Background: We understand the attached letter was sent to Governor Kotek, OHA and OLCC in December 2023. The OWB is a state agency and we support OWC and OWA in their letter’s sentiment of moderation education that:
“Our industry takes our responsibility as stewards of Oregon’s world-renowned wine industry very seriously and we support many of the efforts undertaken by Rethink the Drink to prevent excessive consumption of alcohol. Our industry is committed to preventing unhealthy alcohol consumption, ensuring safe practices in our tasting rooms, taking every step to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors, and other practices that promote moderate consumption…Our industry is a positive force in the state, driving employment, tourism, land stewardship, and other contributions to rural and urban communities. A bottle of Oregon wine reflects the essence of our state and is shared on tables throughout the world.”
What OWB is here to do
By charter adopted two decades ago, the OWB is here to do three things: marketing, research, and education that supports and advances the Oregon wine and wine grape industry. The Board works on behalf of all Oregon wineries and independent growers throughout the state’s diverse winegrowing regions, which now numbers over 1,100 wineries and 1,400+ grape growers.
More than 70% of these producers make less than 5,000 cases a year and are small farms with as little as one or two people at the helm. They are families, neighbors, active community members and farmers. These winemakers and growers depend on OWB to promote Oregon’s wine-grape growing and winemaking industries and to support research to develop sustainable wine and wine grape business practices within Oregon.
Our latest data show that Oregon wine grapes and wines support a $7.2 billion economic engine that’s grown 27% since 2016. This includes winery and grower revenues, wholesale and retail sales of wine, related industries such as trucking and professional services, plus wages throughout the supply chain and the effect of employees spending those wages in Oregon.
- The estimated number of wine-related jobs in Oregon totaled 40,047 in 2019, up from just under 30,000 in 2016, representing a jump of 35%. And wine continues to generate economic activity in every one of Oregon’s 36 counties.
- Wine-related activity in 2019 contributed over $184 million in state and local tax revenues. $88.5 million of that, or 48%, came from property tax revenues.
- Oregon wine draws tourist dollars to the state. More than 3 million people visit Oregon to taste wine. The impact wine has on tourism as wineries continued to draw visitors to Oregon. Dean Runyan Associates estimates that overall tourism impacts in Oregon increased by $1.9 billion between 2016 and 2019, an estimated 17% increase. Through lodging, dining and other activities, wine-related tourism accounted for $894 million in statewide revenues, excluding sales from tasting rooms, a 13% increase over 2016 spending of $787 million.
- The small to mid-sized family farmers and winemakers pay for their promotional programs and agricultural research through self-imposed taxes based on their annual harvests. The state’s general tax fund does not support Oregon’s wine and grape growing businesses
For more reference
Oregon Wine Board’s charter:
The Oregon Wine Board shall operate for the purpose of supporting enological, viticultural and economic research to develop sustainable business practices for wine grape growing and wine making within Oregon and supporting the promotion of Oregon’s wine grape-growing and winemaking industries.
Our mission: OWB will define, protect and promote the reputation of Oregon wine globally.
Our nine-member board is appointed by the Governor of Oregon, is supported financially by a tax on wine grapes produced in the state and the sale of Oregon wines in the state.
The Oregon Wine Board operates for the “purpose of supporting enological, viticultural and economic research to develop sustainable business practices for wine grape growing and wine making within Oregon and supporting the promotion of Oregon’s wine grape growing and wine making industries.”
From Wine America:
The Oregon wine industry provides good jobs, paying an average of $47,500 in annual wages and benefits. The total wages generated by direct, indirect, and induced economic activity driven by the wine industry are $2.41 billion.
The Oregon wine industry is a major magnet for tourists and tourism-driven expenses. Oregon’s “wine country” regions generates 2.36 million tourist visits and $801.99 million in annual tourism expenditures, benefiting local economies and tax bases.
- According to their 2022 statewide Visitor Study, Travel Oregon identified Food and Drink as the number one activity for tourists visiting the state with two-thirds of visitors (65%) eating and drinking local cuisine.
- Among visitors, visiting wineries was the third most popular food & dining activity at 14.3% behind visiting local restaurants/bars and coffee roasters/tea makers.
- “Wine/winery” ranked as the number one type of guided tour for visitors.
Submitted by Sarah Murdoch, Oregon Wine Board [email protected]
Here are some recent articles in support of the Oregon wine industry:
From Samantha Cole Johnson, Jancis Robinson January 2024:
“Personally, I am happy to see at least one country lessening restrictions and penalties on alcohol. While I think it’s fine that people are choosing to drink less of their own volition, I think it’s incredibly damaging to businesses as well as to individuals’ social networks to governmentally restrict and penalise those who chose to drink. In the US, the vast majority of restaurants and wineries are family owned. Those families are less able to compete when they have heavy tariffs levied on them.”
Michael Beard, January 17, 2024, The Oregonian. Readers respond: Neo-prohibition for Oregon wine:
“…realize how small the profit margin is for the average Oregon winery – in an industry that brings millions of tourist dollars into the state.”
Tom Wark, Fermentation, January 5, 2024.
Tom Wark, Fermentation, January 11, 2024