LETTER FROM TOM DANOWSKI
As we move into midsummer, I have to thank leaders of the various growers groups and AVA associations around the state who have welcomed managers from our office to their annual meetings and picnics. These are high points of the season not only for the sensational wines and food, but more for the spontaneous, face-to-face dialogue with industry members that is so often shortchanged by busy schedules and the unavoidable reliance on technology. Keep those invitations and meeting announcements coming.
And although we often come back from those excursions with new ideas and perspectives on the challenges facing Oregon’s growers and winemakers, we rely heavily on the valuable input you give us about Oregon Wine Board programs and priorities through our annual industry survey. We’ve streamlined it and only ask for five minutes of your time. By completing it, you have the opportunity to enter to win one of our lavish Oregon Wine Symposium packages including an all-access pass to the 2019 event and Portland hotel accommodations.
Speaking of the Symposium, save these dates: Feb. 12-13, 2019. The next Symposium starts a week earlier than it has in past years due to availability of the space we require at the Oregon Convention Center.
Turning to our summer marketing, the Oregon Wine Board is focused on:
TEXSOM draws an estimated 1,000 attendees every year, about 800 of whom are certified sommeliers. Others are among the most well-educated and influential wine professionals in the world. OWB will be represented there this year by Christina DeArment and Bree Boskov MW who will dazzle the crowd with a riveting introduction to Oregon and a selection of TEXSOM International Wine Award-winning wines representing the Columbia Gorge as well as the Rogue, Umpqua and Willamette valleys. The Willamette Valley Wineries Association will further enhance Oregon’s presence with a separately sponsored tasting focused on Pinot noir. And finally, Liz Thach MW has been invited to present a seminar on the Wines of Southern Oregon spotlighting eight distinctive wines. It will be a full-court press displaying nearly all that Oregon has to offer as we take advantage of a structural change the organizers made to the event relaxing the previous requirement that, to be featured, a wine had to have distribution in Texas.
- supporting tourism activities;
- traversing the state with a steady stream of media luminaries and international wine buyers; and
- preparing for next month’s TEXSOM conference.
While some of the most alarming headlines about immigration enforcement actions may have faded for now from the front pages, the subject continues to be top of mind for the Oregon Winegrowers Association. OWA is providing this reminder to the industry, whether or not your business is an OWA member, about an excellent presentation delivered online and recorded last year: Trump, ICE, and Your Business: An Open Forum for OWA Members on Immigration Issues. The speakers are Rich Rawson and Chris Helm, two veteran Davis Wright Tremaine immigration attorneys.
OWA also reminds you about the following resources that can help you communicate effectively with your work force and hopefully avoid serious disruptions to your business:
- This bilingual Red Card;
- English and Spanish language fact sheets from the Immigrant Defense Project;
- English and Spanish language “Know Your Rights” fact sheets that answer questions related to a possible encounter with immigration enforcement officers;
- Additional information in English and Spanish from the American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), which will assist workers to know their rights at home, in public and at the workplace.
This final link is especially important. It points to an immigration lawyer search site, provided by the AILA.
Why re-issue this information now? Growers who have had the unpleasant experience of dealing with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) advise speaking with an attorney before you are confronted with an emergency situation so you and your managers are prepared in advance.
Here’s one last OWA announcement, this one for members only: mark your calendars, Wednesday, Aug. 8 at 10 a.m., for a webinar to be hosted by Davis Wright Tremaine’s Christie Totten with details about important new rules issued last year by Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries related to overtime pay for cellar and winery employees, which are likely to result in cost savings for many Oregon wineries. Webinar registration details coming soon.
In closing, let me return to the subject of immigration and profile one family’s story that lands close to home. It involves one of our industry colleagues who came to our country in 1983 seeking political asylum. McMinnville’s Moe Momtazi, along with his family, is featured in the current edition of Inc. magazine in an inspiring story that was especially gripping as I read it over the Independence Day holiday. In “How I Did It,” Moe describes the path he and his wife Flora, who was eight months pregnant at the time, took to escape from Tehran eluding the Iranians pursuing them in 1982. Their personal “Oregon Trail” led Flora and Moe through Pakistan, Italy, Spain (twice) then Mexico before settling first in Texas and arriving in Oregon to stay in 1990. Seven years later the Momtazis bought 496 acres of what had once been a wheat farm. Grapevines were planted the following year. In the article, Moe describes the family’s generational connections to winemaking and holistic farming, which he learned from both his father and grandfather. Today, daughters Hanna, Naseem and Tahmieni work alongside Moe and Flora to farm their acreage biodynamically and build their brand, Maysara.
It’s a remarkable story of a family’s tenacity punctuated by last month’s review of Oregon’s 2008 vintage Pinot noirs written by Wine Spectator’s Harvey Steiman. Steiman re-tasted several notable 2008s ten years on and gave Maysara’s McMinnville Estate Cuvée a score of 97 points, writing what could be a family motto: “this (wine) just doesn’t quit.” None of the other 31 wines Steiman tasted scored higher.
Oregon Wine Board