You don’t need to love Hollywood to appreciate how celebrity duo Ashton and Mila (Kunis) Kutcher are raising funds with their new Quarantine Pinot noir. Made in Dundee by Battle Creek Cellars winemaker Sarah Cabot, the wine will begin shipping in May. Media coverage for Oregon wine has surged with hundreds of articles on the couple’s pledge to donate 100% of profits to these charities:
Thanks to the growers who joined in last week’s roundtable discussion hosted by Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences and the Oregon Wine Board. The session was moderated by Dr. Patty Skinkis and included OSU faculty and vineyard managers from around the state. It was designed to facilitate an exchange of ideas on farming more efficiently this season as vineyard owners become even more focused on controlling operating expenses.
The audio recording of the April 13 roundtable is available in the Agriculture Business Resources section of the OWB’s COVID-19 toolkit. And while the farming ideas discussed have not been validated by rigorous scientific research or endorsed by OSU or the OWB, we didn’t want to edit the discussion in case some of the suggestions prompt dialogue among growers about cost-management recommendations including:
if you don’t expect to harvest or sell your grapes this year, leave them on the vine;
do not neglect your spray program, alterations can be made after bloom;
avoid tilling for a year or two since it seems to present little risk to the vines in many cases;
limit herbicide use where possible especially as Oregon is expecting a dry growing season;
for those who cane prune, you may be able to forgo shoot positioning. Lift the wires and leave the canopy; and
communicate with your neighboring vineyards if you will be employing minimal farming practices.
We are also well aware of concerns our winemakers have during the pandemic and know that cellar safety practices are top of mind for many right now. Hold next Wednesday, April 29 at 10 a.m. on your calendars for a live Zoom chat that will include Oregon’s Max Bruening and will be hosted by Innovint founder Ashley Dubois Leonard. Register here for Winery Operations in the time of Social Distancing.
The OWB marketing team continues to expand awareness of Oregon Inside, the campaign that’s promoting ways to stay connected to our wines, vineyards and winemakers. Here is the latest example of what went out last week to 50,000 fine wine consumers on Wine Spectator’s national e-mail list:
As we hear more from Governor Brown about preparations being made to ease restrictions on commercial activities, you may find last week’s “Reopening Oregon” presentation of interest. The Oregon Wine Council reports that the Governor’s phase-in plan will be based on President Trump’s and the CDC’s guidelines assessing “gating criteria” such as the number of people presenting coronavirus symptoms, trend data tracking the number of cases and hospital capacity. The guidelines also factor in “core state preparedness” for robust testing and contact tracing, healthcare system capacity (including PPE availability and surge capabilities), and plans for ensuring health and safety.
Page 19 of “Reopening Oregon” identifies six of Oregon’s most critical economic sectors slated for reopening in phases two and three. Working groups began meeting this week dedicated to each industry sector. Wineries are embedded in Group 1—Restaurants / Foodservice—and our industry is represented there by Carrie Kalscheuer (REX HILL and A to Z Wineworks), Dan Marca (DANCIN Vineyards) and Mike McNally (Fairsing Vineyard). We’ll keep you updated on their reports as their meetings continue.
We have mentioned in previous weekly editions of OWB’s COVID-19 bulletins that the Board’s Finance Committee has sponsored a series of webinars to offer industry members opportunities to learn more from expert panelists about the emergency financial assistance packages included in recently enacted federal legislation. The audio recording of this week’s webinar (here), which included a guest speaker from the Small Business Administration, lives in the Legal & Financial Education section of the COVID-19 toolkit. You’ll also find the previous Financial Aid webinar audio from April 9 archived there along with written answers to questions that came up immediately afterwards.
For those following the continuing media coverage of the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), you may not have heard that an additional appropriation of $310 billion for small business loans is expected to be signed into law by the end of this week. The first $349 billion in PPP money was fully committed just 12 days after the program’s rollout earlier this month. During that first wave, 18,732 PPP applications were approved in Oregon for loans totaling $3.8 billion.
Another important and positive development in Washington, D.C., is that the supplemental PPP funding to be approved by Friday is part of a bill that is expected to include a provision finally making agriculture businesses eligible for the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). The Oregon Winegrowers Association will be tracking that bill closely as it nears the goal line.
Other COVID-19 resources in the toolkit include this notice from the OWA with direction on complying with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and new requirements for offering paid sick, family and medical leave to workers. Also the OWA’s attorneys at Davis Wright Tremaine suggest reviewing this refreshed Q&A from the Department of Labor, which is updated periodically with new details clarifying provisions of the FFCRA.