While the pandemic continued to make event planning difficult in the 2020-2021 program year, OWB still filled the calendar with several virtual and even some in-person events. Below is a brief recap of the events that we completed for this fiscal year, confirmed plans for the fall, and a preview of our 2021-22 activity calendar.
Recap of 2020-2021 programming by market
In June, a five-part series of comprehensive and interactive, modernized trade and media virtual engagements took place with buyers and influencers, including the LCBO. There were 21 participating wineries and over 30 attendees). These virtual events were well attended and well received, resulting in an increase in sales for many of the participating wineries. Please click here to review the full report.
In addition, there are ongoing meetings and engagements with the various Liquor Boards across Canada. The Northwest Wine Expedition events have been postponed due to COVID until fiscal year 2021-22.
After a long and detailed process, OWB selected PR firm Lotus Communications as our new in-market representatives. This marks a shift in strategic focus away from trade-exclusive to media, PR, and consumer-facing marketing with some trade engagement. Lotus has been working behind the scenes creating a buzz for Oregon wine and securing placements in U.K. publications. They are also creating a content hub that will be the virtual home of Oregon wine in the U.K. We are asking for your help in creating content (see opportunities to contribute below). In addition to PR efforts, Lotus has started a social media campaign for Oregon wine in the U.K.
A virtual tasting was hosted by the owner of retailer D Vine Cellars and OWB Education Director Bree Stock MW. Over 30 consumers in the U.K. received the wines at home to attend this virtual tasting. It was a first-time collaboration with very high interest from consumers evidenced by the quick sell out of the event. We are waiting on the specific numbers, but D Vine Cellars saw a significant increase in sales of Oregon wine immediately after the event. The hope is to collaborate with more retailers in the U.K. to host these kinds of events in person. Click here to view the video.
OWB, along with Washington State Wine, hosted the second Northwest Wine Certification in June. Bree led the intensive programming online to a new group of 27 professionals eager to become Northwest wine ambassadors. To view photos of our top achievers, click here.
Adjusting for pandemic restrictions, OWB hosted a small educational series with both in-person and virtual sessions. 114 wine trade attended, with over 450 applying to attend.
We also supported a social media and advertising campaign, which resulted in an extensive reach to consumers in Korea through Facebook, Instagram, and wine21.com. Click here to review full report.
In April, OWB and WSW hosted a series of master classes in Mexico City, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta. These sessions were to groups of 15 influential trade to generate hype and interest in our upcoming trade tastings. A total of 113 trade attended and 31 Oregon wines were tasted. The events were well attended and the attendees were excited to get in front of Oregon wines. To view photos, click here.
In June, OWB and WSW hosted a master class in Copenhagen led by Madeleine Stenwreth MW. The sold-out session was attended by 51 professionals eager to taste and learn about Northwest wines.
Following the master class, there was an informal self-pour tasting for wineries looking for representation in this important market for Oregon. Multiple wineries are in discussion with importers about securing representation, showing the high level of interest by the trade there in our wines.
OWB and WSW joined with the California Wine Institute in June to host a consumer tasting in Copenhagen. The event was quite a success, with over 400 consumers attending and showing great interest in Oregon wine. To view photos click here.
OWB, along with WSW, is running an ongoing PR and social media campaign in Sweden. Oregon wines have been featured in many magazines and have a presence with a social media campaign to keep us top of mind in this market until we can return with in-person programming.
2021 Confirmed Programming
Due to the ongoing pandemic in the last fiscal year, OWB postponed tastings in Mexico and Canada. These events will now take place in September, and we are optimistic that they will be able to occur on the following dates:
Mexico City – September 1
Puerto Vallarta – September 3
Montreal – September 20
Toronto – September 22
Calgary – September 27
Vancouver – September 29
WUSATA Western Canada trade inbound tour
The Oregon Department of Agriculture and their counterparts in Washington are hosting an inbound tour in both states Oct. 18-21 for wine trade from Western Canada. While this is not OWB programming, we are lending a hand in scheduling and recruiting wineries. This opportunity is limited to 10 wineries per state, and those wineries must meet outlined requirements. The trade will be a mix of importers looking for new partners, retailers, and other essential trade, so we are looking for a combination of wineries very serious about securing an importer in Alberta and British Columbia and a few wineries already present in these markets. Click here for more information and to apply to participate.
2021-2022 Calendar of events
OWB is pleased to share our draft calendar of events for the 2021-2022 fiscal year. We are working to confirm the dates outlined and of course will be monitoring the regulations in different countries for travel and events due to the ongoing pandemic but we are hopeful that we will be able to complete much of this programming before June 2022.
You can find the calendar here. Please continue to check our website and watch for communications about updates and possible changes.
Registration for upcoming events
Keep your eye out for communications about program registrations in the coming months. Our goal is to finalize the calendar with all of our partners in the next month and open registration in the first week of September. Many of our events are first-come, first-served with limited spots, so be sure to register promptly.
Opportunities to participate and contribute
Features in wine and lifestyle magazines
As mentioned above, we have switched our strategy in the U.K. to PR and consumer-facing marketing. To that end, wineries will be featured in wine and lifestyle magazines throughout the year. This may require providing sample bottles and some information on the wineries. To be included, you must be present in the market. If you would like to be considered for these features, email Margaret Bray to opt-in. U.K. importers have also been contacted by Lotus to gauge their interest.
Lotus has been working on creating a content hub that will serve as our website in the U.K. They want to house lots of fun and interactive content here and are asking for help from wineries. They want to create a “meet the wineries” section where wineries and winemakers or owners are profiled. If you are interested in being featured, Lotus requires a bio, information on the winery, images, and wines that are in the market. Wineries will be asked to complete a Q&A via email as well. If you are interested in participating, email Margaret Bray to be put on the list.
Where to buy
We aim to make finding Oregon wines easier for the consumer by creating a list on the content hub. For those interested in being part of this list, please speak with your importers and send Margaret a detailed list to publish on the site.
Participate in virtual programming
Wineflightdirect is a company looking to help connect Northwest wineries with influencers and importers in the Vietnam market. They will be hosting a series of virtual events in October to do so. If you are interested in this market, click here for more information and contact them directly for participation.
Summer Tour and Oregon Pinot Camp
We are excited to bring the world to Oregon once again for our annual Summer Tour before Oregon Pinot Camp 2022. We will be extending invitations to those accepted for the canceled 2020 OPC, but we still have a few spots to fill. If you would like to nominate someone from a key international market for consideration, click here to learn more and make a nomination.
GBI U.K. sommelier inbound tour
Sign up to host
OWB, WSW, and CWI will be hosting a group of U.K. sommeliers in spring 2022. The exact dates are being determined, but the group will consist of key sommeliers from across the U.K. If you are interested in hosting this group at your winery, please contact Margaret Bray for more information.
Call for success stories
As always, OWB is required to submit success stories to USDA to show that our programming is resulting in direct sales for our wineries. We know that the past year has not been an easy one for international sales, but if you have any success stories from this year due to any of our programming, please fill out this form and email it to Margaret Bray. These stories are essential to OWB continuing to receive funding at the same level and to ensure that we can continue our programming throughout the world. The template to submit your success stories is available here.