The summer tourism season is presenting us with more questions than answers so far.
Earlier editions of this newsletter have provided monthly flash numbers from Oregon’s 130+ Community Benchmark tasting room participants around the state. Those reflect some softness in visitor counts this year compared to last on the order of about -7%
For comparison, visits to Crater Lake for the first half of the year are off -27%, and in Central Oregon, vacation rental occupancy rates have been lower than a year ago for five straight months through June.
Our wine industry counterparts in California and Washington are experiencing traffic slowdowns similar to ours. Together we suspect some possible causes include:
• the obvious impacts of inflation generally and elevated fuel prices specifically
• increased online wine purchases as consumers stick with buying behaviors adopted during lockdown
• the ripple effects of a slow start to spring tourism due to cool, damp weather that set Northwest businesses back early in the year
• renewed international vacation travel which had been deferred during the pandemic
• a trend reported by a veteran industry market researcher citing consumer surveys showing baby boomers are less inclined than in the past to visit wine country
Join us in the Zoom room on Sept. 20 for a town hall meeting during which we’ll share perspectives on these developments. Our guests include WISE Academy founder Lesley Berglund and wine tourism analysts from Community Benchmark.
Looking ahead, we want to make sure business owners and hospitality managers are reminded about last week’s announcement asking that Oregon tasting room listings be updated so we can ensure the next 70,000 copies of the Oregon Wine Touring Guide are complete and accurate when they are printed early next year.
Only ten days remain until Sept. 9, when all final listings are required to keep us on our production schedule. Changes made to a winery’s information by Sept. 9 will also be reflected this fall on our website and in Travel Oregon’s winery listings.
To start editing your winery’s entry, visit the Tasting Room Listings login page. Let us know if you need assistance. And don’t forget, it’s not too late to order your last few copies of the current 2021-22 guide right here for free.
And we also want to call attention to this recording of the Aug. 18 webinar during which Dr. Patty Skinkis from Oregon State University shared data and insights to assist growers in managing their vines for yield and quality during this unusual season.
Finally, remember to get your application packet into the governor’s staff by Friday, Sept. 30 if you would like to be considered during her next round of appointments to the nine-member Oregon Wine Board. OWB Directors serve three-year terms. Learn more about OWB service and submit your application directly to the Executive Appointments Office.
2023 Oregon Wine Touring Guide: Update Your Listing by Sept. 9
While you can update your tasting room information on the OWB consumer website 365 days a year, Sept. 9 is the deadline for your changes to be captured in the 2023-24 Oregon Wine Touring Guide. Please visit the Tasting Room Listings login page and take a few minutes now to ensure that the information OWB has on record is accurate. For more information, visit our Tasting Room Listing Toolkit.
Reminder: Order Your Complimentary Oregon Wine Touring Guides
As planning continues 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.
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
OWB Hosts Bloggers for Oregon Wine Experience and More
In addition to the Oregon Wine Experience, OWB’s media tour with Paige Comrie (Wine With Paige) and Marlynn Schotland (Urban Bliss Life) also covered four AVAs: Mt Pisgah to the Umpqua Valley, Elkton Oregon AVA to Rogue Valley. Each blogger posted more than a dozen stories and reels to their Instagram accounts, reaching thousands of followers and allowing OWB to share their content on its own channel. They will also be pitching Travel Oregon and covering the tour on their own blogs.
Best Life Includes Willamette Valley in Top Wine Destinations List
The Willamette Valley was ranked #4 in a recent article where travel experts shared their top wine destinations.
Media Opportunities: Calls for Wine
Sip Magazine Sip Magazine’s 11th Annual Best of the Northwest wine competition has refreshed its format and will be accepting samples through Sept. 13. 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.
Make a Nomination for the 2023 Oregon Wine Industry Awards | Deadline: Nov. 11
Nominations for the 2023 Oregon Wine Industry Awards are being accepted until Nov. 11. The awards recognize contributions to the industry in the categories of Lifetime Achievement, Founder, Outstanding Industry Leadership, Vineyard Excellence, and Industry Partner.
Apply to the Oregon Wine Board of Directors | Deadline: Sep. 30
Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month I Sept. 15 – Oct. 15
As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, a small group of Oregon winery owners and winemakers who share a Hispanic background are coming together to celebrate in order to share their stories, display the diversity of the Hispanic cultures spanning most of Latin America and Spain, and as small business owners, give back to the Spanish-speaking community in Oregon. Each of these wineries will be offering special wine selections from Sept. 10 – 30 to commemorate this event and 10% of ticket and bottle sales will be donated to Ahivoy. Learn more.
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.