Oregon Wine Board 2016-17 Annual Report
Letter from Your Chairman
With the Oregon wine industry now in its sixth decade, the Oregon Wine Board continued its impressive momentum during the 2016-17 fiscal year with industry-supporting programs in each of its key focus areas: marketing, education and research.
The recently completed year was among the most productive and rewarding to date through the introduction of new programs and taking current activities to new levels. It was gratifying to serve as chairman of OWB and see our programs make a real difference in the sales and reputation of Oregon wine. This report outlines many of those successful efforts, and I urge you to read the entire report for more detail.
I want to assure you that we are moving the needle. As I traveled the country and internationally in 2017 I saw many examples of new market achievement and recognition for Oregon wine. Current market data also validate our strategy and execution of the kinds of programs that support this direction.
Sales of Oregon wines are expanding domestically, internationally and directly at a rate exceeding all other U.S. wine regions. Just a few weeks ago, we received a report from Nielsen showing that sales of Oregon wine during the 12 months ended July 2017 were up 17% from the previous year. That compares to a total national wine sales increase of 2.8%. With Nielsen’s focus on store shelf movement, it is an important bellwether for consumer acceptance at the grassroots level. Additional data from other sources validate that Oregon wine is winning at the higher end in restaurant wine sales and direct to consumer sales at the winery door as well.
Briefly, I’d like to touch on just some of the many initiatives during the past year that helped achieve our overall goals of consumer visibility, trade engagement, industry education and research to improve productivity and product quality.
The Oregon Wine Resource Studio was launched in August 2016. This web-based sales and training resource for the Oregon wine industry was the result of the wine community working together and thinking outside the box to address a need. It is a tremendously valuable and vibrant tool for the industry.
In spring 2017, we partnered with GuildSomm to produce a podcast featuring Oregon’s winegrowing regions. It’s long been a goal to increase our ties with this important audience of wine professionals who play such a critical role in recommending Oregon wine.
In May 2017, 40 Masters of Wine from all over the world came to Oregon to experience our industry over three outstanding days.
Our annual Oregon Wine Symposium is always a time for our industry to come together to learn, network, celebrate and honor important achievements of the past year. With record attendance of 1,500, it was the largest wine industry event in the Northwest. In 2017 we have been fortunate to add a Master of Wine to lead our education efforts.
The efforts we make in research do not always grab headlines, however they provide the foundation that helps ensure the sustainability of our quality statement. Last year, we significantly increased our investment in research to make better wine while improving yields and productivity. After many years exploring a broadening of our research to the business and economics of wine production, OWB issued its first request for proposals in this area.
Finally, I want to thank my dedicated board colleagues and the hardworking and creative OWB management team. And, of course, the industry itself. We are blessed with an amazing community, focused on enhancing the outstanding quality and reputation Oregon wine has achieved over the years. As you can see, it has been a very productive and successful year for Oregon wine and we have great momentum and tremendous opportunity before us. In the next year the OWB will continue to grow and shape Oregon’s global demand while helping enhance the business success of each and every winery through focused marketing, education and research.
Steve Thomson | Cristom Vineyards
Chairman, Oregon Wine Board