Christine Collier took a passion for wine, paired it with her entrepreneurial ambition, and turned it into a stellar career in wineries and vineyards.
Education: Oregon State University
Rookie Year: 2006
Turf: Turner, OR
Current Home: Salem, OR
Christine at College Pro
Christine was a freshman in college studying business when she was introduced to College Pro. “The idea of entrepreneurship and opportunity at such a young age was very intriguing, and the way that you could make it on your own but still have a parent company looking out for you and guiding you into a successful operation was a great tool”.
College Pro As a “Crash Course” For Success
Christine never shied away from hard work, and she fostered strong relationships with other franchisees who supported her along the way. Christine remains friends today with her fellow franchisees from her time at CP, and she looks back at her time with CP fondly. “I look back at it as a great experience. Honestly, having that much responsibility at such a young age, I mean I was so young, meant that the day-to-day stress was significant. Now that I’m running a much larger organization I realize it was a good crash course, but it has to be for the right person. You need mental toughness, maturity and problem solving skills as you’re working and interacting with customers and their biggest assets.”
College Pro Skills
Through her experience at College Pro, Christine fine tuned many skills. Among those, she highlights her skills in sales and the confidence she developed to be able to ask for a job. It wasn’t easy and didn't come quickly, as first year franchisees rarely have experience in the home painting industry - but with time, she developed the ability to create an estimate, present it, make the sale, and complete the follow up.
Leadership: The most important skill Christine took from her time at College Pro was leadership. She was responsible for three crews, who she had to learn how to motivate and support.
All of these lessons proved invaluable to Christine in her future career: “You can really use those skills forever, I still default to what I learned that summer." She explains that “business lives and dies by the numbers. The way College Pro was structured helped me structure my businesses following my franchisee experience. You don’t learn those in a classroom studying business, you learn by trial and error and doing it yourself – that’s real life”.
"You don’t learn those in a classroom studying business, you learn by trial and error and doing it yourself – that’s real life.”
Christine's Start With Wine
Christine started working for Willamette Valley Vineyards in 2009 as a Social Marketing Coordinator, connecting the winery with consumers through social media and web presence. During this time she fell in love with the growing Oregon wine industry: “Oregon is really proving to be world class for producing quality products and protecting the environment”.
Christine became a wine specialist for Harry and David in 2010 before moving onto a new role at Oregon Wine Ambassadors as their Social Media and Marketing Consultant. Christine founded and worked as a contributor for the Oregon Wine Press, where she designed a blog in pursuit of promoting the emerging wine region.
Taking on New Challenges
Christine was inspired, and returned to her entrepreneurial roots when she started her own wine brand – God King Slave Wines. The brand is a tribute to the quote “Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.” The quote inspired the edgy wine title and represents what she believes are the core value of entrepreneurship: you get out of it what you put in. While running her own business, she was also the general manager for a mid-sized winery in Oregon, Troon Vineyard. Three years later, Christine got a call from Jim Bureau, the founder of Willamette Valley Vineyard, where her love of wine began, and was asked to come back to work under him as a part of his succession plan. Christine remembers, “It was an opportunity I really couldn’t pass up. The vineyard has an incredible history and great resources. Every day I feel the weight of that legacy, and I have a lot to prove, but being in the position is like a dream everyday.”
Where Is Christine Now?
Christine is the Winery Director at Willamette Valley Vineyards, where she oversees winemaking and viticulture, sales and marketing, and works to establish the winery in Oregon. But she didn’t stop there - she also co-founded a new division of the company to develop smaller wineries on vineyard land.
About Christine - Fun Facts
- She is a certified sommelier.
- She loves to travel and hike around Oregon.
- Her favourite wine is Oregon's signature Pinot Noir - the heartbreak grape.
Read Christine's interview with the Biz Journal here:
How Christine Collier Clair found the 'ultimate opportunity' at Willamette Valley Vineyards - Bizwomen
Christine Collier Clair grew up down the street from Willamette Valley Vineyards and, as a child, would often walk to the winery to sell friendship bracelets to visitors in its tasting room. More than two decades later, Clair, a Bizwomen Headliner, is now the winery director of Willamette Valley Vineyards and is the successor of founder Jim Bernau.
Join in on the conversation with College Pro when you subscribe to College Pro Community .