This seems like a good time to offer a friendly reminder about a handful of the sometimes overlooked resources for business owners from the Oregon Wine Board (OWB).
These are all available anytime and have been paid for, or deeply discounted, already by your tax dollars and with grants awarded to OWB:
First, tasting room managers can access the Oregon Wine Flies Free toolkit to see how one the state’s most widely-adopted promotions can work for them.
Next is the profit planner, a series of workbooks that allow business owners to evaluate scenarios and examine the effects of different inputs on revenues and profits. The planner was developed in partnership with Tim Hanni MW and fine-tuned in response to industry input.
We didn’t forget grape growers. They can click here for summaries of industry-funded scientific research including new postings on projects dealing with grapevine trunk diseases, irrigation timing, soil moisture, botrytis bunch rot, and more.
With the increasing importance of direct sales, we were glad that a six-figure USDA award last fall helped OWB buy participation fees down to under $10 a month so wineries can explore the tasting room performance management and sales tracking package offered by Community Benchmark. The deal is sweetened with targeted staff training modules from WISE Academy. You can try the analytics suite out for a few months at a sharp introductory price then decide how it can support your DtC strategies. We are the first to offer a statewide program after seeing Community Benchmark successfully tested in places like Lodi, Paso Robles, and Walla Walla. Learn more and get started here.
Wineries can order the latest statewide wine touring guide right here and connect their friends and newsletter subscribers to the digital flipbook.
All sessions from recent Oregon Wine Symposia are available here on our website whether or not you held a ticket for past events.
And just a couple weeks ago, OWB hosted a webinar with NOAA staff from the National Weather Service during which we learned about free resources offering updated weather information specific to each business’s precise location. View the hour-long webinar recording along with the slide presentation.
Before I forget, we also hosted a meeting last week of the industry’s International Marketing Committee. Here’s that Zoom. Oregon sells nearly 150,000 cases a year outside the U.S.
Finally, like business owners everywhere, OWB’s management team is facing continuing cost pressures. However, by paying increasingly careful attention to program timing and staffing, we have been able to offset many unexpected increases and actually lower OWB’s expense line for the year ended June 30. In the snapshot below, you can see that OWB’s total spending came in about -16% below our original budget as we squeezed out efficiencies. Our focus on thriftiness will help us make the most of industry tax dollars as we anticipate a potentially diminished crop following the April frost and freeze surprises. OWB’s costs not only came in below budget, but also -6.5% lower than a year ago, despite 8-9% inflation.
P.S. We hope to see you in the OWB’s Zoom room next Thursday, Aug. 11 at 10 a.m. for the next regularly scheduled public meeting of the Wine Board. Send us an email for the link if you’re interested in listening in on the 11th. The guest list includes presenters from the Oregon Winegrowers Association and the Oregon Wine Council with their respective comments on what the 2023 legislative session may have in store for growers and winemakers.
P.P.S. See below under “Other News” for details on submitting samples to ETS so Oregon wineries can take advantage of a grant-funded effort to analyze west coast wines and establish benchmark profiles that aim to verify regional authenticity and make life more difficult for counterfeiters
Community Benchmark Provides June DtC Sales Data
June’s statewide data shows the success of the continued by-appointment tasting arrangement that Oregon tasting rooms adopted during pandemic restrictions and have continued as restrictions have been removed, with tasting room sales showing nearly 8% growth and wine club sales up almost 2% despite June visitation being down 7%. The complete set of data is broken out below. June 2022 data is from 135 tasting rooms across Oregon which participate in Community Benchmark.
Overall DTC Total Sales: Overall DTC sales YTD are down -0.9% vs. 2021. (+32.1% vs 2020)
Visitors: Visitation YTD was down -7.1% vs. 2021. (+43.7% vs 2020)
Tasting Room sales: Tasting Room sales YTD were up +7.8% vs. 2021. (+91.7% vs. 2020)
Wine Club Total Sales: Wine Club total sales YTD were up +1.7% vs. 2021. (+27.1% vs. 2020)
Digital+: Phone Sales YTD were down -21.6% vs. 2021. (-20.6% vs. 2020). Online sales YTD were down -31.8% vs. last year. (-30.7% vs. 2020)
* Includes data from Northern Borders (Columbia Gorge/Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Other), Southern Oregon (Applegate Valley, Rogue Valley, Umpqua Valley & Elkton), and Willamette Valley (Chehalem Mountains & Ribbon Ridge & Laurelwood, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills and McMinnville)
Reminder: Order Your Complimentary Oregon Wine Touring Guides
As planning begins for the 2023 edition of the Oregon Wine Touring Guide, OWB is down to the last batch of 2020-22 editions and now is the perfect time to order copies. It is available for complimentary order and delivery to tasting rooms and tourism businesses throughout Oregon. This publication not only helps people find their way in Oregon’s diverse wine regions, but it also inspires them to travel throughout Oregon.
Update Your Winery and Event Listings on the New OregonWine.org
In April, OWB soft-launched its new consumer website centered around the True Character brand identity. We received excellent feedback from our industry members that has allowed us to continue to refine the site, and additional feedback can be submitted any time via our website toolkit. With tourism season kicking off, we encourage you to access your winery listing and make sure that all information is current and up to date. You can also submit events. Any technical questions or issues can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Chance to Register: Biodynamic Viticulture 2.0 Seminar Taking Place Aug. 5
The Montinore Estate is hosting an all-day seminar that will offer practical information on effectively implementing Biodynamic practices to achieve results in our vineyards and wineries. Presentations from local and international speakers, panel discussions, and wine tasting will provide attendees insights into the “how to” of Biodynamic practices to produce better grapes and wine. The $100 attendance fee includes lunch, and the event is limited to 50 attendees. Register to attend
2022 Oregon Wine Labor Survey Presentation Now Available
Since 2017, Sociologist & Anthropologist, Dr. Jeff D. Peterson, with funding support from the Oregon Wine Board and its Education Committee, has conducted a survey of Oregon wineries and vineyards to understand average pay across 20 winery and vineyard positions. The data gathered can help small businesses plan for personnel costs as they expand their teams. Recently, the team released their 2022 presentation, which can be viewed here.
Press and Media
Media Opportunities: Calls for Wine
Oregon Wine PressOregon Wine Press is featuring Oregon Chardonnay for the Cellar Selects column in the September 2022 Issue. Deadline to send samples is Aug. 9. Learn moreWine Enthusiast Wine Enthusiast is seeking samples for the Wine Enthusiast Best of the Year 2022 edition, out later this year. It’s the first call for Portland-based reviewer Michael Alberty. Deadline to send samples is August 17. Learn moreVinePair
VinePair seeks Merlot for its Buy This Booze column and standalone wine reviews. Deadline to send samples is August 19. Learn more
Northwest Center for Small Fruit Research’s Annual Conference Taking Place Nov. 14-16
Save the date! The NCSFR’s Annual Conference will be held from Monday, Nov. 14 to Wednesday, Nov. 16 at the Red Lion Columbia Center in Kennewick, WA. A room block is open for hotel reservations now and you can reserve your room here. Attendees can call (509) 783-0611, mention the conference, and get the room block rate.
Upcoming Virtual Town Halls with Governor and Congressional District Candidates
The OWA has been hosting a series of virtual town halls with candidates for Oregon Governor and Congressional Districts 4 and 6. Anyone can participate, including those who aren’t OWA members. When registering, simply “Continue as a guest.” We’ve invited the two major party candidates in each race, in addition to the candidate running for governor as non-affiliated. Candidates will be given 15 minutes to make remarks, with 30 minutes for Q&A. Questions should be submitted in advance when registering. We ask that questions focus on wine-related issues. The town halls will be moderated by OWA President Maria Ponzi and OWA Executive Director Jana McKamey. Register for remaining town halls here.
Protect Oregon Wine Legitimacy and Authenticity. Join CA and WA in Stopping Counterfeits
The California Wine Institute (CWI) has obtained a USDA Technical Assistance grant for 5 years of funding to build a robust database of wine samples in order to determine authenticity. Oregon has been invited to contribute to this effort. This important set of data will provide references for wine varieties and winegrowing regions. The only costs to the winery are for the sample collection (50 ml.) and shipment to, or drop-off at, the laboratory. Samples must be comprised of 95% or more of the principal grape variety. Learn more about how you can assist in helping identify Oregon’s standards of identity, and contact Dr. Patricia Howe phowe@WineNMR.org for additional information.