Hello wine industry friends and colleagues,
In June, wine communicators like myself knew it was time to pounce when COVID restrictions lifted. After 13 of us received a full day of professional media training to prepare for crisis press inquiries, we had a years’ worth of backlogged press visits to honor, too. We kicked these off in July by hosting writer Julia Coney so she could co-moderate IPNC and celebrate Our Legacy Harvested at the BIPOC Block Party in McMinnville in person. We turned Julia’s visit into a chance to meet winemakers and taste through Oregon wines for five days. Said Jarrod Williams of Ruby Vineyard: “I want to take the time to thank you for organizing such a memorable dinner last Friday. It was such an honor being around some of the most influential voices in our industry.”
Vidon Vineyard tasting, clockwise from bottom left: Elena Rodriguez, Melissa Broussard, Elaine Brown, Xavier and Marie Cottle, Julia Coney, Rollin Soles, Erin Allen, David Bellows, Jessica Mozeico, Tiquette Bramlett, Sarah Murdoch, Dru Allen
Late July continued with a visit from Charles Curtis MW on assignment, including a recap of the successful Willamette Valley Pinot noir auction. OWB helped coordinate a blind tasting for him of almost 100 Pinot noir and Chardonnay wines from across the state. We’ll see the results in a Decanter article due out in the fall. Said Charles: “Thank you…It was a very helpful tasting.”
August continued on a fast media clip with Eugene, Oregon, hosting the Wine Media Conference. I presented a dozen topics to the 144 attendees who toured 50+ wineries in these six regions: the Umpqua Valley, South Willamette Valley including Lorane-area wineries, Yamhill Carlton, Ribbon Ridge, the Rogue Valley including Applegate Valley AVA, and Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge.
While we work to capture the press hits from the excursions, more than 1,000 social media call outs ensued with the hashtag WMC2021 on Instagram alone. Winemakers shined, arranging once-in-a lifetime experiences such as Ken Wright detailing Willamette Valley geology; a tasting at Timberline Lodge with Gorge producers pouring; a wine lunch in a Cottage Grove covered bridge with Iris, Brigadoon, and more; media/winemaker dinner at the Allison Inn’s Jory restaurant; and a welcome reception at Ashland Springs Resort with 10 Rogue Valley wines paired with food from Larks Restaurant, Rogue Creamery, and Scharffen Berger Chocolate Makers.
Gina Bianco of Rogue Valley Vintners summed it up perfectly: “Even with smoke in the air, we were able to focus on the wines, winemaking practices, terroir; and speak openly about the smoke, when it’s a threat to the grapes and not. It’s part of life in Oregon, but because of that, our growers and winemakers are innovative and know how to manage it. Longer winery visits with food pairings (lunch/dinner) really make for a ‘writable’ opportunity and make for happier writers.”
As well as a writing duo from Cheers Magazine telling me: “I felt like I was in heaven in the South Willamette Valley,” many writers were equally effusive about their love of Oregon. Travel Oregon’s Allison Keeney, media contact on the Umpqua excursion said, “The Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association put together a unique, informative, and inspiring itinerary of the Umpqua Valley wine region. Media were very engaged and actively sharing their experiences on social media throughout the tour. Cheers to a job well done!”
See the the full recap here. >>
National Pinot Noir Day in August opened up a broadcast opportunity to get the Lett out. Jason spoke so convincingly about Pinot noir being the “central gem in the crown of Oregon wine,” and “everybody has a great palate, go out and empower it,” that he had hosts Kelly and Emily wanting a glass at 8:40 am. See the broadcast here.
Finally, a shout out to winners of Wine Enthusiast’s 40 Under 40 – Tiquette Bramlett, president of Vidon Vineyard in Newberg (pictured right), and Sadie Drury, general manager of North Slope Management and vineyard manager at Seven Hills Vineyard. In March, Tiquette became the first Black woman appointed to oversee a winery in the U.S. Sadie manages hundreds of acres of vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley, including Sevein in northeast Oregon.
Thanks to everyone whose hospitality makes memories and great articles for visiting press. I’ll close with these words from Kayt Mathers, host of a Wine Media Conference excursion: “One attendee said she had been to 40 countries around the world, visiting their wine regions, and had never experienced the kind of friendliness she experienced in Yamhill-Carlton on our tour.”
Sarah (Sally) Murdoch
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Wine Country License Plates matching grant application period open | Deadline: Sept. 15
Travel Oregon is now accepting applications for the next installment of the Wine Country License Plates matching grant program. Eligible projects or initiatives must provide for the improvement or expansion of the tourism economy in Oregon and must promote wine and/or culinary tourism. Learn more here and apply by Sept. 15.
Reminder that requests for letters of support from OWB are due by Sept. 1.
Apply to the Oregon Wine Board of Directors | Deadline: Oct. 1
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Applications are now open for vineyard stewards and employers to participate in the 2022 AHIVOY Wine Industry Professional training program. Application details and FAQs can be found on the AHIVOY website, and AHIVOY representatives are available to meet with vineyard stewards to answer any questions they may have about the program.
Oregon Wine Industry Forum | Next meeting: Oct. 12
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Make a nomination for the 2022 Oregon Wine Industry Awards | Deadline: Nov. 15
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See OWB’s COVID-19 Toolkit for latest news
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