Eyes were on Oregon wine in 2020—a lot of them. According to our media monitoring service, the reach of Oregon wine last year was 21.7 billion. Roughly translated, that means every person on the planet was exposed to Oregon wine almost three times each on average, reading about Oregon wine in print articles, viewing Oregon wine stories on TV, and accessing Oregon wine stories online. This was an increase of 33% over 2019, when our message reach was 15.4 billion.
While Oregon wine had an increase of 320% in negative news reporting in 2020 over 2019, our communications efforts with the press also helped keep positive momentum going, even during months of COVID-19 shutdowns and amid the worst of the smoke and fires in September. Submissions to wine writers conducting comprehensive tastings and reviews included Vinous, Decanter, Wine Advocate, Wine & Spirits, James Suckling, Wine Enthusiast and more, with virtual press tastings and even an in-person media visit or two coordinated simultaneously.
We also celebrated a record seven Oregon wines in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 with an OWB press release, to which executive editor Jeffery Lindenmuth thanked us personally and wrote, “I will confess that Oregon has a special place in my heart…”.
When the crisis PR calls from press turned into a manageable stream, we rolled up our sleeves and developed a 2021 PR Outreach Plan to stay proactive in seeding stories with the press to keep our wines and wine stories circulating to influential storytellers. This plan supports these pillars of the Oregon Wine Board’s strategy:
Enhance the Reputation of Oregon Wine: We support this with positive story generation to press, gathering thoughts and ideas from winemakers and pushing out story-starters through our electronic media kit, media tours and positive pitching.
For Market Expansion, we focus on interaction with wine critics, helping to stimulate demand for growth of Oregon wine, as well as PR in and around events in different markets such as today’s Unexplored Oregon master class and the Oregon Media Conference in Eugene during summer 2021.
For the strategic pillar of Wine Tourism, we collaborate with our partners at Travel Oregon as well as the Washington State Wine Commission, Willamette Valley Wineries Association and Rogue Valley Vintners among other partners while creating a sense of transparency in working together. For PR outreach, this means stories placed in travel publications, sharing resources such as talking points industry wide and across state lines, and well-conceived media tours such as the Cross Border AVA Tour we conduct annually with the Washington State Wine Commission.
The overarching goal of the 2021 PR Outreach Plan is to generate more positive and diverse brand stories for Oregon wine in a variety of consumer, trade, industry, and critical reviews. The plan is simple: each month of 2021, we will conduct at least three PR activations divided three ways: media visits, pitches, and press releases. The plan is here and involves many partners around the state. As I write, we are pitching Bend as a wine destination to large circulation magazines in tandem with Travel Oregon and Central Oregon Visitors Bureau (COVA) with writers already providing resounding yeses. Other pitches have been accepted by local writers too, including the 60th anniversary of the first Malbec vines planted in Oregon.
This past year, relationships were so, so important. Pitches that originated with Travel Oregon made it into The Wall Street Journal and Conde Nast Traveler, and relationships between OWB and Masters of Wine were responsible for this Decanter piece. Partnerships that were strengthened this past year through crisis will carry us through more peaceful times. I hope you’ll join Linsey Gallagher, president and CEO of Visit Napa Valley, and myself at the Oregon Wine Symposium on Thursday, Feb. 18 at 10:45 a.m. for a discussion on crisis communications. As we look toward a successful 2021, we continue to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. With new relationships firmly in place, I believe we can conquer almost anything this year.
Hora Comunitaria on COVID-19 Vaccines | Feb. 4
Latino Network, in partnership with Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center and the Oregon Health Authority, is hosting its next Hora Comunitaria on Thursday, Feb. 4 from 6-7:30 p.m. to cover the COVID-19 vaccine. The event is in Spanish and will feature several medical providers and an OHA representative to talk about the vaccine and answer questions. Please share the event flyer and the meeting link with your networks.
Updated Sector Guidance on Eating and Drinking Establishments
On Jan. 29, the Oregon Health Authority released new guidance for eating and drinking establishments. It includes modifications to guidelines for outdoor spaces and the allowance of outdoor dining pods for better outdoor space utilization. It does not include changes to indoor service.
May is Oregon Wine Month
The Oregon Wine Month 2021 Toolkit is live! New this year, the OWB will be providing Adobe InDesign point of sale files to allow for brand customization and in-house printing in lieu of printing and shipping materials to tasting rooms and distributors. Continue to check back for additional social media graphics, sweepstakes news and more.
Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research Survey | Deadline: Feb. 5
The Northwest Berry Foundation seeks to improve communications for the Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research (NCSFR). Please take about 2-3 minutes to complete this survey to help them gauge awareness of NCSFR. A $75 gift card will be raffled off to one lucky responder.
Silicon Valley Bank’s 2021 State of the Industry Report and Webinar Recordings
Silicon Valley Bank recently published its annual State of the Wine Industry report and hosted a two-part webinar to discuss the findings. The report discusses the challenges currently faced by the U.S. wine industry as well as the unique opportunities for wineries that lie ahead.
Virtual Symposium Lets You Customize Your Experience | Feb. 16-19
If you’re curious about how the virtual Symposium will work, we’ve compiled an overview of the features that can make your experience educational, productive and hopefully even fun. The event “venue,” Swapcard, is flexible, easy-to-use and offers a variety of opportunities to engage with other people throughout the event. Register today.
Unexplored Oregon: A Virtual Master Class | TODAY, Feb. 2
On Feb. 2 from 1-2:30 p.m., the OWB is sponsoring a virtual master class called Unexplored Oregon. While this seminar is designed specifically for a trade audience, Oregon wine industry members are invited to listen in. Bree Stock MW will moderate a panel of Oregon winemakers for a multi-faceted discussion of Oregon’s winegrowing regions, varieties and styles.
Webinar: Getting Your Wine Label Into Restaurants | Feb. 10
On Feb. 10, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America will host a webinar featuring a panel of experts to discuss how small production, startup and specialty wines can get onto a restaurant’s wine list. Topics will include: identifying the right on-premise account for your product, pricing, developing your sales pitch, and understanding the evolving marketplace.
Webinar: DTC Wine Shipping—Highlights and Trends from 2020 | Feb. 11
2020 both defied and accelerated trends in the direct-to-consumer wine channel. On Feb. 11, join Sovos ShipCompliant and Wine Vines Analytics for an overview of the findings of their 2021 DTC Wine Shipping Report. The session will feature key insights and real-world examples of trends seen in the data from 2020.
Webinar: Demystifying SEO | Feb. 11
The next installment of Travel Oregon’s Small Business Marketing Series will take place on Feb. 11. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be intimidating. Join Justin Gibbs of Miles Partnership to demystify some of the more misunderstood pieces of SEO and become empowered to take control of your own organic search performance.
Workshop: 2021 Benchmarking & Strategy Workshop with WISE Academy (OWB-Sponsored Oregon Exclusive) | Feb. 15
Join this WISE Academy strategy workshop exploring what separated winery winners from those who really struggled in 2020, and use these insights to map out priorities for 2021. By reviewing direct-to-consumer benchmarks from more than 200 wineries, discover exactly how some wineries are finding ways to succeed despite recent, unprecedented challenges. This workshop will explore how to maximize club trends—as well as new channels like virtual experiences—all to help you make your DTC program more resilient in 2021. Subsidized pricing: $25 per person
Virtual Forum: Building Resilience in Agricultural & Food Systems through Innovative and Strategic Partnerships | Feb. 17
All are invited to join a virtual forum on Feb. 17 hosted by the USDA’s Office of Partnerships and Public Engagement (OPPE) and Farm Production and Conservation (FPAC) Mission Area. This discussion will highlight how innovative and strategic partnerships between federal, state, local and private partners support the building of resilience in agricultural and food systems, with a focus on food systems and disaster recovery. The presentation will be followed by an open Q&A session.
Online Course: Virtual DTC Experiences Fundamentals with WISE Academy (OWB-Sponsored Oregon Exclusive) | Feb. 22, 24 and 26
OWB is sponsoring a discounted opportunity for all Oregon wine industry members to attend a three-part online course with WISE Academy. The course focuses on the big questions—Who, What, When, Where and How—of virtual DTC experiences. Learn about the planning, messaging, tailored sales techniques and best practices in tactical delivery for various types of virtual tastings to execute a well thought out program. Normally $360, now $99 per person with sponsorship.
Online Class: Vineyard Management | Starting March 30
Dr. Patty Skinkis, OSU professor and viticulture extension specialist, is offering an online, non-credit course covering key concepts in vineyard management. The course focuses on the importance of making informed management decisions in the vineyard by understanding impacts on grapevine physiology and economics. Registration is required and space is limited.
CALLS FOR WINE
Wine Enthusiast Seeks New Release Oregon Wines
Want a visit from Paul Gregutt, contributing editor and Oregon reviewer for Wine Enthusiast, when they resume mid-March?Paul is currently seeking new releases to review for the upcoming Spring 2021 issues of Wine Enthusiast. He plans to prioritize visits to wineries that submit wines for review now.
Oregon Wine Industry Forums | Next Meeting: Feb. 9
Join the OWB and partners on Feb. 9 at 11 a.m. for the next Oregon Wine Industry Forum. These monthly discussions are open to any proprietor, employee or consultant of an Oregon winery or vineyard. Register for this opportunity to stay current on industry trends, connect with industry members across the state and stay informed on OWB programming and opportunities.
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.