In May of 2020, the Oregon Wine Board was set to host the 4th and last Oregon Wine Trail event in Seattle but was forced to postpone the event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After a few months, it became clear that in-person events were not going to be possible before the grant funding was set to expire in the winter of 2021. As a result, the 4th of the OWB’s Oregon Wine Trail events was moved to a virtual trade master class with great success!
On Feb. 2 from 1 – 2:30 pm, the OWB offered an innovative virtual trade master class that accommodated social distancing as well as a tasting opportunity for wine trade around the country. Hosted by Bree Stock MW, the master class featured a panel of 6 winemakers from across Oregon. What’s new, wines were delivered in sample-sized bottles so participants could taste along with Bree.
Unexplored Oregon Master Class at a glance:
Unexplored Oregon was attended by 233 members of the trade from prominent accounts such as Levy Restaurant Group, Cost Plus World Market, Total Wine & More, Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and publications such as Wine Enthusiast and Sevenfifty.
In a follow-up survey, 78.1% of attendees indicated they would recommend Unexplored Oregon to a colleague. A striking 93.7% of attendees claimed, “I am more likely to teach others about Oregon wine after attending this virtual event” and 74.6% are more likely to add Oregon wine to their business’ wine selection.
Attendee feedback examples include:
I am writing to ask for your support of the United Sommeliers Foundation. We organized this charity when we realized there were no resources for unemployed sommeliers. What began as a GoFundMe page has evolved into a charitable foundation. We are asking for your assistance to support the people who have and will continue to sell your products and/or influence your dining experiences. We are fully expecting the IRS to approve our 501(c)3 application which means that any monetary, product or in-kind donations will be tax deductible retroactive to the day we began the USF.
We have established a Board of Directors, filed articles of incorporation and approved bylaws. The people on our board are incredible industry figures with decades of combined experience. Additionally, we have moved away from the GoFundMe and integrated all funding into our website: www.unitedsommeliersfoundation.org
So How Can You Help?
1) We are in critical need of more money in the fund. We are off to a good start (having recently dispersed our first round of $500 grants to 29 applicants). However, we cannot yet make a difference for more than a small fraction of the more than 600 sommeliers who have already applied for assistance. The applicant number continues to rise daily. I sincerely hope you and your company can contribute. I myself have already donated and intend to contribute more. Note, if your contribution needs to be tethered to a 501(c)3 organization we have a partner organization that can collect the funds on our behalf (though we do pay a fee for this).
2) Secondly, we would like your endorsement. Your recommendation to others and forwarding of our messaging to your winery partners will go a long way. You have a broad sphere of influence within the industry that can greatly bolster our efforts. Our team is embarking on an active social media campaign, and validation by top people in the industry will help accelerate donations. Recent endorsements/articles from The Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator and The Court of Master Sommeliers have caused a huge uptick in applications. You can also send others to the website privately by sending emails or posting on social media.
3) Through the generous assistance of Acker-Merrall auction house, we will be hosting a rolling auction of lots from different wineries and collectors, with the proceeds going to the United Sommeliers Foundation. So far we have acquired lots of large formats, verticals, OWCs and Grand Cru wines that make this a truly incredible auction thus far.
We will be heavily promoting our benefactors. If you are willing to divert some of your marketing/events budget to support our cause, you’ll not only be helping people feed themselves, their kids, pay medical bills, rent/mortgage, etc. but every single applicant (there are over 600 at present) will know that your organization contributed. Furthermore, your logos and branding will be featured on our website and in our social media and marketing campaigns. It would be realistic to expect lifelong loyalty to your brands from the hundreds of sommeliers who will know that your company helped them through their financial desperation. We are hoping to reach the $250,000 fundraising threshold by the end of the month in order to continue disbursing urgently needed emergency funds (based on objective need analysis). Our initial round of distributions was limited largely due to the amount of money we had in the Foundation’s account.
If you know of sommeliers in critical financial need, please direct them to our website. We have created an objective and anonymous evaluation process that is above reproach and complies with IRS standards for charity. Applicants’ personal information is removed so that the selection committee is basing their decisions solely on objective criteria and severity of need.
Please feel free to reach out should you have any questions. Thank you in advance for any willingness and ability to assist in this charitable cause.
Auction Donation Letter www.unitedsommeliersfoundation.org/s/USF-Auction-Donation-Letter.pdf
Launch Press Release https://www.unitedsommeliersfoundation.org/s/USF-Launch-Press-Relese.pdf
The Oregon wine industry made its mark among preeminent wine influencers this year at the TEXSOM International Wine Awards (TIWA). The producers of the annual TEXSOM conference, considered by many to be the most influential wine trade education conference in the U.S., are the force behind TEXSOM IWA.
At the beginning of October the OWB issued a call for wines on behalf of TIWA. For the second year in a row, the OWB offered complimentary shipping for any Oregon winery interested in submitting wines to increase Oregon’s representation. The 2020 results were announced on March 6 and, thanks to your efforts, award-winning Oregon wines increased from 170 in 2019 to 174 in 2020. Most notably, Gold awards of Oregon wines increased a staggering 140% this year with 24 awards compared to 10 last year. Coveted TIWA Gold medals were only awarded to 12% of wine submissions.
Entries were blind-tasted and judged by over 60 internationally renowned tastemakers, including 19 Master Sommeliers, 16 Masters of Wine, and other category experts. Of these entries, the judges awarded 2,065 medals: 327 Gold medals (12% of entries judged), 815 Silver medals (29%), and 927 Bronze medals (33%). Suggested retail pricing of medal-winning entries ranged from US $2.64 to over US $700.00. Vintages spanned decades, with the oldest being 1996.
Oregon highlights include:
AVAs represented: Eola-Amity Hills, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Yamhill-Carlton, Ribbon Ridge, McMinnville, Chehalem Mountains, Applegate Valley, Umpqua Valley, Rogue Valley, Columbia Gorge, Walla Walla Valley, Oregon
Mark your calendar! The Oregon Wine Board will run the TEXSOM International Wine Awards Complimentary Shipping Program again beginning October 2020. Read 3 Reasons to Submit Your Wine to the TEXSOM International Wine Awards.
On March 4, the Oregon Wine Trail San Francisco took over Terra Gallery for a day of Oregon wine tasting and learning. Read more about the Oregon Wine Trail events.
The schedule for the day was:
Trade Master Class: 3 Masters, 2 Varieties, 1 State
At a glance:
Evan Goldstein MS moderated a panel of Pacific Northwest-based Masters, Bree Stock MW and Chris Tanghe MS for a multi-faceted discussion of Oregon’s AVAs. Eleven of Oregon’s AVAs were represented through the lens of Pinot noir and the emerging Chardonnay movement that has captured the attention of critics around the country.
3 Masters, 2 Varieties, 1 State was attended by 107 members of the trade, 80% of which were restaurant or retailer buyers from prominent accounts such as The French Laundry, Gary Danko and Total Wine.
In a follow-up survey, 87.5% of attendees indicated they would recommend the Oregon Wine Master Class to a colleague (12.5% were neutral, there were no detractors) and 100% indicated overall satisfaction with the course. Select survey verbatims include:
Trade Walk-Around Tasting
At a glance:
For the trade and consumer walk-around tastings, the OWB hit the trail with 52 Oregon wineries and our friends at Olympia Provisions, Somm Cordials, the Oregon Cheese Guild and more for a grand happening of Oregonian wine, food and personality. No white table cloths. No orange cheese cubes. Instead, a generous pour of Oregon’s fine wine and pioneering spirit.
To ensure a diverse representation of varieties and regions, the OWB allocated winery registration slots equal to the tonnage production of the following regions: Willamette Valley (including Portland), Southern Oregon and Columbia Gorge. When regional allocations are not met, as in San Francisco, any unfilled spaces are released on a first-come first-served basis. In San Francisco, Oregon was represented by 41 Willamette Valley producers, 9 Southern Oregon producers and 2 Columbia Gorge producers.
The tasting received a strong turn-out of 267 members of the trade, with the majority being employees of restaurants, retailers and press.
Of the attendees that took the follow-up survey, 69.6% said they would recommend the Oregon Wine Trail walk-around tasting to a colleague (23.2% were neutral, there were 4 detractors, 7%). What’s more, 69.3% of attendees said they are more likely to add Oregon wine to their business’ wine selection after attending Oregon Wine Trail. Select survey quotes include:
Thanks for being so nice, everyone!
Consumer Walk-Around Tasting
268 consumers from the San Francisco area joined us to close out the Oregon Wine Trail program. Of those, 30 completed a post-event survey.
At a glance:
All ticket purchasers were added to the OWB’s consumer database and will continue to receive messaging about Oregon’s industry, tourism opportunities and OWB programming.
Some survey quotes include:
Thank you to all our Oregonian partners
The following producers and artisans helped us bring Oregon’s culinary bounty to life in San Francisco.
What’s next for Oregon Wine Trail?
Oregon Wine Trail will take on Seattle in October 2020, this was rescheduled from the original May 11 date due to COVID-19. As always, news will break in the Grapevine so stay tuned for more information. If you are not receiving the Grapevine newsletter and want to be notified about events like Oregon Wine Trail as well as all other OWB opportunities, please sign up here.
A note from Bob Morus, Oregon Wine Board Chairman and Chair of the International Marketing Committee:
An offer for Oregon exporting brands has been announced and deserves your consideration. The Western United States Agriculture Trade Association (WUSATA), in conjunction with USDA, hosts a trade mission to the Philippines and Malaysia April 20-24, 2020.
These WUSATA sponsored missions provide a relatively cost effective way to explore export markets and develop contacts. I know from personal experience that the WUSATA and USDA staff work hard to arrange “Business to Business” meetings with your target audience, such as importers and luxury hotel chains.
An additional benefit of touring with the WUSATA team comes through eligibility for 50% travel expense reimbursements. Of course, as with any government sponsored activity, there can be substantial paperwork and documentation required to receive allowed subsidies. On the Philippines and Malaysian mission the prearranged package includes top quality lodging (6 nights), ground transfers, translation and airfare between the countries for $650.
I believed that a WUSATA mission incorporating three or more Oregon Wine brands could dramatic shape the flavor and excitement level for all participants. I urge you to explore the mission on the WUSATA website and hope you join my brand in seizing this opportunity.
Please let us know if you are considering registering or would like to talk more about potentially growing your export sales channel in these markets.
And finally, please join me and the rest of the International Marketing Committee at our annual market and activity planning meeting on April 16. More specific meeting details will be coming, but if you are interested in joining, please hold 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wine Studies Center at Chemeketa’s Eola Campus on your calendars.
Shipping Deadline: Jan. 24, 2020
Thanks to a generous sponsorship from FedEx, the Oregon Wine Board is offering free ground shipping of up to one case of wine (12 bottles) to the TEXSOM International Wine Awards (TIWA).
A giant thank you to the Oregon wine industry’s FedEx representative Scott Lombardo for providing the OWB special pricing for this program.
Curious about the value of participating in TIWA? Read 3 Reasons to Submit Your Wine to the TEXSOM International Wine Awards.
INSTRUCTIONS TO RECEIVE FREE SHIPPING:
1. Email the OWB for the free shipping account number
Send an email to the Oregon Wine Board to attain the number that you will use in the FedEx label making process (step 7). You will receive the code within one business day.
2. Review TIWA Entry Procedures.
Wineries are responsible for ensuring that entry procedures are properly followed, including guidelines for paperwork and fees.
Questions regarding TIWA entries? Email TEXSOM.
3. Log into your FedEx shipping account.
4. Create a shipment label to send wine to:
TEXSOM International Wine Awards
5. In box 3: Package & Shipment Details, select *Service Type: FedEx Ground
Note: The Oregon Wine Board TIWA free shipping program covers ground shipping for up to one case (12 bottles) only. Wineries will be invoiced for costs associated to any other service type or quantity. If you want to send more than one case (12 bottles) of wine, please do so as a separate shipment assigned to your winery’s account.
Questions or issues creating a FedEx shipment label? Contact Scott Lombardo.
6. In box 4: Billing Details, select *Bill transportation to: Third Party
7. Under the *Account no. field use account number provided by OWB
If you haven’t already, email OWB for the account number. This is a temporary account number that will only be valid from Oct. 1 – Jan. 24.
8. Complete the rest of your label requirements for an alcohol shipment including adult signature required selection and alcohol label.
9. Print label, attach it to your box and drop it off at your local FedEx drop location.
The producers of the annual TEXSOM conference, considered by many to be the most prominent and influential wine trade education conference in the U.S., are the force behind TEXSOM International Wine Awards (TIWA). In 2019, TIWA garnered more than 3,200 entries representing 29 countries and 19 states, a record for the competition. Due to this competition’s influence among the world’s top buyers, the OWB is working to support the expansion of Oregon’s presence by offering a free shipping program for Oregon producers.
Why submit your wines to be judged at the TEXSOM International Wine Awards?
1. Expose Your Brand to the Wine Industry’s Top Influencers
The TEXSOM Conference, going into its 15th year, occurs every August at the Four Seasons Las Colinas Resort outside Dallas, Texas. In 2019, the three day conference drew in 1,200 attendees from 38 states and 15 countries. By submitting your wines to be judged at TIWA, they could also be featured at the TEXSOM conference in August for free. High scoring wines will often be poured at walk-around tastings or, in rare and lucky cases, be included in a flight at one of the conference master classes.
In 2018, many Southern Oregon wines took advantage of the OWB free shipping program resulting in a significant increase in wine submissions to the competition and, thus, more awarded Southern Oregon wines. TEXSOM organizers were so impressed by the quality of wines coming from this emerging region that they decided to offer a master class on Southern Oregon taught by Liz Thach MW at the conference. The session featured 8 Southern Oregon wines from across the region and was delivered to a standing-room only audience of approximately 120 trade and industry members. TEXSOM organizers are adamant about keeping the master class education at the conference independent and free from sponsor influence so it was a great honor and opportunity to be prominently featured at the conference.
2. Your Wine Will be Judged Consistently By Professionals
There are nearly 100 active competitions in the United States alone. TIWA stands apart from the crowd by employing 63 judges from six different countries to evaluate the wines. More than half of the panel is comprised of Master Sommeliers and Masters of Wine and the remainder consists of longtime industry professionals including winemakers, journalists, educators, buyers and importers. In fact, the Journal of Wine Economics published an article singling out TIWA, proposing that the competition’s evaluative methods are far more detailed and rigorous than is typical for other competitions.
In the study, TIWA proved to be the most reliable competition in identifying high quality wines with 58.3% of gold medal winning wines also receiving 90+ score averages from Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator. By comparison, this value ranges from 7.7% to 43.8% for the other nine competitions evaluated. Impressively, TIWA was the only competition whose gold medal wines received an average score of 90 points from wine critics. These results reflect TIWA’s high standards for their judges and evaluation methods.
Evaluated wines are awarded bronze, silver and gold medals along with special designations such as Judges Selection Award. Poor wine scores are not published.
3. The OWB Will Pay For Your Shipping
Thanks to a generous sponsorship from FedEx, the Oregon Wine Board is offering free ground shipping of up to one case of wine (12 bottles) to the TEXSOM International Wine Awards. Learn more.
In 2019, Oregon saw a 13% increase in award-winning wines. Let’s work together to keep that momentum going!
Registration is now open for the 2020 slate of international tasting events hosted by OWB around the globe.
The upcoming year will be busy with opportunities in Mexico City, at ProWein in Germany and Vinexpo in Hong Kong. We have also expanded our Canadian tasting event offerings to include Toronto, Montréal and Calgary. These trade-focused events provide Oregon producers opportunities to increase brand exposure, lock in importer relationships, and grow sales in key international markets. If you export to these markets already or are interested in finding an importer, consider joining us as we showcase Oregon wines to buyers, importers and consumers.
For more information on these events and to register, please follow the links below and note that some events have limited space.
Vinexpo Hong Kong
Toronto: April 20
Montréal: April 23
Calgary: May 13
Deadline for events in Canada: February 28