OWB director and chair of the international marketing committee, Bob Morus from Phelps Creek Vineyards, and I were invited to join the recent Governor’s trade mission to South Korea and Japan as representatives of Oregon’s wine and agriculture sectors. The latest publication from the Oregon Department of Agriculture ranks wine grapes as 7th in Oregon’s ag commodities. Concurrently, Japan and Korea are two important international markets for Oregon wine exports, with Japan being our second largest behind Canada.
Many Oregon wineries have had strong relationships with Japanese importers for more than 15 years, and these long term partnerships are very important in building global recognition and appreciation for our wines and industry. Through the trade mission, we learned that Oregon has a very long and strong trade relationship with both Japan and South Korea, and there is continued interest in developing additional business investment and tourism on both sides of the Pacific.
For wine trade specifically, we were pleased to hear from embassy staff in Tokyo that the first phase of the U.S.-Japan trade agreement is expected to go into effect in the beginning of 2020, which will immediately lower tariffs for many U.S. agriculture products to the same level as those in the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. For wine in particular, the current tariff of 15% will be decreased to 0% over a 5-year period, helping bring the price of our wine more in line with competing regions.
In Seoul from left to right: Sangmi Kim, Wine educator and journalist; Bob Morus; Kyung-ja Eum, Chief professor of sommeliers at Sejong University; Marie Chambers
On this trip, Bob and I participated in the many state-sponsored activities such as embassy country briefings and events focused on the Governor’s efforts to promote and support women in leadership. We also had the opportunity to meet with wine importers and educators to introduce a new Northwest Wine Certification program that will be launching in these two markets in February.
OWB has partnered with the Washington State Wine Commission, as we do on many international activities, to build out the first program of its kind for wines of the Northwest. The curriculum will include two levels of certification and is designed to be integrated into existing trade and consumer wine education programs.
The interest and reception from experts in each market was very positive, and it also allowed us to collect valuable feedback to help shape the curriculum for optimum engagement and market effectiveness.
In addition to launching the Northwest Wine Certification program, Bree Stock MW, Christina DeArment and Margaret Bray are planning a full slate of OWB-hosted master classes for 2020. OWB’s trade education programming targets influential trade members, primarily premium on- and off-premise buyers, and is designed to inspire category expansion and increase purchases and depletions by cultivating a deep appreciation for Oregon’s high quality wines and unique region. Upcoming master class locations include San Francisco, Seattle, Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Stockholm, Mexico City, Düsseldorf, Hong Kong and London. For many of these classes Bree will also be partnering with other respected wine educators, such as Chris Tanghe MS, Evan Goldstein MS and Madeleine Stenwreth MW, to further expand in-market appreciation and understanding of the quality and value of Oregon wine.
And finally, we have just published the Oregon Winery Visitor Profile Study Report, which was developed in partnership with the University of Oregon’s Institute for Policy Research & Engagement and made possible by an Oregon Wine Country Plates Matching Grant. This report is the result of extensive visitor survey work conducted in the Rogue Valley, Umpqua Valley and Columbia Gorge. It breaks down the characteristics of winery visitors to each region and highlights important tourism trends and preferences.
On behalf of the Oregon Wine Board team, I’d like to wish all of you a very happy Thanksgiving holiday.
VP Operations and Finance
OREGON WINE SYMPOSIUM
Get the Dirt on Farming Techniques for Healthy Soils and Vines
It can be a balancing act managing vineyards for sustainable quality fruit production. The Viticulture track at the 2020 Oregon Wine Symposium will cover both protective and proactive techniques that enable you to preserve the health of your plants and soils while farming with an eye towards the future.
Se Habla Español: Live Spanish Interpretation at the Symposium
On Tuesday, Feb. 11, live Spanish interpretation will be provided for the General Sessions and the Viticulture track. Spanish interpretation tickets cost only $50 and include lunch and access to the trade show. Attendees are also invited and encouraged to join the Tuesday evening Soirée.
Get the Best Rates on Your Hotel Room for Symposium | Deadline: Jan. 20
When you come to Portland for Symposium in February, join us at the brand new Hyatt Regency. The hotel is just across the street from the Oregon Convention Center. Symposium attendees receive a discounted rate when booking before Monday, Jan. 20.
Enter TEXSOM International Wine Awards with Free Shipping | Deadline: Jan. 24
OWB is again partnering with FedEx to provide free Ground shipping on Oregon entries to the TEXSOM International Wine Awards. This program is running through Jan. 24.
New Research Report Published: Who is Oregon’s Winery Visitor?
The complete Oregon Winery Visitor Profile research report is now available. This first-of-its-kind study will provide insights and information to help regional wine associations, individual businesses and tourism groups improve their understanding of current visitors to their area and identify growth opportunities.
OSU Extension and OWRI are sponsoring a full-day workshop to provide grape growers with in-depth information about powdery mildew biology, management, and ways to avoid powdery mildew forming resistance to the fungicides that are currently in your disease management toolbox. Register by Dec. 2.
Submit Wine Trials for 2020 IQ Conference | Deadline: Dec. 13
Each year, winemakers from across the country attend the IQ Conference in Napa Valley to discuss the best methods for producing the best wine. There will be an even greater focus on winemaker trials in 2020, and winemakers are invited to submit their in-house trials or full-scale production experiments and pour the results for their peers at the show.
Assemblage Symposium: Women + Wine | Jan. 14-15
The first Assemblage Symposium will be held on Jan. 14-15 at Linfield College. This event, which includes hands-on workshops, seminars, keynote addresses and networking opportunities, is focused on the advancement, education and empowerment of women and diverse communities in wine. All are welcome and encouraged to attend.