Healthy Economy Innovation Stewardship

Neil Shay to Lead OSU’s Wine Institute

A molecular biologist who makes wine from his own grapes will lead research to support Oregon’s wine industry.

Neil Shay directs the Oregon Wine Institute at Oregon State University
Neil Shay directs the Oregon Wine Research Institute at Oregon State University (Photo: Lynn Ketchum)

Oregon’s storied pinots and chardonnays have a new champion at OSU: Neil Shay. The molecular biologist and biochemist from the University of Florida has taken the helm of the new Oregon Wine Research Institute housed at OSU. Besides studying bioactive compounds in plants — including wine grapes — as part of his research program in Florida’s food science and nutrition department, Shay brings award-winning amateur winemaking to his list of qualifications to lead OSU’s partnership with the state’s $1 billion industry.

“Neil understands how to connect research and business in large-scale projects that are results-oriented,” says Sonny Ramaswamy, dean of OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences.

Adds Oregon wine pioneer and industry leader David Adelsheim: “He’s also a passionate wine consumer. Having made his own wine, grown his own grapes, worked informally at a winery and toured wine regions of France makes him quite rare in academia.”