The most important measure of a crew is how they handle a crisis.
I’ve been touring our wine districts, observing firsthand how wineries, vineyards and most importantly their people adapt to the pandemic—gathering a sense of our industry beyond my own brand. A road trip down to Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley was especially enlightening. Like all of us, wineries there concurrently grow the 2020 vintage, prepare for the crush, while sorting out how to safely greet visitors. A huge economic driver, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, was canceled, resulting in leaders coming forward to find alternative, creative stimulus for local tourism. Underneath all of the individual concerns laid an irrepressible vibrancy to the region and their collective future.
In the Umpqua, I participated in a feedback session designed to reimagine a path moving forward for the Southern Oregon Wine Institute (SOWI), an impressive wine education center. Today the facility is underutilized and stressed by COVID-19, yet the wine industry’s demand for trainings generated by the center continues to grow. How do we nurture this important technical training institute to meet future needs of the community and industry? Once again, I witnessed leaders looking at the horizon, beyond today’s crisis.
At the Oregon Wine Board, your staff continues to move forward on implementing a strategic vision for the next five years. Without a doubt, COVID-19 modifies immediate tactical marketing programs, but the pillars of our strategic plan for the Oregon wine industry remain relevant for charting our future course. Key phrases such as “brand equity,” “market expansion,” “wine tourism,” and “insights and integration” form solid foundations for our programs moving forward. Our team goals translate these principles into promotions and activities, raising the tide for all boats floating on the sea of Oregon wine. Start preparing your crew to seize OWB-generated opportunities as we move forward into the “new-normal.”
Chairman, Oregon Wine Board
Owner, Phelps Creek Vineyards, Hood River
Harvest and Crush Safe Operating Guidelines | Outbreak Communications Plan
Last week, an industry task force finalized and published COVID-19 safety guidelines for vineyard and winery operations, developed in conjunction with partners at ODA, OHA and Oregon OSHA. An example emergency response plan and guidance for communications to employees, customers and press are also provided to assist in the event of a workplace outbreak. All of these documents are pinned at the top of the OWB’s COVID-19 Toolkit.
Keep Your Tasting Room Status Current
If your tasting room’s open or by-appointment status has recently changed, don’t forget to update your entry on the OWB’s tasting room directory. We regularly refer consumers and media to visit.oregonwine.org, and we rely on you to keep your information updated.
Participate in the 2019-20 Oregon Wine Industry Economic Impact Study
Every three years the OWB commissions a critical piece of research that provides important information when communicating with the media, lawmakers, granting entities, county commissioners, and more. Please take a few minutes to gather information and complete the economic impact questionnaire that will enable our research partners to produce a comprehensive report for 2019 and estimate the pandemic’s impact on our industry this year.
OWB-Sponsored Research Update: Identification and Assessment of Smoke Odorants in Grapes and Wine
Dr. Michael C. Qian, professor of wine and grape flavor chemistry at Oregon State University, has prepared an update about research he is conducting to investigate the complex conversion mechanisms of smoke compounds and develop a quantitative measurement to ensure grape and wine quality.
Webinar: Website Optimization for Tourism Businesses During COVID-19 | Thursday, Sept. 10 at Noon
With the world turning to the internet for ideas on what can be done (and done safely) during a global pandemic, now is the time to make sure your website is up to date, informative and ready to shine. Join Jessica Tate, senior art director at ThinkShout and Kate Jorgensen, products & platforms manager at Travel Oregon, for a discussion about website best practices during COVID-19.
CALLS FOR WINE
Sip Magazine 2020 Best of the Northwest Wine Awards | Deadline: Sept. 4
For the first time, Sip Magazine will host a virtual “2020 Best of the Northwest” awards ceremony where they will announce the top winners in each category with the full list of winners to follow in the fall “Best of the NW” issue. The deadline to submit wines is Sept. 4.
The Wine Advocate Now Accepting Wines for Review | Deadline: Sept. 30
Erin Brooks, Oregon reviewer at the Wine Advocate has issued her annual call for wines to review. If you plan to submit wines, be sure to read the submission criteria and procedures for shipping wine to Erin’s home in Napa. The deadline for wine delivery is Sept. 30.
Help Your Neighbors: List Offers for Crush Help on the OWB Marketplace
Some industry members have asked how they can publicize that they have spare capacity to assist with crush in the event of another winery needing to unexpectedly halt operations in response to COVID-19. The Marketplace on the OWB industry site now has the option to list “Services,” and any wine business offering services such as helping neighbors take in fruit is encouraged to create a post.
Post Harvest Internships on the OWB Marketplace
The Marketplace on the OWB industry website is frequently used by producers to post grapes, bulk wine and equipment for sale. Did you know it can also be used to post job opportunities? If you have harvest internship jobs—or others—available, post them to the Marketplace so we can spread the word to other organizations that might know of good candidates.
ETS Laboratories 2020 Harvest Guide Now Available
With harvest right around the corner there are always challenges that may arise, and ETS is here to help. Their popular annual Harvest Guide provides a toolkit highlighting the most requested harvest testing, COVID-19 precautions, a feature on aromas to detect and prevent common sensory flaws, and a new extended panel to test for volatile smoke and glycosylated markers.
Vinous Rates 2018 Vintage as One of the Best Ever for Oregon Pinot Noir
Josh Raynolds, editor of Vinous, recently published his report after tasting wines sent for review in March. Our recap includes a link to the article as well as an example of how critical acclaim can quickly flow through to retail sales.
Post Wine-Related Positions through Cat Connect at Linfield University
Reach students looking for internships, jobs or volunteer opportunities in the vineyard, cellar, tasting room, wine associations or wine events by posting to Linfield’s online portal, Cat Connect. Complete the employer questionnaire letting students know the position details and how to apply.
Post Vineyard and Cellar Jobs through the Oregon Wine Research Institute
Reach the Oregon State University community with job opportunities by posting with OWRI. To post, simply email OWRI a link to the job description or a PDF that outlines the details. At a minimum, include job title, company name, specific location of position, instructions on how to apply, and your contact information.
The OWB’s industry website hosts a calendar that includes industry-facing events as well as events with significant industry participation. Consult it when scheduling or rescheduling events to avoid conflicts, and don’t forget to post entries as well.
Links to post to both the industry calendar and the OWB’s consumer-facing calendar can be found here.