Guidelines for Submitting Funding Requests

The Oregon Wine Board is committed to effectively investing the industry’s tax dollars in support of the research, education and marketing programs it was designed and established to deliver. Resource allocation decisions by the Board are consistent with its mission to advance the interests of all grape growing regions and all grape varieties.

As background, the Board’s revenue is primarily derived from a producer tax on wine grapes at a rate of $25 per ton. The tax rate has remained unchanged since 1983. Over the past three decades, the purchasing power of that funding stream has been nearly halved due to inflation and has not been adequately offset by harvest tonnage increases. As a result, the Wine Board’s annual budgets are severely constrained and do not enable funding of all the meritorious education, research and marketing activities our growing industry demands. The Wine Board’s operating plans, approved by the Board annually, fully utilize the available funding and do not include significant unallocated, contingency or discretionary money.

The Oregon Wine Board’s long-term strategic plan was built around priorities confirmed by market data and research, as well as with input from growers and winemakers. The Board approves spending in line with those priorities.

OWB’s annual research grant review and award process is focused on viticulture and enology research proposals submitted by industry investigators to the Board’s Research Committee, through the Unified Grant Management for Viticulture and Enology website. Industry volunteers on OWB’s Research Committee evaluate the proposals and recommend those considered to be the strongest for Board approval.

The Oregon Wine Board does not solicit additional funding requests.

If other grant proposals were to be considered in the future, financial awards that might result would be made infrequently and approved only in exceptional instances since funds distributed would further reduce the limited resources available to deliver on the Board’s approved plans and strategic marketing and education commitments. If there are future funding requests sent to the Board that go beyond viticulture and enology research, these guidelines below will direct such applications. Any request for Wine Board funding must support the OWB’s strategic plan and:

  1. Promote “Brand Oregon”
  2. Offer value to all Oregon growers and wineries and all grape varieties.
  3. Deliver sustained benefit and have the potential to bring long-term value to the industry.

An application for funds will be considered by the appropriate OWB committee at the direction of the Board’s Chairperson. The Board’s committee structure reflects its three primary areas of responsibility:

Research spending priorities are reviewed annually by the industry through the Wine Board’s Standing Committee on Research (OWSCR) and specific viticulture or enology project proposals are evaluated by OWB’s Research Committee, as indicated above.

Education and learning programs for the industry are under the review of OWB’s Education Committee consisting of Board members, staff and industry volunteers who design and deliver those programs via the Oregon Wine Symposium and other forums such as live webinars.

Marketing & Communications and promotional initiatives are developed and executed by staff working closely with Board members and the OWB’s Marketing Committee comprised of industry volunteers. OWB has identified three strategic priorities that guide its annual marketing planning and budgeting:

  1. Drive expanded availability and distribution opportunities for Oregon wineries.
  2. Build awareness and esteem for Oregon as a growing region, producing wines that are ranked among the world’s best.
  3. Convert Oregon tourists into wine country visitors and loyal Oregon wine consumers.

If a non-profit organization, institution or individual is interested in submitting a funding proposal supporting the Oregon Wine Board’s priorities as outlined above, the request should be delivered to the Wine Board Chair or the Executive Director. Upon receipt it will be evaluated for consideration by the appropriate OWB committee. That committee may request additional information from the applicant as necessary and will assess the proposal’s value. The committee will then determine whether to present it to the full Board of Directors at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting following the committee’s decision. The applicant will then be informed of the status of their request.

Any organization receiving OWB funding is expected to comply with the terms of the award including periodic progress reports to the appropriate committee and a final return-on-investment analysis presented to the Board’s Finance Committee.