This time of year offers another important reminder to pause and acknowledge some of the inspiring personalities that animate our wine community. Please join the Oregon Wine Board (OWB) and your peers in congratulating the industry award winners who were recognized at last month’s virtual Oregon Wine Symposium and in this press release:
Lifetime Achievement Award honorees Maria Stuart (posthumous) and Maria Ponzi. Click here for details on supporting the Maria Stuart Scholarship in Wine Studies at Linfield University
Industry Founders Award recipients Bill and Tom Cattrall
Outstanding Industry Leadership Award winner Sofia Torres-McKay
Vineyard Excellence Awardees Miguel Ortiz and Javier Marin
Industry Partner Award selections Bob Parker and Rebecca Sweet-Smith
Harry Peterson-Nedry was selected to receive the first Legacy Leadership Award for successfully championing a decade-long effort to earn the EU’s recognition of the Willamette Valley as a globally significant and historic winemaking region
Finally, OWB Service Awards were announced for Bertony Faustin and Hilda Jones, who recently completed their terms as Governor Brown’s appointees to the OWB
While on the topic of recognition and awards, don’t miss the March 15 application deadline for the four-month, paid internships being made available to BIPOC candidates by Our Legacy Harvested. Six beneficiaries will be chosen. Please feel free to pass this announcement along to those you think might be interested and make sure they are aware that the deadline is just two weeks from today.
This next announcement elicits mixed emotions. Since 2016, OWB’s Marketing Director Kai McMurtry has brought creative energy, executional rigor, and a limitless well of positive pragmatism to his work. Kai is moving on to new, but as of now unknown, professional opportunities. Kai has delivered some popular and highly effective marketing initiatives including the Oregon Wine Trail series, the statewide touring guides, and the “True Character” brand platform that has served as the blueprint for the recently re-designed oregonwine.org consumer website. The latter will probably win a few “Best of Show” awards after it launches later this month. Kai came through for the industry time and again. On top of it all, he’s a warm and even-tempered colleague who will be missed by many friends across the state. Kai also resolutely adheres to a vegan diet, resisting years of relentless badgering to join me and my sweet tooth in our adventures. All of our best wishes for continued success in work, and in life, Kai.
While we search for Kai’s successor, Oregon Wine Month marketing will be managed by David Dewitt and OWB website management sits with Neil Ferguson.
In other news, the most recent national sales trends measuring off-premise performance continue to underscore the kind of consumer demand momentum SOVOS/ShipCompliant noted earlier for Oregon in the DtC segment and which Silicon Valley Bank called out in its all-channel report. The exhibit below reflects Nielsen data from grocery and liquor stores for the year ended January 29, 2022 and is compared to the “normal,” pre-COVID year ending in early 2020 to avoid pandemic distortions. It’s easy to see why investment capital, winemaking and viticultural talent, and the market’s attention remains fixed on Oregon.
This letter closes as it began, focused on another of the remarkable people in Oregon wine. History was made last month when Eugenia Keegan became the first woman ever to receive Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Wine Executive of the Year Award. Eugenia’s many roles in service to our industry include two appointments by Governor Brown as an OWB Director, a continuing assignment as Chair of the industry’s Education Committee and a year as OWB Chairwoman in 2019. Congratulations Eugenia on this extraordinary milestone.
P.S. See below for further details as we ask your help in making this year’s annual Vineyard and Winery Report one for the books with maximum industry participation. This census becomes THE definitive record of each year’s plantings, production, and prices. It helps us all complete successful grant funding applications, communicate to media with accuracy, and to lawmakers with precision. The data gathered go directly to Univ. of Oregon research professionals led by Robert Parker. OWB does not see any of the information provided by individual businesses.
March 1 is Final Day to Order Oregon Wine Month POS Materials
Today is the deadline to order printed POS from the Oregon Wine Month toolkit. Wineries, retailers, distributors, and any promotional partners are invited to place an order for complimentary printing and delivery in early April.
Diversity in Wine Leadership Forum x Change Cadet Presents Do the Work Series (Pt. 1)
As the Oregon wine industry looks toward expanding teams in the new year, a relevant article relating to diversity and inclusion appeared from Elaine Chukan Brown on JancisRobinson.com entitled Widening the wine world that is well worth a read. There is an opportunity to engage in a three-part workshop coming up in April with Dr. Akilah Cadet. The workshop is specifically for leaders working on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging initiatives in the wine industry who want to do the work of becoming accomplices and learn how to integrate anti-racism work into every aspect of their personal and professional lives. Sign up now to secure your spot.
WISE Academy Leads Regional Town Hall Discussions
Join WISE Academy founder Lesley Berglund for one of the upcoming regional discussions and assessments into the trends from Community Benchmark data collected from DtC and tasting room sales. These town hall-format sessions are for the three major regional areas in Oregon and will each run for ninety minutes:
Wednesday, March 30 (10:00 – 11:30 a.m.) – Walla Walla and Columbia Gorge (border AVAs): REGISTER
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.
Press and Media
Media Opportunities: Calls for Wine
All Oregon wineries are invited to submit three different skus of Oregon wine, any variety of new release that has not yet been reviewed by JamesSuckling.com, for the 2022 Oregon report. Learn moreWine Enthusiast
Think you know Sean Sullivan, the new Oregon reviewer for Wine Enthusiast? Get to know him, especially as you gather your samples to send Sean. Learn moreOregon Wine PressOregon Wine Press is seeking Pinot gris (one submission, two bottles per brand) for its Cellar Selects section for April with a March 8 deadline. Learn more
Everything Happens for a Riesling
On KOIN-TV last week, four Rieslings were featured as part of their Spring Break series, on which OWB collaborated with Travel Oregon, Mt. Hood Territory, and Willamette Valley Visitors Bureau (WVVA). The four producers of this Noble Grape were Phelps Creek, David Hill, Cathedral Ridge, and Brigadoon of Oregon’s newest AVA, Lower Long Tom.
Oregon Wine Symposium Draws News Coverage
We wrapped up the virtual Oregon Wine Symposium with press wanting info on many topics, including our Industry Awards. Thirteen articles have run this year on OWS with many more coming, including this interview on KGW TV with Tom Danowski.
This year’s program will be held on Tuesday, March 15, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the auditorium at SOREC as well as via Zoom, and registration is now open. This year’s programming will feature a broad range of topics from drought to IPM to sprayer calibration.
Oregon Wine Industry Forum | Next meeting: March 15
The next monthly Oregon Wine Industry Forum will take place March 15 at 11 a.m. Register for the meeting to stay current on industry trends, connect with industry members across the state, and keep informed on OWB programming and opportunities. Register for the series of meetings.
Nonprofit Announces Launch of National Applications for Flagship Internship Program
Our Legacy Harvested, a nonprofit founded in 2020 dedicated to educating, advancing, and empowering the BIPOC community at any career level within the wine industry, has opened its inaugural internship applications nationally for six interns beginning this fall. The internships will be four months long, with a specialty focused on either direct-to-consumer or wine production, and will be hired and paid for by a partnering winery. Scholarships will be provided by Our Legacy Harvested to cover housing, transportation, training, and Sunday Suppers.
OLCC Invites Wineries to Use Online Privilege Tax Portal
As the result of House Bill 2150, which was requested during the 2017 legislative session, OLCC’s Oregon Privilege Tax Online (OPTO) is a way for businesses who are required to file privilege taxes to submit their documentation and pay their fees through a web-based portal. Some license types are already reporting in the new system. OLCC will be onboarding wineries in the coming months. OLCC wants to work with the wine industry to make sure our partners are trained and prepared when the time comes to start reporting in the new online system. Learn more