As growers look ahead to budbreak in their vineyards, we’re reminded that wine country visitors will continue to take advantage of the spring weather as they grow more accustomed to relaxed COVID restrictions. To support renewed tourism, the digital update to the Oregon Wine Board’s (OWB) statewide touring guide is available now for your friends, customers, and wine club members. If old school hard copies are your preference, free printed editions of the four-color guide can still be ordered for your tasting rooms and this link can be forwarded to those on your contact lists.
If you follow media coverage of the wine industry, you’re aware that Oregon sits right now in an enviable sweet spot at the intersection of exceptional and widely-recognized wine quality, continuing consumer demand, and compelling economics. That confluence led Silicon Valley Bank analyst Rob McMillan to say: “Oregon has been kind of the new thing for a very long time, and it’s still a new thing…it’s kind of square in the center of the right place to be.”
Here’s more about what McMillan and others see now:
Tourism as a key variable in the direct-to-consumer sales equation has the potential to further fuel Oregon’s DtC engine, which has been purring nicely during the pandemic. The exhibit below from Community Benchmark shows Oregon’s DtC volume increasing at twice the rate of other West Coast regions compared to pre-COVID baselines. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can join the nearly 200 wineries around the state that are participating in the deeply discounted DtC data tracking and staff training modules offered by Community Benchmark and WISE Academy, click here.
Members of the Community Benchmark/WISE Academy circle take advantage of the Wine Board’s USDA grant that subsidizes this year’s winery participation costs after the one-time account set-up fee of $150. Once enrolled, winery managers are invited to “town hall” workshops in which strategies, such as attracting more wine club members and their annual revenue of $1,064, are discussed with industry experts and Oregon peers. Workshop attendees will also learn about other business-building practices including ways to build up their tasting room transaction average which right now is pegged at $99 for Oregon.
Growth in Oregon’s DtC segment parallels the positive trends evident in off-premise retail. This presentation from earlier in the month provides further details on Oregon’s remarkable growth in both the DtC and Nielsen scanner-store environment. Feel free to use the data to set up the business case for Oregon in your wholesaler and customer presentations.
A few other items on OWB’s list right now include:
the industry’s vineyard and winery census. To date, the Univ. of Oregon research team has heard back from only about 14% of the state’s wine businesses. If you have already provided your data, there’s nothing further required, so….THANK YOU. If you haven’t filled out the questionnaire, please do so here. Your responses make the report possible and it supports a range of state and federal grant funding applications. The census also allows AVA and grower groups, research scientists, industry lobbyists, and media relations managers to play their parts most effectively to advance the AVAs and the entire industry.
this new toolkit has been designed to offer industry members an opportunity to provide feedback to OWB on a number of issues. You’ll see a Budget Planning Input Form there. That’s the one you want complete to let the Board know about new requests for programs and spending.
the Events page on OWB’s consumer website. Some re-coding is required and the page should be back up and live shortly.
we are getting the new oregonwine.org consumer website ready for your review and will release an advance version for industry comment in the next week or so before promoting it to consumers. We welcome your help in troubleshooting anything we might have missed in our internal debugging.
P.S. Save the Date for Oregon State University’s upcoming Grape Day on Tuesday, April 26 in Corvallis starting at 8:30 a.m.
The Oregon wine industry’s first diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I) event returns in-person for two days of keynote addresses, panel discussions, and breakout sessions May 3-4 at Abbey Road Farm in Carlton. Featuring 20+ industry innovators from across the country leading the future of food, wine, and hospitality, the event is open to all, though proof of vaccination or negative COVID test within 48 hours of the event is required. Get tickets
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. The final town hall-format session will 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. Deadline is March 31. Learn morePaul G on Wine
Paul G is doing a second call for rosé to be published on his new site Paul G on Wine. Deadline is March 31. Learn moreWine & Spirits
Seeking summer wines for the Aug. 22 issue. Deadline is April 1. Learn more
New Study Focuses on Climate Model Projects in Willamette Valley AVA
The Northwest Wine Studies Center has released research that optimizes the application of climate model projections for viticulture throughout the Willamette Valley AVA from 1950 – 2100. The results predict long-term changes in average growing season temperatures and sugar ripeness windows for Pinot noir. Furthermore, a comparison of two methodologies for evaluating cultivar suitability suggests an updated average growing season temperature range for Pinot noir in the Willamette Valley AVA.
TEXSOM International Wine Awards Accepting Entries I April 24 Deadline
TEXSOM International Wine Awards (TIWA) is now accepting entry submissions for wine. With over 170 wines submitted in 2020, Oregon has garnered numerous awards and we look forward to continuing this momentum. OWB has partnered with Fed Ex to support this opportunity and can cover ground shipping of your wine entries. Please contact Trade Relations Manager David DeWitt or visit the OWB trade site for shipping details and instructions.
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