Dear friends,

With the Northern California firestorms still very much on our minds, I wanted to open with a reminder to review our previous message offering suggestions for those interested in assisting our neighbors.

In addition to making donations, we can also encourage people to go online and buy a bottle or two from wineries in the affected areas. The effort to soften the blow and enable these businesses to transition back to health is greatly enhanced if they can continue generating some revenue.

Turning back to home and a widely recognized area of opportunity for Oregon wineries: increasing the number of restaurant placements for our wines. Please note that nominations will be accepted until Oct. 31 for the Oregon Wine A-List Awards. A-List status is reserved for wine programs that set, and often surpass, the standards of excellence for Oregon wine service and breadth of assortment. Click here for details on how you, or your wine club members around the world, can recognize the key accounts that most effectively present Oregon wines.

For those winemakers monitoring payrolls and incurring overtime for hourly workers on crush pads or in barrel rooms, the Oregon Winegrowers Association’s efforts in Salem last spring paid off for you whether or not your business is an OWA member. The OWA worked with other stakeholders to roll back Oregon’s Bureau of Labor and Industries 2016 policy that compelled employers to pay a combination of daily and weekly overtime when a winery worker’s hours surpassed thresholds. Overtime is triggered when daily hours surpass 10 and/or weekly hours exceed 40. The OWA worked to restore the previous overtime calculation method which, once again, simply requires employers to pay the greater of the daily or weekly overtime amounts. This should save many wineries at least 20% versus what would have been payable under the now-obsolete compound daily and weekly overtime wage requirement.

Since recognition of our industry leaders always deserves a special mention, join me in congratulating Grace and Ken Evenstad, owners and founders of Domaine Serene, for being honored with the Excellence in Family Business Award from Oregon State University’s College of Business. Thank you both for your leadership and for allowing Oregon’s wine community to catch a little of that reflected light. Read the full announcement.

Finally, the Oregon Wine Experience festivities held a couple of months ago in Southern Oregon generated some sensational results for the Asante Foundation and hospitals in Ashland, Medford and Grants Pass that will benefit from this year’s fundraising success. OWE’s various activities in late August raised over $1 million for the Foundation, which provides health care services, focusing on pediatrics, to families in nine counties. The tasting events and dinners included wines from more than one hundred Oregon wineries spread across 16 of our state’s 18 AVAs. Guest attendance for the week was up more than 50% from last year to 3,670. Congratulations to all on a job very well done in service to a tremendously worthy local cause.


Tom Danowski
Oregon Wine Board