Autumn in our wine industry: a time for harvest to commence and the timeless annual transfer of natural and artistic expression from the vine to winemaker to consumer. Autumn is also a particularly important time on the business side. In the wine trade, the acronym OND (October, November, December) marks the time when we harvest sales success based on our hard work earlier in the year. Whether DTC, domestic or international FOB sales, fall is when our cumulative business practices and skills come to full fruition and set the tone for a successful year end and a good strategic year to follow.
On the FOB side smart wineries will have done their hard work with distributors early in the year, making market visits if possible, or at minimum setting the tempo for business expectations, ensuring annual goals are in alignment, and building bonds with sales reps and trade accounts. It’s as important to take regular inventory of your market situations as it is to know what’s in your cellar.
Ideally market goals were established in the prior year. Sure, it is disappointing when wholesalers will not see you in OND – but they will take the time to plan by phone. Did you review quarterly performance to keep them on track through the year? Or is it now a fire drill? It is very, very difficult to play catch-up in the fall…and costly, too. If you did not plan your fall market presence effectively, you are at the mercy of the “price” market because this is the quarter of the year when retailers and restaurant by-the-glass placements are all designed to capture profit margin for the retailer! Just like the stock market, a strong and consistent list and shelf placement beat end-of-year scrambles.
Are you able to make time to visit fall trade shows? This is the time when you lay the groundwork for next year. And if you were on your game in the summer you were probably targeting wine list placements for the fall and putting focused incentives in place to achieve the right placements for the fall. There is an old adage on the distributor side that fall wine lists are written in August, and smart retailers will have mapped out their most optimal floor maps in August. These help lead holiday shoppers to the treasures that will fill their holiday gift-giving and entertaining needs. By the way, this is also the one time of the year when even more expensive bottles of wine can use a smart necker or other point of sale material that will lead a consumer to pick your bottle up.
At the winery and in your club business, the whole year has been about driving your exposure and club membership so that your winery can reap the fourth quarter rewards of the profitable new consumers you have attracted. Have you continued to build and sharpen your e-mail base? Do you have a history of driving customers to your website all autumn long for specials that will enhance their holiday tables and gift-giving? By the way, don’t forget to share those recipes! And have you given your DTC team the kinds of sales incentives that will keep them fired up through the fall?
I like to say that this wonderful wine business that we love has two key purposes that define everything we do: We grow great wine in the vineyard, and we grow great customers out in the market. Vineyards and markets must be tended year around. If we do it right, then we enjoy the rich harvest of happy and profitable customers all winter long!
Oregon Wine Board
Oregon Wines Fly Free Promotion
This fall, we are working in collaboration with our partners at Travel Oregon and Alaska Airlines to promote Oregon Wines Fly Free through a consumer sweepstakes. Give future visitors to your tasting room some inspiration for planning their next trip to wine country by sharing this opportunity with your audiences on social media or via your newsletter. Preview and share the sweepstakes.
Now Accepting Nominations for 2018 Oregon Wine A-List Awards
Think about your best restaurant accounts around the country, your favorite local gem and that wine director who always seems to go above and beyond with their Oregon wine list and programming. Sound like someplace – or someone – you know? The window is now open until Oct. 31 to recognize their dedication to Oregon with a nomination for a 2018 Oregon Wine A-List Award before. Submit a nomination.
TEXSOM Sponsorship Recap
The OWB marketing plan has a strategic focus on educating and engaging trade influencers to increase the availability of Oregon wine, in particular on-premise buyers across the country. As part of these efforts, OWB participated as a sponsor at the TEXSOM Conference in Las Colinas, Texas for the first time on Aug. 12. Read a recap of this sponsorship and learn how to get involved with TEXSOM.
Measures for Mitigating Smoke Taint in Wines
OWB education manager Bree Boskov MW has compiled current research, articles and suggestions on how to handle grapes to mitigate smoke taint in wine, which you may find useful as you prepare for crush. She has also prepared a summary of the latest research on mitigating the effects of smoke taint in the cellar. Read the summary and view resources.
We understand it is easy for comments to be misinterpreted about this potentially sensitive issue, and our office is fielding many media calls on the subject. Therefore if you are contacted by the media regarding the impact of smoke on the 2017 harvest and you prefer not to speak on the issue, please direct these inquiries to OWB communications manager Sally Murdoch.
September 2017 Weather and Climate Forecast
On Sept. 4, Dr. Greg Jones of Linfield College published an updated weather and climate summary and forecast. This report looks back at August conditions, provides an updated drought watch, and forecasts September, October and November 2017. Read the report.
CALLS FOR WINE
Paul Gregutt and Wine Enthusiast Magazine Seek Submissions
Wine Enthusiast is producing a “bookazine” focused on the Pacific Northwest. Writer Paul Gregutt has asked the industry for more wines to review, to alert him about any new releases, and to be kept informed on your winery’s activities. View Paul’s complete request and submission details.
Want to reach hundreds of thousands of wine lovers in our region? Northwest Wine Radio seeks winemakers to interview for their winter 2018 schedule. Taping takes place on select Mondays in Seattle and participation is free. View the schedule and learn more.
Save the Date: Oregon Winegrowers Association Annual Meeting
Save the date for OWA’s annual meeting and legislative reception on Jan. 10 in Salem. Learn about OWA’s legislative priorities, compliance issues and member benefits, and share industry goals and concerns with decision makers. Put the event on your calendar.
OWA Membership Satisfaction Survey
The OWA is asking for full member participation in its annual survey, which they use to evaluate current programs and create more advantageous membership benefits. The survey should take about five minutes, and OWA is giving away $100 gift cards to three lucky people completing the survey. Read about OWA’s recent work and get the survey link.
Welcome Reception for Dr. Greg Jones at Linfield College
Linfield College president Thomas Hellie invites members of the Oregon wine industry to an informal reception on Sept. 20 to welcome Dr. Greg Jones. Dr. Jones joined the Linfield staff on Aug. 15 as the new director of wine education. Get details and RSVP.
Al MacDonald / LIVE Wine Studies Scholarship Fund
The Al MacDonald/LIVE Wine Studies Scholarship Fund was created to honor Al MacDonald’s work as an educator and pioneer of sustainable agriculture. A new scholarship in his name will assist first-generation students of color in pursuing an education through the Wine Studies Program at Chemeketa Community College. Learn more and contribute to the fund.
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 Tuesdays. This was formerly set for Fridays but we changed the day to help avoid weekend traffic. 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.