries open to begin with. Plus there was such a big outdoor area, and so

Jenna White: Oh yeah.

Ute: Basically, it felt like all of Sherwood and Tigard and Newberg and, and Beaverton kind of flocked to Avidity and they had Sunset Friday going on and not everybody loved what they were doing because there were a lot of people .

Jenna White: Right.

Ute: But I will tell you, it felt, you know, yes, I had to wear a mask being a server and then the tasting room manager, but people were sitting outside on their blankets on their camping chairs and there was a musician and there was a food cart and you know, we made sure to keep people six feet apart and all of that.

Jenna White: Yeah.

Ute: And it was almost, it almost felt like a good world to go, come to, you know, up on the hill away from everything.

Jenna White: Yeah. You’re making me smile so big just even hearing it because I mean, I can feel what you’re saying and, and those are, those are the times that really kind of started to bring people together.

It’s like we miss that human connection so deeply, you know?

Ute: Exactly. Yeah.

Jenna White: So yeah, tough year, tough year to open. But also there was many, many blessings and silver linings that have carried us through and, and we just feel very blessed to be in the small town of Dundee, you know?

Ute: Yeah, yeah, for sure. Gosh, I’m so excited about going there.

Jenna White: Yeah. Yeah. It’s such a fun spot. Like now that you know, the five tasting rooms are there, no transportation needed. Right?

Ute: Dude, seriously!

So what does your regular day look like? And I’m, I’m sure with you wearing so many different hats, it’s different all the time, but you know, what does it usually, generally look like?

Jenna White: Yeah, so I get asked that a lot and like even trying to generalize it and narrow it down is incredibly difficult. You know, I am, I have a staff that works for me. They’ve been with me a while now. I have great retention. I’m, I’m blessed for, for the people I have on board and I, we talk a lot and they’re like, “you’re just such a unique GM.”

So every day is different. So my schedule literally changes and I’m not kidding you, I have employees listening right now. I know you can hear me and you’re laughing in the background. It changes by the second, so I might be …how to explain it. I was just thinking, I was like, I’ll explain, just, I’ll just explain what my last day at work was like.

I was on an extension ladder on the highest rung trying to change like a street lamp light bulb parking lot because my maintenance guy was afraid of heights and he was unsure and I didn’t really wanna get a boom lift. So, you know, I do some maintenance some days. I was doing housekeeping that same morning.

We have a new team member. I have great staff that can train my housekeeping team, of course, but as I mentioned, I’m really into bonds and relationships, so I always schedule myself a shift with new employees, more than one shift depending on the position, but we just work side by side and talk and get to know each other.

They’re already trained in the position, so we cover some topics, but mostly that’s just for us to get to know each other as people. And then I had two meetings, back to back. Sales meetings, partnerships, lots of that going on. Lots of relationships, connections, sales, marketing stuff. I also run our social media, so there’s a lot. I do a lot.

Ute: You do!

Jenna White: Yeah. I don’t know. Like I feel like we couldn’t list anything I don’t do.

Ute: Right.

Jenna White: You know? But I don’t like to have titles. We obviously have our titles, right? But, as I introduce you to my team, my house [inaudible] attendant is, is just as important as on the same level as I am, you know?

Ute: Right.

Jenna White: So when people come in, a lot of times we are not, oh, “I’m Jenna, I’m the GM and this is this person. This is this person”. Cuz you can set different tones by putting yourself above the person next to you when you’re first meeting someone. So,

Ute: Mm-hmm.

Jenna White: We’re just really excited you’re here. And if it happens to come up and you find out our titles and positions, so be it. But we’re all on the same playing field there, you know? .

Ute: Yeah. That’s amazing. I, I love that. I really think, you know, so many more companies, regardless of whether it’s a hotel or, or you know, any other place would benefit from creating an atmosphere like that. Because people have much more retention and not have that big turnover.

Jenna White: Right. Business, especially in the hospitality area have.

Yes. Oh my gosh. I mean, even as the previous restaurant manager, as I mentioned, we called it Restaurant Hoppers, it was like, oh wow. Keeping staff was tough. And you know, I’ve been so blessed. I, you know, I’ve only, I’ve, I’ve had a few team members that I lost, but most of that was in the very beginning when I first came on.

And, and we had to set some expectations and, you know, become more than just coming in and swiping your card to get the paycheck. You know, we want people that wanna pour into us as much as we wanna pour into them.

Ute: Absolutely. So you also hold those roles, and you already mentioned it on the Dundee Hills Wine Growers Association.

What are those again? And what is… what do you do?

Jenna White: Yeah. What a cool group of people that is, I have to say, by the way. So the Dundee Hills Wine Growers Association, it’s a volunteer board. So, most of the AVAs, obviously we have some new AVAs that might still be working on their boards, but most of the AVAs will have a volunteer board that help to, you know, run our websites and make sure that we’re all advertising ourselves as being the best AVA in the area, of course. We’re all prideful for different reasons.

But on that board, I specifically am the Member Chair is one of my roles. So basically if somebody reaches out just through the website and wants to become a member or has inquiries about becoming a member, that comes to me. So then we would chat how you would qualify to become a member, whether that’s through a winery, a tasting room, or a restaurant or a lodging facility. And then also any member questions.

And then I’m also the, this is the one I gotta try and make sure the Retail and Lodging Liaison Director, I feel like that’s right. I’m gonna have to go back and check. So basically I, help coordinate with all of the restaurants and hotels, BnBs, and lodging members in Dundee, specifically. So I work a lot with like Trellis, Red Hills Market, Dundee Bistro. I’m working on getting Los Kopitos in there because I don’t know if you’ve been there, but Oh my gosh, it’s so good. But yeah, lots of coordinating and, and if you see those giveaways, if you’re ever on social media and you see those Dundee Hills Winegrowers Association, social media giveaways.

Ute: Yeah, yeah.

Jenna White: They’re phenomenal. I create those. So, and you’ll see it’s not just The Dundee Hotel, you know, we work with the Black Walnut. We did a giveaway with La Bastide recently. So those come from my, my brain, and we get to create something really beautiful and give it away and showcase the Dundee Hills.

Ute: Gosh, that’s amazing.

Jenna White: Yeah!

Ute: I, I mean, how much energy is… this is, this is incredible to me. Honestly. I’m just sitting over here going, and I’m a podcast host.

Jenna White: Oh my gosh. And sometimes I feel like, and am I doing enough?

Ute: You know, and I think that’s, that’s so interesting. I now have a lot more time on my hands because I’m an empty nester now.

I always, I feel like, you know, I was always busy with my children and, and there was always something, I drove people to ballet. I drove them to their friends and I was homeschooling. And so it was always, you know, busy researching and meeting with other homeschoolers and it felt like, you know, homeschooling was not so much about us being home and schooling. it was us going on field trips and, and meeting people and whatnot.

Jenna White: Right, right.

Ute: And, and so now that my kids are gone and I’m sitting in this house by myself, well, with my husband, who is great, but you know, he’s working all day long and

Jenna White: Yeah.

Ute: You know, I’m like, “oh, okay. So what do I do with myself?”

Jenna White: Yes. Yeah. Finding new things you get to enjoy and coming to like, you know, ladies night networking in the squad suites.

Ute: I am so excited for that. Do you want to tell us about that?

Jenna White: I mean, I can tell you parts of it because a lot of it’s still kind of…

Ute: Yeah, yeah, yeah, of course.

Jenna White: Right. But yeah. I am, as you can tell, as we talk about, like, I’m really into the bonding, the relationships, the connections. So one of the things is I feel really blessed for the group of people that I have around me.

A lot of of those are ladies. So I have a lot of lady support in this industry and it’s, it’s amazing cuz I’ve had intimidating moments where, you know, I’ve stood in a board room and spoken to six men staring at me, and I’m supposed to be giving analytical reports and I’m a feelings person, so

Ute: Mm-hmm.

Jenna White: Having that group of women around me that can really help empower me and me help empower them. It’s, it’s a feeling I, I can’t get enough of. So I decided, randomly one night when I was cooking dinner, right before the holidays, that I want to do this with more ladies. And, and to be fair, there’s an interest for more ladies that wanna do it with us. You know, ladies and people in the industry reaching out, wanting to be more involved. How can they network more?

And so I thought, we have these two really cool rooms and they’re called our Squad rooms. So you can look those up on our websites at The Dundee Hotel. And our second hotel is the Independence Hotel. So they’re Squad Suites and they are a bunk bed room, six bunks, and they’re just super fun rooms.

And I just have to say, I get really excited about it because it was kind of a, again, it was one of these random ideas I had when we were purchased, we were walking the facility and the room used to be a conference room and our bathroom used to actually be our large housekeeping storage room. And we were like, what should we do?

You know, should this be a board game room? What do we wanna turn this into? And I was like, we need a squad room. And the owners looked at me and they said, “squad, what’s a squad?” And they laughed so hard, but I said, “Your people, you know? Your people that you wanna be around that just make you feel so amazing.”

And so we created the Squad room. And so with those suites, I’m like, man, I have these really cool spaces that I know people love because when people book it, a lot of times they want me to like come in and take pictures for them and stuff. And so they like cheer and we jump around and I was like, I wanna show this more.

Ute: Yeah.

Jenna White: So I thought let’s, let’s throw out and see if anyone’s interested. So we are going to host a series of weekends at the end of January through March or April. The interest keeps growing. I mean, I was just looking at my email and I have more emails. So we’re gonna host a group of women, six to eight women each weekend.

And we’re gonna visit our Squad room in Dundee and our Squad room in Independence. The groups that we have coming each can bring different things to the table. So we have somebody that’s making these really cool candles for the women in wine, and we have another person that’s gonna be bringing nutritional bites that she creates.

And so everyone gets to kinda showcase their feature. We’ll learn a little bit about who they are and where they work, but really, I hope that we can strip away our labels and titles a little bit.

Ute: Yeah.

Jenna White: And just really kind of get to know each other as people, because that’s when we’re vulnerable and then that’s where we can really learn, where we can help each other. Right?

Ute: Yeah. Yeah.

Jenna White: So that’s my hopes and dreams is that I have different vision boards. We’ll have like a board that we can post for people that’s like, you just get to share your contacts. We’ll have a spot where if you have any musicians, people can share that. So people are just gonna start sharing information.

But also sharing yourselves with each other in a way that makes it where you can network and connect less about the bullet points, more about, more about the “hey, I’m having a tough day”, right?

Ute: Yeah.

Jenna White: And then the bullet points come later. Right? Doesn’t it sound nice?

Ute: Because I’m so gonna be there!

Jenna White: I know. I can’t wait. And I hope Ali comes too.

Ute: Yeah. Oh, she, she will. She already told me that she sent you the form last night, so…

Jenna White: All right!

Ute: She’s game.

Jenna White: Yes, I’m excited! And honestly, I mean, depending on how they go, it’s something I would love to do every year, you know? And… yeah. Just keep it going and…

Ute: Yeah. And it’s something, I mean, people are gonna be like, oh, we’re gonna, we want this to be a yearly thing, and they’re gonna start looking forward to it. People are gonna start really planning for it.

Jenna White: Right. And, and I mean, it’s all complimentary. I mean, we’re not, I know sometimes they do these events and you, you purchase your tickets and experiences and…

I don’t want to create obstacles in bottlenecks for self-improvement. You know? Let’s, we, we have ’em and if they’re vacant, let’s use ’em. Right?

Ute: Yeah. Yeah.

Jenna White: So we wanna create an all complimentary experience and the women that are coming that are donating things, which it’s not required by the way.

But people sometimes it just fills their heart to do that. And so it’s just, and amazing. I literally am not, I’m not making this up. Okay. I was driving home when I was talking with a person making candles and I was just smiling and laughing out loud with so much joy and said out loud, like, “I just feel so blessed”.

I really do because here we are creating this event for ourselves, right?

Ute: Yeah.

Jenna White: And we wanna gift ourselves so much stuff and. Man. Yeah. I can keep, I can go on forever, but it’s, it’s gonna be exciting. I’m excited.

Ute: Lemme tell you, I’m sitting over here grinning ear to ear, so, . .

Jenna White: Alright. Yes, me too. What a, what a good day. What a good Sunday, right?

Ute: Yes, it is! Absolutely. So let’s bring it back to a little bit about what you do though too, because you also wrote in your initial intro to me that you participate in harvest.

Jenna White: Yes.

Ute: You know, this is like totally, you know, many, many people who are thinking about wine, they’re thinking about tasting rooms and pretty views and lovely bottles and, and pretty labels and everything.

They don’t think…

Jenna White: Cute hats. Put your cute hat on.

Ute: Say again.

Jenna White: And your cute hats. Don’t forget the cute hat in the summertime.

Ute: So, and, and what did you do in harvest like,

Jenna White: Oh my God. So I feel like, what, what haven’t I done? I know. It’s so exciting. So, a few things is, when I get most excited about the wine industry, I, I mostly get most excited about the people, as we can all tell.

So I wanted to, I like to meet all the people, as I mentioned, not just the winemaker. I want to get out there with the interns. I wanna get out there with the people cutting the… pruning, the grapes, you know. So yes, I have done that as well, that holy moly. Wow. I I really credit those people that do that because my back was burning.

I mean, you’re, have you done it before?

Ute: I, as a child actually.

Jenna White: Oh, well that might have been a little bit easier. I feel like you’re like in the middle of the, the vines, right. So you can go up and down.

Ute: Yeah.

Jenna White: And we have to like reach up high and then we have to get squat down really low and. That was a back burner, you know?

So I was out there for six hours, but it was amazing. I mean, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. And we, we had potluck afterward and we all hung out. And so I’ve done that. I find ways to participate each year. You know, at Dobbes, we took our blog writer and we took my hospitality manager and we did punch downs. We did some grape sorting.

And then, you know, so as I like to be involved in it, I wanna get more people involved in it, right? So, maybe you don’t know about this, but I started a Harvest Gallery 2022. It’s at the hotel right now, in our tasting room building. We brought out nine artists from Western Oregon University during October when harvest was happening, and I worked with some of our favorite wineries and we went out to the vineyards and they got to watch and experience harvest.

Ute: Ooh, wow.

Jenna White: Oh my gosh. I mean. Ah, that was a cool experience. So they each took away and went and created these pieces. So if you come and you, and you check out at the property, we have one that has grapes and like a milk bath from the story at Domaine Divio about the 2020 wildfires.

Ute: Uhhuh .

Jenna White: We have one that’s a QR code, but it’s, but it’s actually small digital prints of the Jory soil. And when you scan it, it takes you back to the Indigenous tribes that were originally in that vineyard.

Ute: Oh my gosh.

Jenna White: And this was the artist… like the artist creations, you know? And Bruno, the owner of Domaine Divio, came in and bought a piece, and it was actually one that was painted of his tasting room.

Ute: No way!

Jenna White: Yeah.

Ute: Did he put it up in the tasting room? Or did he take it home?

Jenna White: So it’s still there. It’s still at our hotel and it’s, it says “Sold” on it. We, we, we have rights to it for a little while longer.

Ute: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That makes sense.

Jenna White: But I’m gonna ask him and Isabel where I… I’m hoping to see it at the tasting room, but maybe it is gonna be a home keepsake. But either way, I love that he loves it. So that’s another way I get other people to experience it. And I also had our team go and participate. Furioso needed extra help this year. I’m good friends with their winemaker, Gio, their whole team really. And they needed some assistance with grape sorting and so, some of our housekeeping team, we just put up a volunteer sheet and they went up there and my maintenance engineer, he went up there and they helped with harvest at Furioso this year.

Ute: Nice.

Jenna White: Yeah!

Ute: That’s excellent. I actually, I was going to help with Harvest in Germany when I was there this year, or well, in October. And I kept trying to get in touch with these wineries and they were so difficult to communicate with and I ended up not being able to do it.

Jenna White: Oh, no.

Ute: But I do have, I do have good memories of it, like I said, when I was a child, because I grew up in a wine region in Germany and

Jenna White: That’s so intriguing to me, like we have to have coffee another time and we have more time cuz I just, we should have wine I guess. But…

Ute: Yes. I’m, I’m up for it!

Jenna White: Let’s do it. Ok.

Ute: So, yeah, I mean, it was fun to be in the vineyards and, you know, I mean, my brother and I were the only two kids helping, but it was still a lot of fun just kind of being in the vineyards and, you know, stuffing our stomachs with grapes.

Jenna White: Yeah. And having lunch with everyone, like the, everyone working. It’s just such a family vibe.

Ute: Yeah. Yes, exactly. And even,

Jenna White: Well, if you want, if you need to, if you get the bug and you wanna do it again this year, and. Give me a call. I’ll be out somewhere picking, hand sorting, pruning, doing something.

Ute: I may just, yes, I may just get back to you about that because I’m still very interested in, you know, helping. And I don’t know. So I was actually just, when we went to Gran Moraine, I was talking to Ali and to Taylor about this.

Jenna White: Oh yeah.

Ute: You know, part of me wants to do like one harvest.

Jenna White: Yeah.

Ute: To, to just get my hands dirty and to understand, you know, truly understand what’s going on because I, I have a lot of wine knowledge, you know, I’m, I’m working on the WSET 3. So I know a lot of the theoretical information.

Jenna White: Right.

Ute: And what goes into it. But to actually be there and do it, that’s gonna be a whole other ballpark.

Jenna White: And that’s exactly why I, that’s literally the same reason I, I feel that because you can read about it in paper and you can hear about the tannins and the acidity and the fermenting time and the barrels, but when you actually get to see it and smell it, and I was doing the little petri dishes and the bottles and the checking the sugar level or the acidity levels on the sheets and, it’s just such a different experience and you want, you become even 10 times more invested in the industry, right?

Ute: Yeah, for sure. Absolutely. Very true.

Jenna White: Yeah.

Ute: So have you always been in the Willamette Valley then? Is this home to you?

Jenna White: You know, I, I was here until, my sophomore year and then we ended up moving to South Dakota. So, yes, pretty much Pacific Northwest, most of my childhood. And then I was gone for 17 years. But I have been back since 2016 and I, to be fair, I always wanted to come back. I just had my daughter very young and then was kind of…felt kind of stuck in a way cuz of the support system I had there as a young mom.

Ute: Mm-hmm.

Jenna White: But when my daughter was old enough and said, “Hey, can we go to Oregon?” And she said, “maybe” I took maybe as a “Okay. We’re leaving in 30 days.”

Ute: So you were a young mom too. There’s another topic that we can talk about.

Jenna White: Yes. I I was a young mom. 18. 18 when I got pregnant with my daughter, Hannah.

Ute: Yeah, I was 19.

Jenna White: Yeah.

Ute: Yeah.

Jenna White: Look at us.

Ute: It’s so great. I mean. Now, you know, as hard as it was as a young woman, looking back now, I’m 48. I have two young grandsons at this point.

Jenna White: Oh, oh my gosh, I love that!

Ute: They’re going on three and the younger one was just born in November, so, they’re super cute, and, and I get to, I get to be a young grandma, which I kind of dig.

Jenna White: Oh my gosh. That’s what I’m pretty excited about. Me too. I wanna be able to like go and do the things and ride the Disneyland rides with them. And

Ute: Yes!

Jenna White: I wanna do it all! Not too young though. I’m like, all right, my daughter, she’s at OSU, she’s going for her Doctorate, so, you know, let’s give it, let’s, let’s give it time.

Ute: Yeah.

Jenna White: And then, yeah, then, but I’ll still. You know, I’ll still be right around that same age, you know, 45, 48.

Ute: Yeah. Yeah.

Jenna White: I’ll pick that. That’s a good grandma age.

Ute: Exactly right?

Jenna White: Yeah. Yeah.

Ute: So I mean, you know, you’re obviously getting around a little bit in Oregon. Is there an AVA to you that just sticks out where you go, ah, I just love this. Aside from the Dundee Hills!

Jenna White: Okay. So , if I have to do aside from it, but I will say the main reason I am a Dundee Hills loyalist is not because I’m on the board.

I mean, I know people are gonna think I’m saying that, but I truly do enjoy the elegance of the Dundee Hills wines.

Ute: Uh huh.

Jenna White: You know, I, I think that, that they’re just more, I say a lot of funny words. I always laugh with my winemaker friends cuz I don’t use all the… you know correct words a lot, but I think they’re a lot more approachable.

I think that they taste a lot more, they make me feel a lot more at ease. And so my next favorite, I would say my second favorite would be Yamhill Carlton. If I’m feeling like I wanna be sassy, so like on a normal everyday drinking preference, I’m a Dundee Hills AVA girl. If I’m gonna have a sassy day, let’s throw some Yamhill Carlton in there.

Ute: All right.

Jenna White: Yeah.

Ute: Anything, anything in particular I gotta try that I might not have?

Jenna White: Oh gosh. Oh gosh. Okay. Well, I’m not gonna make this AVA specific…

Ute: Right!

Jenna White: But I am gonna say, I am a person that I don’t like to spend, you know, almost a hundred dollars on a bottle of wine. It’s just not my thing.

Ute: I’m with ya there.

Jenna White: But there is this bottle out there called Louie, and it’s up at Granville. And so Jackson makes it, and oh my gosh, I just, I, I can’t even, like, if you can see my face, I can’t explain it. So you have to try that. Maybe I’m going up there in a week or two, so maybe I’ll get another bottle and you and I can share it when we catch up.

Ute: All right.

Jenna White: But that is probably the one that makes me feel the most zen.

Ute: All right.

Jenna White: Yeah.

Ute: So Louie, is that a Pinot noir?

Jenna White: It’s a Pinot Noir, yes.

Ute: Awesome!

Jenna White: Yes!. Although, you know, to be fair, and I don’t know, I might get a lot of ooh in the background on this. I’m not a big, I’m not… Pinot Noir is not my go-to varietal, even though Oregon, we, we make amazing, amazing Pinot Noirs. But, it’s not my go-to. I’m a Riesling girl.

Ute: All right. Well, you know what? That, that makes my little German heart happy.

Jenna White: I really am. I mean, that really was… that, that bottle blew me away, and I will forever give that Louie credit, but you’ll find me easy drinking a Sweet P Riesling from Brooks for sure.

Ute: All right. You know, I will say I love Pinot Noir. I mean, I’m in Oregon. Yeah. I love Pinot Noir, but my go-to wines generally are darker. I am generally more into the cabs. I, I love a good Cabernet Sauvignon, and I,

Jenna White: Yeah.

Ute: Love Malbec or Tempranillo or something like that. Those are gonna be the ones that I kind of gravitate towards.

Jenna White: Yeah. Yeah.

Ute: I really learned to love Pinot Noirs just by living here and you know, having access to so many of them.

Jenna White: Right. Yeah. When I, when I first tasted coming back from South Dakota, let me mind you, you know you, when you drink wine there, you’re drinking rhubarb strawberry wine that tastes like rhubarb strawberry Kool-Aid.

So when I moved back, everyone’s like, you’re moving back to wine country cuz I was gone for 17 years. I go wine tasting thinking it’s gonna be like tasting at the winery there, which is called Prairie Berry, if that gives you an idea of how sweet the wine might be. Take my first drink of Pinot Noir and I was like, “what is happening in my mouth?”

So I, I was not this wine knowledgeable in 2016. But I’ve spent a lot of time with the people and I’ve spent a lot of time putting the wine on my palate and my palate has learned to love all the varietals that we have to offer. And not the, the Kool-Aid wine.

Ute: Yeah. Yeah. , no thanks.

Jenna White: No, thanks. Boone’s Farm days are over, right?

Ute: So are you, are you looking at getting any of the certifications or is this just one of those things where you’re like, “do you know what? No, I am in wine country and this is plenty for me.”

Jenna White: Yeah. I, I, funny enough, I get, I just got asked that on Monday by one of my friends who’s a winemaker. I’m torn on it because if I have to be honest with you, it’s funny because some of the, I’m not gonna say names, but some of the winemakers and owners and people in the industry, you know, the certifications are kind of silly to them, right? Not everyone. I don’t wanna say that to everyone because some people, it’s very valuable.

So it’s like you find these people that it’s like, “You don’t need it, just come out here and experience it. Come and make the wine with me.” You know, come and do these things and then you have people like, “No, you really should have that base knowledge. It’s gonna be really helpful. We’ll help you study.”

Ute: Yeah.

Jenna White: As you’ve talked to me, I don’t know if you’ve gotten to know me, but, but in the last half an hour, but I am not a book and bullet point and paper person. So, I probably will not see myself on those certifications anytime soon. Mainly cuz it hasn’t stopped me from living a life that I love right now.

Ute: Yeah.

Jenna White: So, I don’t have a need or desire to, I did do, like, when I first moved here, I did the, the, the Chehalem Chamber of Commerce was doing, they were like tasting room associate classes and stuff. Like beginners entry level into wine. Yeah.

Ute: Okay.

Jenna White: They hosted them out at Alexana. Charles, who’s still out there, he was my first teacher in the Valley and still a great friend of mine. But he was the first person that started teaching me about the Missoula Floods and all that fun stuff.

Ute: Well, you know, I think that’s such a good thing for people to hear, too. A lot of people who are listening to the podcast to know that it is not a requirement in the wine industry to have, you know, this and that and another certification.

Jenna White: Yes!

Ute: Certainly. And you will notice this too, when you’re hopping onto any of the wine boards, like the wine job boards or whatever, I look at winejobs.com here and there, and they will let you know if the certifications are something that they’re looking for or not. It’s usually right there in the job post.

Jenna White: Right.

Ute: So, but yes, it’s very, very true that some are, you know, we, we’d like you to have that knowledge and others are saying, we just want you to grow with our brand.

Jenna White: Yeah. Yeah.

Ute: And that’s great, you know.

Jenna White: Well, another cool thing I just recently learned too is for some of those places as well, a lot of ’em will invest financially into helping their team members get those certifications.

Ute: Yeah.

Jenna White: So I know that sometimes people think there’s a hindrance and they can’t do it because it can, it can be costly if we’re being honest. But if you find the right company you wanna be with, and again, if you guys wanna invest into each other. A lot of those places will pay half or sometimes full.

Ute: Yeah.

Jenna White: And I think that that’s really cool. Not for me, but really cool!

Ute: Yeah, for sure.

So I’m just to get back to your job, real quick. What, what’s your work week like? Do you, do you work on the weekends or…

Jenna White: Yeah, I try and quality of life fit as best as I can, meaning give myself two full days to myself. So weekends is the goal for that. But given our industry, weekends sometimes can be those the busy days.

So, you know, some weeks, like this week I just worked four days because next week I’m gonna work six because on Saturday we are fully booked. You know, we have some holiday parties and some different corporate groups next week. So weekends is the goal. Yeah, Monday through Friday, but again now, you’ll sometimes catch me in a meeting at 8:00 PM.

I adjust my quality of life and my work life. I balance it very well, but I just don’t have, necessarily, black and white times for what I do and when and if it comes up and I have time, I do it. And if I… means I need to not go into The Dundee Hotel until 1:00 PM the next day and go to lunch to my nieces, then I do that. You know?

Ute: Yeah. So tell me if people are looking to book a room at The Dundee, are there packages that they can book or do you just book the room?

Jenna White: Yeah, so packages is something that we got to play with in Covid. And what packages means, cause sometimes I think people aren’t clear or understand what, what we’re talking about, and it really, it’s exclusive experiences that we’ve created with our partners in the industry that sets you up for success. And you don’t really have to do planning, right?

So we often will have anywhere from six to 10 active experiences that you can book that will typically include a food component, so like a certificate to… We have partnerships with the Dundee Bistro, with Trellis, with Red Hills Market, with our onsite restaurant Field and Stream.

A lot of times, like you’ll go out to a winery, so a good example is our tasting adventure package. That’s typically for people that are introductory to the area. You’ll get to go and experience two of our partners. Right now it’s Furioso and Domaine Divio, and then you get to also get breakfast. You get a certificate to Field and Stream, and then you also will have a lunch component. You get to keep a blanket as well. So in the winter it’s a nice to have with you. Yeah, nice to take with you tasting and the summer, use it as a picnic blanket. That’s provided from Sackcloth & Ashes and every blanket purchased, they donate a blanket to the homeless shelter. Yeah. So we try and create packages that are unique.

There’s different ones. We have a Whiskey weekend package where you can go and experience two of the local distilleries. One of them, Ransom Distillery actually has a cocktail named after The Dundee Hotel. So you can go and order The Dundee, in Dundee. So, we have all sorts of cool things. You can check those on the website under Specials and Packages.

We are also actually recreating those packages, so we’ll have some new ones coming out in April.

Ute: Okay.

Jenna White: The other one I wanna give a quick shout out to just cause I think it’s it’s really cool as we talked about those Squad suites that we had, we do a Squad package with Lange Winery and Nikki Jane’s Boutique. It’s a shopping boutique in Newburg, and our guests get to go up to Lange and do a tasting in their big bubble. It’s a big dome, a tasting dome, which is really fun. And two charcuterie boards. And they go to Nikki Jane’s in Newberg and they close the store for you, like Pretty woman style.

Ute: Nice.

Jenna White: Close it down. Each person gets a little gift certificate. You get to shop. There’s also bubbly there with keepsake glasses from Lange. And Lange bubbles have been delivered. So you get sparkling wine, you get shopping, you get free accessories. I mean, those are the kind of things that we get to create at The Dundee, and it’s, it’s different, you know? When we talk to the people and see what people want, we’re, we’re hearing from the guests.

And so every package you see was because our guests are like, “Hey, this is what we’re looking for,” or, “Hey, these are ideas that we think”, and so we just get to put those into place.

Ute: Gotcha.

Jenna White: Yeah, it’s fun.

Ute: That sounds absolutely amazing. And

Jenna White: Come experience them! I’ll have to invite you out and you’ll have to come and do a couple just so you can have, have an idea.

Ute: I know, I, I’ve got to, I’m so excited and I’m very excited about these weekends with all of those amazing women.

Jenna White: Yes.

Ute: This does bring us kind of towards the end of our episode, but listeners out there at the beginning of our call, before I hit the record button, Jenna was very graciously offering a coupon code to me that will get you 15% off if you are booking a room at The Dundee, and that coupon code is going to be grapewine23. So that’s G R A P E W I N E, and then of course the number 23. So if you’re feeling so inclined and you want to use that coupon, go right ahead and do so and check out The Dundee, and when you go, please let me know how amazing it was.

And I wanna know about it and I wanna talk about it on the podcast. So thank you so much, Jenna. I really, really do appreciate that. I am gonna let you get back to your nieces. I know you are on duty.

Jenna White: Yes, thank you so much.

Ute: So thank you for being here and I am definitely gonna get in touch with you about getting together for some wine.

Jenna White: Yeah, sounds great. Thanks for having me and have a fabulous rest of your Sunday.

Ute: Thank you. You too. And listeners, all that’s left for me to say here is of course…Prost!


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