As you begin to anticipate the coming harvest and crush, I want to bring a few important updates into your news feeds. They involve developments relevant to our entire wine community that have only come about because of the Oregon Winegrowers Association.
First let me distinguish the Oregon Wine Board (OWB), focused mainly on research and marketing, from the Oregon Winegrowers Association (OWA), which engages in regulatory and legislative work for grape growers and winemakers. The Wine Board’s work is mainly financed by your grape taxes and some grant funds. In contrast, the Oregon Winegrowers Association relies on voluntary membership dues and receives no funding whatsoever from wine industry taxes. Not a dime.
Nevertheless, the efforts of the OWA often produce results that benefit everyone involved in our statewide wine enterprise. Yet, fewer than half of our industry members are currently enrolled in the Oregon Winegrowers Association.
Let me be more specific about some of those recent wins delivered for all in our industry by the OWA:
Last year, Washington County commissioners moved forward with rules that restricted winery tasting room operating hours and visitor counts. The OWA, in conjunction with member wineries, the state’s Department of Land Conservation & Development and attorneys from Davis Wright Tremaine, entered into an extended dialogue with county administrators alerting them to our concerns. Two weeks ago, we were pleased to learn county commissioners have agreed to begin rolling back those restrictions. This type of county action could have taken place just about anywhere in Oregon and may do so again in the future.
During this latest legislative session, OWA worked closely with trade groups in other sectors to successfully negotiate an end to the requirement that manufacturing employers (wineries) pay compound overtime calculated on both the daily and weekly hours worked by employees. OWA members can get more details on the new rules written into House Bill 3458, and when specific provisions of this new law go into effect, in the July member bulletin.
OWA supported our legislative champions in Salem who urged their colleagues to vote for House Bill 5006, which included the first General Fund allocation for wine. OWA also partnered effectively with Oregon State University to preserve a separate state funding stream that continues Fermentation Sciences research focusing primarily on areas of interest to winemakers and grape growers.
These are just a few new examples demonstrating the Oregon Winegrowers Association’s commitment to its members and their business interests. Others include assisting Polk county grape growers last year in opposing asphalt batching near their vineyards, advocating for sensible new policies that enable wineries to use social media to promote certain retailer events and encouraging OLCC rule changes that now permit industry members to sample small amounts of wine and ensure product integrity before serving their customers.
While we recognize there is still much to do as new competitive pressures emerge, I hope you’ll consider joining those who value OWA’s unique role among our industry’s growing assortment of associations and that you will become an OWA member today.
Updated Summer 2017 Weather and Climate Summary and Forecast
On Jul. 6, Dr. Greg Jones published an updated Summer 2017 weather and climate summary and forecast. This report looks back at June conditions, provides an updated drought watch, and forecasts July, August and September 2017. Read the report.
CALLS FOR WINE
Delta Air Lines 2018-19 Wine Program
Delta Air Lines invites proposals for the 2018-2019 Delta Wine program for Wine in Delta One, First Class and Main Cabin. Please plan to join the conference call with the Delta Team on Fri., August 18. All proposals are due by Fri., September 15. Review and download the full call details.
Massachusetts Distributor Seeking New Oregon Producer Partners
Wine Cask Imports, a small importer/distributor in Massachusetts, is seeking to expand its Oregon portfolio. They have been in business for twelve years and their team of four knowledgeable sales-people focus on the high-population regions of Boston and the North and South Shores. Get more details and contact information.
Call For Wine Country Eclipse Vendors
Wine Country Eclipse, Aug. 19-21 at the Polk Country Fairgrounds in Rickreall, Oregon, is a 3-day festival featuring local music, food, crafts, entertainment and eclipse views. Space is available to pour and sell wine, and lodging is available for vendors. Get more details and contact information.
Preliminary 2016 Grape Pricing Data Now Available
Thank you to all who completed the 2016 census form. The preliminary prices per ton for grapes at the regional and state levels from the 2016 Oregon Vineyard and Winery Census are now available, and the full census report will be published in August. See the preliminary pricing report.
Travel Oregon Matching Grants Application Period Closes Aug. 9
The Travel Oregon Matching Grants Program makes awards available to eligible applicants for projects that contribute to the development and improvement of local communities throughout the state. The application period for the next cycle of Competitive Small Grants and Oregon Wine Country Plates Grants closes Aug. 9. Guidelines and application questions are now available to download. Get more details.
List or Search Grapes for Sale on the Marketplace
If you are looking for a buyer for your grapes, or are interested in buying grapes, don’t forget to check out the Marketplace on the OWB’s industry website. In 2016, the Marketplace replaced the Grape Matching Service and, based on industry feedback, the Marketplace also includes listings for bulk wine, equipment and job opportunities. Post items for sale or visit the Marketplace to search items for sale.
Oregon Wine Experience Barrel Auction
The Oregon Wine Experience is seeking wineries to participate in the Founders’ Barrel Auction on Friday, Aug. 25. The auction presents an opportunity for wineries to gain exposure to clients who purchase multiple cases, including restaurants, distributors and collectors, and 100% of all proceeds will benefit kids’ health through Asante’s affiliation as a Designated Children’s Miracle Network hospital. Learn more about the auction and how to participate.
Come Share Your Winery’s Story with the OWB Team
We’d like to get to know you. Wineries are invited to OWB’s office to share their wines and brand story with us at 3:30 p.m. on Fridays. This is a great opportunity for you to get to know our organization better, ask questions of us and share your suggestions. Learn more and sign up for a visit.