It has been an exciting start to the year for Oregon wine in international markets. In the past two months many of your industry colleagues have carried the flag for Oregon in seven different countries by participating in Oregon Wine Board-organized trade tastings and educational seminars. Our consistent presence in those markets is paying off with an uptick in importer activity and an elevation of general interest in our region. In this newsletter you’ll find a recap of all of these events and information on our final two for this grant year.
As a reminder, all of our international activities are funded through USDA grants. There is a growing pool of competition for those grant funds, bringing continued pressure to show the success of our program. It is as important as ever that OWB is able to collect and report on any success you have as a result of participating in one of our international events. If you have a story to share, please contact Margaret Bray or myself.
Finally, thank you to all of you who have traveled with us these past few months!
Make a Nomination for Denmark Reverse Trade Mission
We are pleased to announce that the Oregon Wine Board, Washington State Wine Commission, California Wine Institute and New York Wines have received grant funding to host a group of sommeliers in a multi-state tour. A similar tour held last year included sommeliers from throughout Canada, and this year we are shifting the invitation to Denmark. Attendees will tour California, Oregon and Washington during the first week of October 2017. Their time in Oregon will be limited to about a day and half, but if you are interested in hosting the group please contact Margaret Bray. While we cannot guarantee that you will be selected, we will do our best to get the attendees to as many wineries as possible during their short time in Oregon.
If you would like to nominate a sommelier from any Danish market please send a bio and reason for the nomination to Margaret Bray by Apr. 21.
Call for International Success Stories
As always, OWB needs your international success stories. Showing the USDA that Market Access Program funds are being used effectively and that activities are resulting in increased international sales and representation for Oregon wineries is essential for continued grant funding. If you have participated in any OWB-sponsored international activities, including inbound trade tours or outbound events that have resulted in securing representation or sales abroad contact Margaret Bray with your success story details.
Complete our Survey on International Activity
Annually, OWB conducts an international activity survey in order to gather data on winery sales and interest in export markets. This information is essential for planning our annual event calendar. This information is not shared publicly and is only aggregated for our planning purposes. Your willingness to complete the survey is greatly appreciated. Access the survey by clicking here. If you have any questions, please contact Margaret Bray or Marie Chambers.
Attend the Export Committee Meeting on Apr. 27
OWB is holding the annual Export Committee Meeting on Apr. 27 from 10 a.m. to noon at Chemeketa Community College – Eola Center. We are inviting all of you to attend, as we want to ensure that we receive input from as many exporting wineries as possible in our activity planning process. If you would like to attend in person, please contact Margaret Bray or Marie Chambers to confirm. Also, please consider completing the International Activity Survey before the meeting.
UPCOMING INTERNATIONAL EVENTS
Educational Seminars in Cabo San Lucas and Mexico City
As mentioned in the last newsletter, OWB has received a grant to hold educational seminars in Mexico. The Mexico events will take place in both Cabo San Lucas and Mexico City the week of May 22. The events will consist of educational tasting seminars focused on local media and trade, and are held in partnership with the Washington State Wine Commission. Wines from all over the state will be included.
Oregon Pinot Camp and Tour
Every year the OWB brings a group of key international trade including sommeliers, importers and educators from around the world to attend Oregon Pinot Camp and an extended tour of Oregon. This year brings our largest group of international guests ever for this event, with 18 coming from the United Kingdom, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia and four provinces in Canada. We expect this to be one of our best and most influential groups yet and with your help, are looking forward to creating more life-long ambassadors of Oregon wine.
RECENT INTERNATIONAL EVENTS
Seoul, Tokyo and Osaka
In February, the OWB and WSWC hosted trade tastings in both Japan and Korea.
In Seoul, we partnered with U.S. food cooperators to demonstrate how Oregon wines can pair well with the local food. Between Oregon and Washington there were 17 wines poured at the event which attracted more than 350 trade. In addition, an Oregon wine educational seminar was hosted with more than 100 attendees.
In Japan, tastings were held in both Tokyo and Osaka in collaboration with local importers in the market. The trade and small consumer tastings attracted close to 200 people in both cities, confirming that enthusiasm for Oregon wines in Japan is still quite high after many years of events held there. It is encouraging to see how many labels are having success in these markets.
Shanghai Educational Seminar
In March, an Oregon and Washington educational seminar was hosted in Shanghai. This event was moderated by Debra Meiburg MW and attended by more than 70 trade, primarily on and off-premise buyers, importers and media. The Oregon portion of the seminar included six wines from various regions throughout the state giving an overview of the quality that Oregon has to offer.
London, Stockholm and ProWein
The annual European tour included events in London, Stockholm and three days at ProWein in Dusseldorf, Germany.
The London event returned to an Oregon and Washington only format which allowed us to focus on attracting high-level trade and to conduct educational seminars for each state. Oregon’s seminar focused on Chardonnay and the winemaker panel attracted a crowd of more than 50 attendees. There was also a self-pour component, which was very popular with attendees. The media attendance was excellent, including Oz Clarke, Jancis Robinson and Steven Spurrier. This year also included a new evening event called Magnum Opus, held at the Churchill War Rooms after the trade tasting. This was an opportunity for even more interaction with top trade and media, with wineries pouring from magnums in a more informal format.
In Stockholm, Oregon participated in the annual Go West! Tasting with Washington and California. The event drew more than 300 trade attendees and even more for the small consumer tasting. The three states also conducted a joint seminar led by Geoff Kruth MS. The tasting was considered a great success and we are looking forward to continuing the Go West! Tasting format in Copenhagen next spring.
The tour ended at ProWein and included nine Oregon wineries. This year was the busiest yet with a constant flow of visitors to our booth from all over the world. The interest in Oregon wine worldwide is definitely on the rise as evidenced by our popularity at this important international show.
Taste Oregon – Toronto Spring Tasting
The OWB hosted its first Oregon only event in years in Toronto with 45 wineries. The event took place on Apr. 11 and attracted more than 350 top-level trade and media in the Ontario market. The events included an interactive walk-around tasting and salmon bake for key trade, LCBO buyers and media, and a structured seminar for 50 trade members. The LCBO also hosted a seminar for wineries highlighting best practices on doing business with them in Ontario. You’ll be able to find the presentation on OWB’s industry website soon, but if you would like a copy before then, please contact Margaret Bray. The trade tasting was followed by a consumer tasting with more than 250 of Toronto consumers attending and enthusiastically tasting Oregon wine.
In order to create more opportunities in the market, OWB also hosted a progressive streetcar tasting in which 25 very high-level Toronto trade were invited aboard a vintage streetcar in Toronto along with 25 Oregon producers. The streetcar made stops at three wine bars throughout the city where Oregon wine was available to taste. It was a great way for the wineries to meet and get to know the local trade.
The final event in the three-day series was a winemaker dinner hosted by OWB and VISA at Richmond Station restaurant in Toronto. Eight wineries participated by pouring and describing their wines to an engaged local consumer audience. It was a fantastic evening with great wine and food paired extraordinarily well by the local celebrity chef.