Let us extend one more offer to anyone interested in providing their feedback on the Oregon Wine Board’s performance over the past year. And thank you to those who have already replied. This survey takes 5-10 minutes to complete. Your perspectives allow us to better support your business recoveries and more effectively prioritize our work as we move through this global emergency.
Our appreciation goes out again to the winemakers and growers who volunteer their time to serve on the OWB’s research committee. They met last week via Zoom with scientists to review progress on work funded by your grape taxes and to discuss the industry’s research needs over the next few years.
Last year the OWB invested a record amount—$417,500—in projects consistent with the strategic priorities conceived, debated and agreed upon by industry members. The plan’s long-term priorities are to focus viticulture and enology research spending for impact in these four essential areas:
The research committee also refined and approved the OWB’s next Request for Research Applications, which will be published later this year inviting scientists from around the world to offer project proposals for industry review in early 2021.
For more details on this year’s industry-funded viticulture and enology research studies, click here. If you’re interested in learning more about the Research Committee or how you can be part of the process, e-mail us.
The Oregon Wine Board of Directors also met last week and heard the management team’s detailed year-end financial report. The COVID-19 crisis had an obvious impact on our events and it will reverberate as we move ahead. As you probably experienced in your own businesses, our income was down. For the OWB, we saw a decrease of 2.5% from our annual budget. However, with a reduction in staffing, Symposium efficiencies and overhead cost recovery actions, OWB’s annual expenses were down from a year ago and also under budget for the year by 11.6%.
Since we are hearing that some growers expect sharp reductions in grape tonnage this year, the OWB will maintain a more-conservative-than-usual stance on spending to preserve the most important programs you’ve asked us to deliver.
In marketplace news, we’re now about five months into a period defined by declaration of the pandemic. Nielsen’s off-premise scanner data shows national wine volume, measured in dollars, is up +25.9% for those five months versus the same period a year ago. Distilled spirits are growing at +33.9%, while the beer, cider and malt beverage segment is up +19.0%. Off-premise gains for wine are nearly offsetting lockdown-induced softness in DTC and on-premise sales.
And as you prepare for the upcoming harvest, some of you will be working in vineyards planted decades ago while others may be bringing in a new site’s first grapes. Wherever you find yourself, you might be inspired by this 90-second news clip highlighting the first wines grown, produced and bottled in Bend. Dina and Duane Barker own Lava Terrace Cellars, perched in the high desert at 3,400 feet.
The Barkers represent a vibrant, entrepreneurial community of Central Oregon pioneers writing another riveting chapter of Oregon wine history.
Finally, we hope you’ll join us at the OWB in congratulating and honoring a couple of our peers who have been recognized nationally with important, high-profile new roles.
Janie Brooks Heuck now serves as Oregon’s first Board Chairwoman for WineAmerica, the only national association representing wine business owners in every state on federal legislative, policy and regulatory matters. Two important WineAmerica priorities include the Craft Beverage Tax Modernization & Tax Reform Act and Music Licensing. Most recently Janie has been actively advocating for relief funds from the CARES Act. Since WineAmerica is financed with membership dues, Janie invites anyone who is interested in federal issues to contact her and learn more.
And Dr. Patty Skinkis, professor of horticulture and viticulture extension specialist at Oregon State University’s College of Agriculture, is the first Oregonian ever elected to serve as President of the American Society for Enology and Viticulture. Among Patty’s many previous honors is the ASEV’s Extension Distinction Award presented in 2018.
Way to go Janie and Patty. Your appointments are further confirmation that growers and winemakers from across the country recognize the extraordinary talent surrounding us here in Oregon.
OWB INDUSTRY SATISFACTION SURVEY
Annual Survey Closes Friday, August 21
The Oregon Wine Board and staff invite input from all industry members into our annual industry satisfaction survey, which closes at the end of the day Friday.
And, be sure to check out our video recapping highlights from our 2019-2020 fiscal year.
Prepping for Harvest Industry Forums | Thursdays at 10 a.m.
The Willamette Valley Wineries Association is hosting weekly calls for vineyard and winery teams to discuss particular questions and concerns related to harvest 2020 in the COVID-19 environment. Links to recordings from previous calls as well as registration for the next meeting on Thursday can be found in the Prepping for Harvest Toolkit Google doc. These calls are open to all interested industry members.
COVID-19 Photography Best Practice and Call for Photos
The OWB recently published a reminder that photography posted to social media should feature current health and safety practices to ensure expectations are set for visitors. Wineries that have photography featuring staff or customers in face coverings, practicing physical distancing, or other measures are invited to share their photos for use in the OWB’s communications channels.
Keep Your Tasting Room Status Current
If your tasting room’s open or by-appointment status has recently changed, don’t forget to update your entry on the OWB’s tasting room directory. We regularly refer consumers and media to visit.oregonwine.org, and we rely on you to keep your information updated.
Oregon Vine Perks in Your Tasting Room
If your winery is one of the 160 participating in Oregon Vine Perks, prepare your staff to begin seeing the Vine Perks Passes in your tasting room. Visit the Oregon Vine Perks toolkit to access a PDF of program information and best practices to share with your staff.
August 2020 Weather and Climate Forecast
On Aug. 3, Dr. Greg Jones of Linfield University published an updated weather and climate summary and forecast. This report looks back at July conditions and forecasts conditions for August, September and October.
Notes from WISE Academy Tasting Room Reopening Conversations
WISE Academy hosted three community conversations regarding challenges and opportunities presented by reopening tasting rooms during the pandemic. The summary notes from these discussions include ideas generated and key points to takeaway.
Use the Profit Planner to Get Ready for Harvest and OND
With bottling and harvest looming and the Q4 sales season in sight, it’s a good time understand your business’s cost of goods and align pricing to your optimum sales channels. The recently upgraded Profit Planner can help you make informed decisions about your vineyard or winery business and is free to all Oregon wine industry members.
CALLS FOR WINE
James Suckling’s Nick Stock to Review Wines in Australia | Deadline: Aug. 31
James Suckling’s Oregon reviewer, Nick Stock, will not be making his annual trip to Oregon this year. Instead, he requests wines be shipped to him to taste in Australia. Read details about Nick’s process for receiving wines, and be aware that the wines must be received by Aug. 31.
Vinous Rates 2018 Vintage as One of the Best Ever for Oregon Pinot Noir
Josh Raynolds, editor of Vinous, recently published his report after tasting wines sent for review in March. Our recap includes a link to the article as well as an example of how critical acclaim can quickly flow through to retail sales.
Post Harvest Internships on the OWB Marketplace
The Marketplace on the OWB industry website is frequently used by producers to post grapes, bulk wine and equipment for sale. Did you know it can also be used to post job opportunities? If you have harvest internship jobs—or others—available, post them to the Marketplace so we can spread the word to other organizations that might know of good candidates.
Post Wine-Related Positions through Cat Connect at Linfield University
Reach students looking for internships, jobs or volunteer opportunities in the vineyard, cellar, tasting room, wine associations or wine events by posting to Linfield’s online portal Cat Connect. Complete the employer questionnaire letting students know the position details and how to apply.
Post Vineyard and Cellar Jobs through the Oregon Wine Research Institute
Reach the Oregon State University community with job opportunities by posting with OWRI. To post, simply email OWRI a link to the job description or a PDF that outlines the details. At a minimum, include job title, company name, specific location of position, instructions on how to apply, and your contact information.
The OWB’s industry website hosts a calendar that includes industry-facing events as well as events with significant industry participation. Consult it when scheduling or rescheduling events to avoid conflicts, and don’t forget to post entries as well.
Links to post to both the industry calendar and the OWB’s consumer-facing calendar can be found here.