Thanks to the 18 Oregon wineries along our northern border that helped make this year’s spring media tour a success. The Oregon Wine Board co-hosts this excursion annually in conjunction with our partners at the Washington State Wine Commission in response to requests from winemakers that we collaborate across the state line when possible to maximize efficiencies and share costs. This year, our guest journalists came north from California and from as far away as North Carolina. While in Portland, they also tasted a range of wines from the Rogue and Willamette valleys.
The Oregon Wine Experience returns Aug. 19-25 in the Rogue Valley. Event organizers remind us that the deadline to submit wines for competition is just 10 days away. Details are right here. This year’s expert panel of judges for the competition includes two Masters of Wine and other well-known certified wine professionals. OWE continues to add fresh new elements to its week-long calendar of activities and is expected to set another attendance record by surpassing last year’s total of 4,500. If history repeats itself, the OWE Miracle Auction and Salmon Bake will also set another record by contributing to a grand total of more than $1.3 million raised last year during the week to fund health care services provided by the Asante Foundation.
Here is your final reminder to register for the first two in a series of free online DTC-focused seminars sponsored by the OWB. Tomorrow’s 90-minute session starts at 9 a.m. and is entitled, “Converting Guests to Wine Club Members, Part 1.” Part 2 will take place at the same time on Thursday morning. You must register in advance to have access to the recordings afterwards.
And finally, our industry’s Nominating Committee is accepting applications from those interested in being considered by the Governor for a three-year appointment to the Oregon Wine Board of Directors. Appointees will be invited early next year to stand for ratification by members of the Oregon Winegrowers Association to serve concurrently on the OWA Board. We’re getting this message out now because we know how busy the summer can be for everyone. The Nominating Committee, which is comprised of 13 growers and winemakers who have volunteered from around the state, wants to get its recommendations to the Governor before the harvest. Applications for a term beginning January 1, 2020 are being accepted through July 31.
NEWS FROM THE OREGON WINEGROWERS ASSOCIATION
We’re just five days away from “Crush on Oregon,” the OWA’s consumer tasting, which will raise money for the Oregon Food Bank and provide an opportunity to showcase OWA members’ wines for Portland wine enthusiasts. Wineries can let their friends know about this Sunday’s event by sending them this link for tickets and further information.
Recent media coverage about wine-related legislation being considered in Salem attempts to highlight differences of opinion among our industry members and exploit “divisions” among our industry groups. However, veteran growers and winemakers remind us that in a diverse wine community such as Oregon’s, now with nearly 2,000 businesses, occasional differences of opinion are part of our history and are to be expected as business owners pursue a broader range of new growth opportunities. For example, not long before I took this job, winemakers from various regions expressed different perspectives about the number and nature of commercial activities, such as special events, that should be allowed in conjunction with agricultural activities on farmland. House Bill 3280, and later Senate Bill 841 in 2013, were not perfect but they resulted from constructive, candid dialogue among winemakers and growers. That experience suggests a path forward now when we’re again being asked to listen to alternative points of view and build on our base of common concerns in order to both protect and advance Oregon’s wine enterprise.
In that spirit, we turn to Senate Bill #111-A, which was revised again last week in response to industry input following three town hall meetings the OWA held earlier this month around the state. OLCC Executive Director Steve Marks took questions directly from growers and winemakers at the most recent of these meetings. The OWA Board voted to endorse the latest version of the proposed law, which has been narrowed significantly to respond to concerns from industry members and is primarily focused on ensuring that any winery buying Oregon grapes pays the same tonnage tax. Secondarily, SB 111-A allows Oregon’s Attorney General and the OLCC to explore reciprocal enforcement of tax and wine labeling rules and laws enacted here and in other states. Finally, the bill’s first page explicitly calls for regional representatives from around the state to come together in a rulemaking process, which would be administered in public hearings and meetings by the OLCC, to consider potential changes to Oregon’s 42-year-old wine labeling rules.
If you weren’t able to attend the meetings mentioned above but you’d like to talk about any wine legislation, please give the OWA a call any time at 503-228-8336 or send us an e-mail.
Order Oregon Wine Touring Guides for Your Summer Visitors
With maps, itineraries and 500 tasting room listings, the 2019 Oregon Wine Touring Guide is a strong addition to any tasting room or tourism business. Order your complimentary case of 40 copies now in advance of the summer travel season.
Recapping Learn Oregon: An Online Oregon Wine Training
This March, OWB launched Learn Oregon, a 4-week online master class curriculum. More than 2,000 members of the trade, media and industry from 45 states and 27 countries enrolled, with 336 participants receiving a certificate for fully completing the course by answering all of the weekly critical thinking questions.
OWB-Funded Research Update: Elucidating Brettanomyces Paths of Entry into the Cellar
Dr. Christopher Curtin of OSU has prepared an update about research he is conducting with co-PI Dr. James Osborne to determine how Brettanomyces yeasts finds their way into the cellar.
Webinar: 4-Week Online DTC Workshop Series Begins May 29
The OWB, in partnership with the Oregon Wine Brotherhood, is sponsoring a 4-week series of educational webinars on tasting room and wine club management. Presented by Susie Tucker of VingDirect, the first week’s two-part training will focus on how to convert tasting room guests to wine club members. Note, you must register for each webinar separately to receive links to join.
Workshop: Export Strategies, Tools and Techniques | May 29
SEDCOR (Strategic Economic Development Corporation) of the Mid-Willamette Valley is hosting a workshop regarding export strategies for businesses in the beer, wine and spirits and agriculture industries on May 29 at Chemeketa Community College’s Yamhill Valley Campus. Presenters come from Business Oregon, ODA and the U.S. Commercial Service.
Seminar: Willamette Valley Visitor Profile Study Final Report | June 5
Seminar: Viticulture at Linfield College | Aug. 1-14
Linfield College is offering a two-week seminar on viticulture, which will cover grape varieties, general grape biology and physiology, the environmental factors required to grow grapes, and basic aspects of vineyard management. The hybrid course includes online study followed by a 5-day field course.
Wine Press Northwest is seeking sparkling wines produced by Pacific Northwest wineries with fruit sourced from Washington, Oregon or Idaho. Top wines will appear in Wine Press Northwest magazine and online. Wines earning the top rating of “Outstanding” are eligible for participation in the 20th annual invitation-only Platinum judging this fall.
Call for Entries to the Oregon Wine Competition | Deadline: June 7
As the foundation of the annual Oregon Wine Experience event, the Oregon Wine Competition invites all licensed Oregon wineries to submit wines to be evaluated by a panel of world-renowned judges, including Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers, wine writers and DWSET educators. The entry deadline is June 7.
Chemeketa Wine Studies Experimental Wine Tastings | June 5
Join Chemeketa’s Wine Studies students for an experimental wine tasting open to Oregon wine industry members. Taste a variety of experimental wines, provide feedback and discuss current industry topics. You can also present wines from your own trial for feedback. This tasting is possible thanks to support from the Oregon Wine Brotherhood.
Travel Oregon Competitive Small Grants Application Period Closes June 19
Travel Oregon has published its 2019-20 Competitive Small Grants guidelines. Applications will be accepted until June 19. Small Grant requests can be up to $20,000 and only require a 10 percent cash match. If you would like a letter of support for your application from the OWB, let us know by June 7.