Oregon Wine Board just wrapped up its annual European tour, which consists of trade tastings in northern Europe and culminates in attendance at Prowein, the world’s leading International Wine and Spirits trade show. Nine Oregon wines participated and the tastings were all held in conjunction with Washington State while some were also with the California Wine Institute under the branding of Go West! The events were well-attended by trade and media and the success shows the level of interest in American wine is continuing to grow. Below is a recap on each event held on the European tour:

Hamburg, March 7, 2016
2016 marked the first year that Oregon participated in a trade tasting in Hamburg, Germany. This was a Go West! Tasting and it was a great opportunity to partner with fellow producing states to gauge the level of interest and knowledge about Oregon wines in this large German market. With strong support from the local USDA office, Oregon was able to show the quality of wines coming out of our state, which was quite a draw for the trade who does not have much access to our wines. OWB participated in a tasting seminar along with Washington and California, and David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyard, speaking in German, stole the show along with our Pinot noirs. Hamburg was a great learning experience for us and while we may not return annually it will remain a market of interest for Oregon.

Copenhagen, March 9, 2016
Hamburg was followed up with another Go West! Tasting in Copenhagen, Denmark. This is OWB’s third year in a row participating in a trade tasting in Copenhagen and once again it did not disappoint. We are making great strides in Denmark with many of our participating wineries already having representation. The level of interest in Oregon here also continues to grow as well as the knowledge about Oregon amongst the trade. We once again hosted a trade tasting alongside Washington and California with Wynne Peterson-Nedry of Chehalem presenting on our behalf. It was record attendance for us at the seminar and the tasting was busy all day long. Denmark is an example of a market with great potential for Oregon wine and events such as this help to reinforce our efforts there.

London, March 10, 2016
Quickly after Copenhagen OWB headed to London for our third and last Go West! Tasting for this year. London is, and has been, an essential market for Oregon and one in which the OWB has been focusing their efforts for many years. The tasting there once again did not disappoint attracting trade and media from all over the city. We have included a self-pour element in the last few years, Oregon and Washington only, which has been a wonderful way for wineries to test the waters in the market without having to invest the money necessary for making the trip over the Atlantic. The Go West! London tasting is a great example of how the collaboration with other regions can be truly beneficial for attracting the top trade and media to a tasting.

Stockholm, March 11, 2016
Immediately after the London tasting, OWB jumped on a plane and headed over to Stockholm, Sweden where we held a Pacific Northwest Tasting with Washington State only. It was the only stop on the tour that highlighted only the northwest and it was a great success on a sunny day in Sweden. Having fewer wineries allowed for longer conversations with the trade and media. Oregon was able to hold a tasting seminar alone, which allowed us to show a larger range of the quality wines being produced in Oregon. Carrie Kalscheuer of REX HILL and Wynne Peterson-Nedry of Chehalem presented the seminar to a record number of trade in attendance. Sweden is another target market where are efforts are starting to show signs of great progress not only in Stockholm but in other cities as well.

Prowein, Dusseldorf, March 13 – 16, 2016
Oregon once again participated in Prowein this year, which has become the premier wine trade show in the world. Every year the interest in Oregon is growing and a large part of the participating Oregon wineries would agree that this was our busiest year yet. Below is a general overview of the event follows and as you can read, the reason why Oregon continues to participate.

More than 55,000 trade visitors came to Prowein to gather information at the stands of the 6,200 exhibitors. This event attracted more than 55,000 trade visitors throughout the world to Düsseldorf – corresponding to some 6% over last year (2015: 52,000 trade visitors from 123 countries). ProWein is increasingly becoming a top global event: this year visitors travelled from 126 different countries. One in two visitors came to Düsseldorf from abroad. The highest rise outside Europe was posted by visitors from overseas, mainly from Asia. Overall, they are seeing a trend where ProWein is primarily attracting decision-makers with great purchasing responsibility: more than 70% of visitors came from top or middle management. The success of the trade fair was also highly rated: one in two visitors confirmed that they found new suppliers and two-thirds were able to go home with useful info on trends and innovations. Just under 96% stated they had entirely reached the goals of their trade fair visit. “Figures clearly show that ProWein is the world’s most important business platform for the entire sector. This is where the trade fair budgets are spent. And also for the major, prizewinning wine estates ProWein has now become the absolute must-attending event,” says Hans Werner Reinhard, Managing Director Messe Düsseldorf, summing up the success of ProWein 2016.

Although the schedule was quite a grueling one, the participating Oregon wineries agree that these events are crucial to growing their international sales and for increasing the Brand Oregon awareness necessary for Oregon to grow on the world stage.

Stay tuned for the dates for the 2017 European Tour. It will be hard to top 2016!