During a recent meeting held earlier this month, the Oregon Wine Board Directors conducted their regular review of OWB’s annual operating budget with input from the Finance Committee and management team. A few highlights from the 2018-19 budget deserve attention. First, your Board accepted the recommendation of the industry’s Research Committee and will allocate a record amount to viticulture and enology projects. Scientific research grant spending is up 25% versus a year ago. Secondly, we are squeezing every nickel in the marketing and media relations budgets to maximize both impact and efficiency. We have trimmed that line item by 3%. Finally, we continue to pay close attention to administrative overhead costs and will continue to do our work this year on your behalf with a staffing level that is about 20% lower than that of a comparable industry association, the Washington State Wine Commission.
At that same Oregon Wine Board meeting, Directors heard some extraordinary news from Grace and Ken Evenstad, founding owners of Domaine Serene in the Dundee Hills. The announcement, which was shared by winery president Ryan Harris, commits up to $500,000 from the Evenstads to a new viticultural research project designed to help us learn more about grapevine red blotch virus in the Willamette Valley. The study will involve a number of our state’s most highly-regarded scientists from OSU’s Oregon Wine Research Institute. Further details are provided in this research plan.
While the Evenstads have made $300,000 of the total amount available immediately, they are inviting matching gifts from any organization or interested industry members, including regional associations, in the hope that together we can hit the $1 million mark. Please contact Todd Bastian at the Oregon State University Foundation or the OWB to learn more about ways in which you can offer support for this special project through either OSU’s Foundation or the Trust for Oregon Wine Education and Research. Many gifts are likely to be tax deductible.
The OWB’s recent industry survey provided rich insights, so thank you to those who offered input to guide us in allocating your tax dollars effectively. Your responses indicate that among your top three priorities for us is “helping wineries connect with on and off-premise buyers.” To that end, we have several programs in place and are embarking on a new one next spring. It will focus on a partnership with the New Zealand Winegrowers, putting a new twist on the typical master class to attract and inspire the most coveted trade prospects in New York, who may think they have “seen it all.” The working arrangement offers OWB the chance to leverage New Zealand’s in-market staff for logistics and event coordination while sharing the costs of an engaging and enlightening day of learning for a carefully chosen group of exceptionally high-value wine professionals.
You might be surprised to learn that nearly 270 Oregon brands are for sale currently in New York. It is a very high-potential market for both channel buyers and our target consumers. We will be sharing details soon on our next Oregon Wine Trail event in NYC, taking place next May.
NEWS FROM THE OREGON WINEGROWERS ASSOCIATION
A few important reminders from the OWA as we head in to the busy fall season.
First, with an increasing focus on agricultural businesses by our state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI), grape growers and winery owners are cautioned against welcoming volunteer workers into their vineyards or cellars. BOLI is paying close attention to sectors of the economy where volunteers might be displacing wage-earning workers.
Secondly, OWA members are reminded to view this half-hour webinar hosted last week by Davis Wright Tremaine’s Christie Totten explaining important new wage and overtime rules that now apply to winery workers. If you don’t have time to watch, make sure you visit BOLI’s website and file this form enabling your employees to give the required voluntary consent for overtime hours during the fall crush. While these new rules do not apply to vineyard workers, if a worker is re-purposed during any part of the season from vineyard work to the cellar or crush pad, that worker becomes overtime-eligible for that week, and the new overtime rules apply.
Finally, if you noticed the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling (South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.) dealing with sales taxes and offering states new discretion in collecting them, you may have been wondering what that might mean for direct sales to tourists from states where such taxes have been enacted. Davis Wright Tremaine’s Kelly Luzania has researched the ruling and responds to one frequently asked question, which may seem to have an obvious answer but might puzzle some of the newer members of our industry or a tasting room’s staff. Kelly writes that if a customer makes a wine purchase and takes possession of the wine in Oregon, the sale is taking place in Oregon and incurs no sales tax regardless of any local taxes levied in the customer’s home state.
And you can remind those customers to buy a full case, which they can then check for free on their Alaska Airlines flight home from any one of four Oregon airports.
Oregon Wine Board
Verify Your Tasting Room Information | Deadline: TODAY
In anticipation of the next edition of the Oregon Wine Touring Guide, coming February 2019, please take a few minutes to ensure that the information the OWB has on record about your tasting room is accurate. Starting this year, OWB will also be providing your data to the Oregon Tourism Information System maintained by Travel Oregon and shared with tourism partners around the state. Learn more and get instructions.
TEXSOM Sponsorship Recap
The OWB returned to the TEXSOM Conference for our second year of sponsorship earlier this month. The Oregon footprint at this conference of influential trade members was bigger than ever before: both OWB and WVWA sponsored lunches; a seminar was dedicated to Southern Oregon wines; and a handful of Oregon brands poured at the final grand tasting. Read a recap and learn how to get involved with TEXSOM.
International Marketing Newsletter
The OWB’s International Marketing Newsletter is now available to read online, with details on grant opportunities for exporting wineries, international event recaps and information about an upcoming inbound tour from Mexico. Read the newsletter.
If you’d like to sign up to receive the International Marketing Newsletter, email OWB.
August 2018 Weather and Climate Forecast
On August 5, Dr. Greg Jones of Linfield College published an updated weather and climate summary and forecast. This report looks back at July conditions, provides an updated drought watch, and forecasts conditions for August, September and October. Read the report.
CALLS FOR WINE
James Suckling Review of 2016 Pinots and Chardonnays | Deadline: Oct. 15
Writer at the Washington Wine Blog, Dr. Owen Bargreen, recently visited Oregon as part of the OWB’s July media tour. This trip has inspired him to revisit 2011 Pinot noirs and invites wineries to send samples for an upcoming retrospective. Learn more.
American Wine Society Commercial Wine Competition | Deadline: Oct. 22
The American Wine Society (AWS) invites commercial wineries to compete in the 2018 AWS Commercial Wine Competition being held Oct. 30-31. The AWS is the largest consumer-based wine organization in the United States. Learn more.
Wine Spectator Fall Advertising Opportunities | Deadlines: Today and Sept. 27
Wine Spectator is offering cooperative advertising opportunities in November’s Holiday Planning issue and December’s Top 100 Wines of the Year issue, providing exposure in the magazine at a more affordable price than standalone advertising. Up to 18 first-come, first-served spaces are available per issue. Read more and secure your participation.
Domaine Serene Pledges $500,000 to Red Blotch Research; Seeks Matching Funds from Industry Members and Associations
Grace and Ken Evenstad, founding owners of Domaine Serene Winery in the Dundee Hills, have pledged up to $500,000 for a research project about grapevine red blotch virus in the Willamette Valley. Their pledge is dependent upon matching funds from the industry. Read more about this initiative and how to contribute.
2019 Oregon Wine Industry Awards Nominations Open | Deadline Nov. 16
Thank you to everyone who took the time to complete our annual industry survey in July. As promised, we raffled off three 2019 Symposium packages, which include an all-access ticket and one night in a Portland hotel for the conference. Congratulations to our winners: Terry Brandborg of Brandborg Vineyard & Winery in Elkton; Betty Pataccoli of Redhawk Winery in Salem; and Andreas Wetzel of Chateau Bianca Winery in Dallas.
Update on the Wine Advocate Report Publishing Schedule
Thank you to everyone who sent in wines and welcomed Erin Brooks, the new Wine Advocate reviewer, on her inaugural visit to Oregon in June. She enjoyed the warm reception she received and we enjoyed her upbeat and friendly demeanor. We know you’re eager to read her reviews. Part 1 of her Oregon Report will be published on Aug. 31, with a selection appearing in print and the entire set of notes published online. Part 2 will likely come out later this fall, online only.