LETTER FROM TOM DANOWSKI
Our industry’s research effort is being funded at a record level this year as your Oregon Wine Board of Directors invests tonnage tax money, supplemented by new funding streams, in important projects designed to further elevate Oregon’s viticulture and winemaking standards. As part of its effort to maximize the return on that spending, the OWB’s Research Committee is eager to hear your thoughts about the value of recent research projects as well as your ideas for areas of future study. You are invited to attend one of the dialogue sessions to be held around the state during the week of Aug. 27. Click here to register for a date and location that work for you. All growers and winemakers are welcome.
Speaking of hearing your thoughts, once a year the OWB asks for your open and honest assessment of how we’re doing and how you’d like to see us allocate our time and your money. It’s not too late to give us your feedback. We’ve extended the survey deadline to next Monday, Aug. 6 so more can complete the survey and enter to win a pass to the 2019 Oregon Wine Symposium along with a one night stay at a Portland hotel.
OWB’s marketing program continues to emphasize wine country tourism and the conversion of Oregon visitors into Oregon wine buyers. As background, you might recall that in 2016 OWB created this online tool to help visitors plan their itineraries. This summer we’ve been focusing with Travel Oregon on updating their Oregon Tourism Information System (OTIS) with the tasting room data you provide to us. Working together ensures the information Travel Oregon pushes out to tourism partners, as well as the winery listings hosted on TravelOregon.com, which welcomes 350,000 visitors each month, is complete and accurate.
This new solution responds to your request that we eliminate the need for redundant updates across multiple databases and instead enable you to make a single entry with the relevant tasting room details that will populate the various OWB and tourism sites.
Kai McMurtry at the OWB has taken the lead for our industry on this critical project, and you’ll be seeing the first of his messages on this subject tomorrow. For those who can’t wait until then, Kai has created a sample page so you can see what winery information will be folded into OTIS and made easily accessible to consumers planning wine country excursions. To ensure your tasting room information is correct, follow these instructions.
Your tasting room details will also be included for free in 70,000 copies of the OWB’s next Oregon Wine Touring Guide, made available to consumers online, shared on TravelOregon.com and accessible via OTIS to tourism partners statewide.
Related to marketing and our work with Travel Oregon is this important announcement about the next round of Competitive Small Grants applications, which can now be submitted for funding up to $20,000. The window is open for just four weeks and requests for OWB letters of support are due Thursday, Aug. 23. See this link from Travel Oregon for details about submissions and the 10% cash match requirement.
Finally, OWB is forwarding this news at the request of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association Board. The WVWA, as you may have heard, has chartered a subcommittee to explore the possibility of new labeling and fruit sourcing requirements for Willamette Valley wines. The Association held an open forum yesterday offering any industry member the chance to learn more about the proposals under consideration by its Board of Directors.
You can view WVWA’s Overview of Potential Oregon Legislative Statutes here. The WVWA Board also suggests reviewing this web page loaded with additional information and invites any Oregon grower or winemaker to direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
News from the Oregon Winegrowers Association:
During the 2017 legislative session, manufacturing employers, including wineries covered by daily overtime laws, won an important victory. The state’s Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) had previously required employers to calculate weekly overtime (more than 40 hours) and daily overtime (10-13 hours) for their employees, then pay both. A 2017 bill that OWA worked on changed this back to the longtime practice of calculating weekly and daily overtime but paying only the higher of the two, not both, effective Aug. 8, 2017.
The law also included new overtime rules that apply to many Oregon winery workers starting Jan. 1, 2018. These include obtaining employee consent to work more than 55 hours per week and claiming an “undue hardship” exemption from BOLI to allow employees to work more than 60 hours per week when processing perishable products such as wine grapes. More information can be found on BOLI’s website. OWA member wineries are strongly encouraged to review these new requirements in preparation for the fall crush by opening the OWA Reference Toolbox.
Be aware that these overtime pay provisions do not apply to vineyard workers.
The OWA and Davis Wright Tremaine have changed the previously published date of their webinar, which will provide further details about these important new overtime rules. OWA members should mark their calendars now for Aug. 20 at 10 a.m.
Oregon Wine Board