In response to the West Coast wildfires and smoke events, the Oregon Wine Board of Directors held an emergency meeting last week. They were joined by OSU President Dr. F. King Alexander, College of Agriculture Dean Dr. Alan Sams, OSU research scientists, industry members and leadership of the OWB’s Research Committee.
Drs. Alexander and Sams offered the institution’s immediate support with lab sample testing capabilities and extension resources to begin gathering grape clusters from across the state. The OWB also heard from Oregon Wine Research Institute scientists with details on the free phenol panels they propose running on grapes and the microfermentation analyses on wines that will include acid hydrolysis testing to provide baseline readings on bound phenols in smoke-affected fruit. This work will start an archive of data points on volatile compounds in Oregon grapes and wines that future industry research can leverage toward the ultimate goals of understanding and potentially minimizing the most negative smoke characteristics in the future.
A timely gift from the Erath Family Foundation will help get this vital sampling and lab work underway. That funding is being supplemented at a 3:1 ratio by an allocation from the Oregon Wine Board’s operating budget. With an endorsement from the industry’s Research Committee leadership, the OWB Directors present at the meeting unanimously approved this urgently needed spending.
Two further points about grape and wine testing at OSU. The incremental statewide grape sampling is in process now, however the grape panel results and wine testing described above will wait until after the private samples from industry members have been analyzed. For details on submitting grapes or small-lot fermentations, see this OSU services agreement. For a broader perspective and other information on dealing with fire smoke, visit the OWB’s Wildfire Smoke Toolkit as well as this OSU Extension guide for additional resources including a list of commercial testing labs.
In other news, you may have seen Oregon’s most recent annual Vineyard and Winery Report, which presents a snapshot of the industry’s production and sales metrics reflecting the input provided to statisticians at the University of Oregon’s Institute for Policy Research and Engagement. Media coverage has been positive as the report details favorable trends that fueled momentum for the industry last year, and which continue to drive Oregon wine sales off-premise during COVID-19, as confirmed by Nielsen.
For industry members looking ahead to 2021 and opportunities to connect with customers around the world, mark Friday, Oct. 23 at 10:30 a.m. on your calendar for the next International Marketing Committee meeting. Marie Chambers can provide Zoom details to anyone interested.
Finally, two historic Oregon wine milestones deserve recognition:
Domaine Serene in Dayton brought home a total of 23 medals, including four Golds, from the Decanter 2020 World Wine Awards. Of special significance is the Best in Show designation for the winery’s 2016 Dundee Hills Bradford Vineyard Pinot Noir, which stood out from the 16,500 wines reviewed by Decanter’s esteemed panel that included 37 MWs.
Oregon Wine Industry Wildfire Smoke Toolkit
The OWB recently introduced a new a resource for members of the Oregon wine industry on the topic of the impacts of wildfire smoke on grapes and wine. The Wildfire Smoke Toolkit provides links to expert resources as well as some frequently asked questions. It will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
Oregon Wine Industry Smoke Webinar Recordings Available
Applications for Assistance from Food Security and Farmworker Safety Program | Deadline: Oct. 25
The Food Security and Farmworker Safety grant program offers financial assistance to producers who need to meet the temporary OR-OSHA requirements under the COVID-19 social distancing guidelines. Financial assistance is available to producers to help offset the cost of increased field sanitation measures, more stringent labor housing and transportation regulations, and face coverings. Applications are being accepted through Oct. 25.
Wine Spectator is producing a virtual tasting promotion open to wineries in its Nov. 30 print issue and on a microsite at winespectator.com. Participation is first-come, first-served and space can be reserved by contacting Cheryl Lewis.
2019 Vineyard & Winery Report Published
The 2019 Oregon Vineyard and Winery Report was recently released, indicating steady growth within many areas of our state’s wine industry. The report details planted and harvested acreage, tonnage and yields by region and variety, as well as data on crush by region and sales across channels.
Conference / Webcast: Oregon Water Law | November 5-6
The 29th annual Oregon Water Law Conference will gather Oregon water law experts to provide an update on recent water-related legislative developments and discuss key issues driving water policy.
CALLS FOR WINE
Wine & Spirits Seeks Syrah and Rhône-Style Red Blends | Deadline: Oct. 30
James Suckling’s Nick Stock to Review Wines in Australia | Deadline Extended: Oct. 31
James Suckling’s Oregon reviewer, Nick Stock, will not be making his annual trip to Oregon this year. Instead, he requests wines be shipped to him to taste in Australia. Read details about Nick’s process for receiving wines. He has extended his deadline to receive wines through the end of October.
Organic Certification Cost Sharing Program | Application Deadline: Oct. 31
Oregon producers who have paid eligible organic certification costs between Oct. 1, 2019, and Sept. 30, 2020 can apply for cost share assistance from the USDA. Costs of certification received from or renewed through a USDA-accredited certifier are eligible for 50% reimbursement up to a maximum of $500 per annual certification scope. Apply by the Oct. 31 deadline.
Updates from the Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research
USDA’s Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research (NCSFR) will host a virtual conference Dec. 14-16. Details about registration will be shared when available; for now, save the dates. In addition, NCSFR shares that they have enlisted the Northwest Berry Foundation to manage the Center’s communications and outreach efforts.
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.