With the pandemic emergency requiring businesses owners to re-examine their operating plans and budgets, managers at the Oregon Wine Board have been doing the same.
OWB’s strategic plan was developed with extensive industry input, and we have appreciated additional comments as we’ve shared it at the 2020 Oregon Wine Symposium and in recent meetings with industry groups around the state. It is a valuable playbook that will guide our work over the next five years.
However, that playbook must now include some new pages. We can now see the global demand system for fine wine experiencing tectonic shifts tilting first towards the e-commerce and off-premise channels and, more recently, moving to rebalance as guests return to wine country and restaurants prepare for reopenings.
In response, the OWB has taken several steps including:
Quickly designing—and continuing to build out—the COVID-19 toolkit as the industry’s go-to library stocked with legal and regulatory advisory documents, research, OLCC news, media resources, promotional support program details and recorded webinars;
Reallocating Oregon Wine Month marketing money to #oregoninside and Oregon Vine Perks, which work in tandem to stimulate short-term direct sales and preserve cash flow while encouraging wine tourism this summer. If you are one of the 140 registered wineries, use the Oregon Vine Perks materials available in the toolkit to promote the program to your fans. Click here to see participating wineries from around the state, and don’t forget there is still time to register yours today;
Configuring a tracking dashboard to monitor Oregon’s COVID-19 related press coverage and executing media relations campaigns to highlight the industry’s charitable activities while keeping deadline-driven journalists up to date as the step-by-step reopening plan continues to unfold;
Arranging new discounts for Oregon wine industry members to take advantage of education opportunities offered by VingDirect, DTC Wine Workshops, WISE Academy and the MTO Group;
Refreshing Oregon Wine Month digital graphics to extend the shelf life of the free materials sent to tasting rooms and national distributors;
Recruiting guest bankers, lawyers and accountants for webinars to guide business owners navigating complex federal financial relief packages;
Initiating roundtable industry discussions with growers from around the state to discuss cost-control strategies and with sales professionals to look ahead at the ways current market dynamics are influencing the three-tier distribution model;
Investing in new functionality for the OWB’s tasting room listings site, visit.oregonwine.org, enabling media and consumers to search for the wineries that have updated their status to indicate whether they are back to hosting guests or they remain focused for now on curbside service. Make sure your winery listing is current by updating it here.
We will continue to develop new programs and tools to support your businesses as we move through the recovery, and the Oregon Wine Board’s management team welcomes ideas and input about ways in which we can assist your region in recapturing trade, media and consumer interest.
A few final thoughts:
WineAmerica is compiling data on industry performance during the month of May from wineries across the country via this survey. Your response is requested by this Friday, June 5. The information will support essential lobbying efforts in Washington, D.C., aimed at shaping business stabilization and financial rescue plans for wineries and specialty crops.
The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) presented its most recent 90-minute webinar last week focused on the Paycheck Protection Program and its loan forgiveness process. The replay and 59 PowerPoint slides are here.
PPP is still funded with an available balance of about $150 billion out of the $660 billion allocated by previous legislation. So far, Oregon businesses have been awarded a total of $6.8 billion through about 57,300 approved loans. As you may be aware, important provisions of the loan forgiveness process are subject to change based on the possibilities of new SBA rulemaking or Congressional action. We’re tracking them and will keep you updated.
OWB is coordinating with DTC experts from WISE Academy to host biweekly Oregon Tasting Room Town Hall meetings to encourage peer discussion and problem solving surrounding tasting room reopening. The first forum, to be held June 10 from 9-10:30 a.m., will focus on the challenges of appointment-only management and maintaining hospitality standards when encountering confrontational guests. Registration details coming soon.