As we put the final touches on another Oregon Wine Board (OWB) annual report, it’s a good time to reflect on the fiscal year ended in June which marks two decades since the passage of HB 3442 in 2003. That legislation carved out the OWB 20 years ago as a semi-independent state board funded primarily by the now 40-year-old grape tax.
Working in concert with growers and winemakers during the past year, we:
Designed and delivered webinars with Oregon State University scientists to help vineyard managers nurse their vines during recovery, after the 2022 frosts
Published the latest Oregon Wine Touring Guide and are shipping them at a record pace to consumers and winery tasting rooms
Modeled a new online marketing and social media dashboard, updating it monthly to give industry managers important performance data comparisons
Fueled national momentum for Oregon Wine Month and extended Oregon’s presence at TEXSOM, the country’s #1 gathering of wine professionals
Enrolled about 130 Oregon tasting rooms at grant-subsidized discounted rates, in the Community Benchmark tasting room management program and staff training sessions hosted by WISE Academy
Responded to popular demand and brought the 2023 Oregon Wine Symposium back live and in-person to Portland
Allocated the first and second funding installments from the industry’s Research budget to ODA so we can all better understand the threat posed by the vine mealybug
Leveraged USDA grant dollars for more global master classes and a closer partnership with our peers in California to put Oregon wines on display for eager buyers at new international trade events in Europe, Asia, and Canada
Increased the budget for grants available to wine associations around the state for more local marketing, research or educational activity
If this list prompts a thought or an idea about how tax dollars could be invested for even greater impact, please click here and give us just 15 seconds to answer one question.
As we close the books on 2022-23, we know that some industry members are very interested in how money entrusted to OWB was spent and how efficiently the management team and our volunteer committees used tax dollars.
As you’ll see in this summary exhibit below, my team and I continue to manage operating costs aggressively with an intense focus on General and Administrative expenses which can easily drift upward in a not-for-profit organization serving a growing constituency. They are down -12% compared to last year.
Spending strategically was especially important this year following the 2022 frosts. The industry’s wine and grape taxes came in a little low versus our projections so OWB’s total income fell short of forecast by -3%.
We are sometimes asked about OWB’s overhead budget level in comparison to that of a vineyard operation or an estate winery. Unlike production businesses, OWB is a Research, Education and Marketing / Communications agency. In that sense, it resembles an architecture studio or a law partnership. There is no inventory and few physical assets. So, a key for us is careful investment in staff talent.
OWB’s management headcount is just about exactly where it was when I signed on in 2011, and we serve an industry that has grown 3x since then.
The reduction in G & A contributed to a drop in OWB’s expense load across all categories of -20% compared to the Board-approved budget. That belt tightening, enabled the OWB to allocate +25% more this past year to Research and +15% more to Marketing and Communications.
We’re available to take questions about our financials anytime and you can also sign up to join Wine Board Directors in Corvallis to discuss them next Thursday when we host another in-person meeting, Aug. 24 at 10 a.m.
Oregon Wine Board Launches Digital Ads and Landing Page for Bounty & Vine Campaign
Oregon Bounty & Vine is a new multi-part campaign intended to drive consumer awareness and excitement (trial and sales) around Oregon wine during harvest while stimulating wine country visits and encouraging incremental trade merchandising. This campaign, created after consultations with Travel Oregon, builds on our learnings from Oregon Wine Month. OWB recently launched digital ads to drive wine country visitation in the fall with a landing page for consumers and will be using it as part of a media partnership with the Oregonian. Wineries and associations are encouraged to participate in this new initiative. Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Wine Industry Insights
Seven Fifty Daily Investigates the Future of Wine Packaging
Reuse, once prevalent, is on the rise as the notion of a circular economy gains traction amongst wine industry professionals and consumers in search of sustainable alternatives. Perhaps the most comprehensive plan for recollection in the U.S. is being launched by Revino, an Oregon-based reuse platform that is in the final phases of its first-year producer contracts. Learn More.
Register for Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) Annual Wine DtC Survey Report | Aug. 16 at 9 a.m.
SVB’s survey results are based on input from wineries across the US and Canada.This year’s survey results and insights help address what’s needed to drive consumer sales. A panel of business leaders from the wine industry will answer questions and address topics including: Digital strategies, wine clubs, regional bottle price, and production metrics. Register here.
Register for the Vine Mealybug Webinar and Q & A | Aug. 16 at 11 a.m.
OWB and OWA Board Directors Dr. Greg Jones and Brian Gruber will provide insights into statewide research and industry association collaboration to fund the control of this pest. Experts from Oregon State University, Dr. Alexander Levin and entomologist Dr. Vaughn Walton, will present recent research, monitoring efforts, and vineyard quarantine procedures. Joshua Vlach will talk about the ODA’s statewide monitoring of the pest. This session is available for Oregon wine industry members only. Register here.
Register for Community Benchmark’s DtC Top Performers Strategies | Aug. 22 at 9 a.m.
Join us for a free virtual panel discussion with some of the top performing wineries in Oregon’s Direct to Consumer (DTC) wine sales channel. Five representatives from these businesses will share their unique strategies, best practices, and trends that have made them so successful. Learn how they use Community Benchmark’s technology to ensure success in this competitive space. Register here.
Press and Media
Wine Enthusiast’s Must Visit Wineries in the Willamette Valley
Wine Enthusiast’s resident Oregon wine reviewer, Michael Alberty, shares his current favorite wineries to visit along with ideas on where to eat and stay. Read more.
Latin Biz Today Follows the Story of a Latino Business owner from Napa to Oregon
This article and video share insights from a Hispanic boutique winery owner on growing his business in the wine industry. Read more.
Oregon Wine Press Highlights Adoption of EV Charging Stations in Wine Regions
Oregon wineries are adding on-site EV charging stations into their guest welcoming and business strategies. On average, 1,000 EV registrations were recorded monthly in 2022, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation, or ODOT. The outlook for 2023 appears promising. Read more.
Vinepair seeks Oregon’s expressions of Merlot for their upcoming Buy this Booze column. Learn more.
Oregon Wine Press Seeks White Varieties for October Cellar Selects
Oregon Wine Press would like to sample Pinot Blanc, Auxerrois, White Pinot, Vermentino, and Albariño. Please send one submission per category. Learn more.
Viticulture & Enology
OWB Research Committee | Aug. 16 at 11 a.m.
During this meeting, the OWB Research Committee will suggest updates to be made to the Request for Application to ensure projects of the highest relevance for the Oregon wine industry will be submitted to be considered for funding in the next fiscal year. If you have feedback or a suggestion on any of OWB’s Research programs, fill out this input form and you will be contacted by OWB staff should your input require a response.
If Research Committee service is of interest, please complete the form, applications will be considered by the Steering Committee in November each year for service the following year. Meanwhile, anyone can attend the upcoming Research Committee meeting. Join Zoom Meeting.
This online app (https://uspest.org/risk/grape_powdery_app) funded in part by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Crop Protection, and Pest Management, Extension Implementation Program (USDA-NIFA-CPPM-EIP) offers a newer, streamlined interface for the existing model, which is also available through MyPest Page. It determines the 7-14 day risk forecast for powdery mildew based on vineyard location.
Review the Preliminary Grape Pricing Report
The preliminary grape pricing report from the 2022 Oregon Vineyard & Winery Census is now available. The report includes median, weighted average, minimum and maximum prices per ton by variety at the state level. Regional prices by variety are reported where enough data points were provided. View Report.
Uncork the Potential of Our Marketplace
Do you have a job to offer? Are you looking for grapes? The Oregon Wine Board Marketplace is a useful tool for getting the word out. Don’t miss out on this free resource. Let’s connect the industry by trading and thriving together!
Call for Nominations to the Oregon Wine Board of Directors | Sept. 29
Every fall, the Governor appoints new Oregon Wine Board Directors for three-year terms beginning Jan. 1 of the following year. To ensure the representation of a diversity of regions and businesses, candidates are sought in the following categories: independent grower, large grower, and eastern Oregon. Anyone with a strong business or marketing background would be a plus. Though, any interested individual is encouraged to consider Board service. If you or an industry colleague is interested in being considered, please read the Oregon Wine Board Service Overview either, submit your application by Friday, Sept. 29.
4th Wine Future Conference in Coimbra Portugal | Nov. 7- 9
The fourth edition of Wine Future will be held in Coimbra, Portugal. It will address challenges the wine industry faces to offer solutions and inspire the many companies and individuals affected around the world. Special emphasis will be on:
How to engage new consumers (Millennials and Generation Z)
The opportunity of diversity, equity, and inclusion
Operating in an unstable global economy
Addressing competition from Alternative beverages
How to better communicate and promote wine and its related activities
Dealing with all of the above while improving sales