Dear Friends,

I’ll open with an important reminder to please ask anyone in your network who is not already receiving Oregon Wine Board notices to sign up here so we can add their contact details to our files. Keeping informed and making thoughtful decisions are especially critical to the success of any business during this turbulent time.

As we all react to the continuing stream of COVID-19 announcements, many business owners are refocusing on opportunities to generate incremental sales within the marketplace’s current constraints. Outbound telemarketing programs are an often overlooked dimension of a winery’s DTC strategy. In recognition of that, the OWB is partnering with WISE Academy to offer a deeply discounted three-part series of four-hour workshops: Outbound Phone Sales Mastery. The curriculum is offered at $200 for the full series of online sessions, representing a $500 discount compared to regular pricing. Classes start this coming Monday morning, March 30 at 8:30, and registration details are right here

This opportunity and other ideas for professional development can be found on the OWB’s COVID-19 Toolkit, which we are updating regularly.

A gathering of our industry’s marketing experts from around the state was quickly organized by the OWB last week. The meeting notes reflect the sense of the group that industry funds can best be directed immediately towards social and digital media channels to expand consumer awareness of the industry’s DTC offers. Looking further ahead, the group suggested the OWB bring together sales executives from our industry this spring, to be joined by other experts in three-tier distribution, to assess the emerging dynamics reshaping supplier, wholesaler, retailer and restaurateur relationships.

During this week’s industry teleconference to discuss various aspects of the emergency, several agenda items were of interest to growers and winemakers across the state. Two in particular deserve attention here:

  • Work Share provides an alternative for employers and certain workers facing the prospect of layoffs. With Work Share, instead of reducing staff an employer can adjust work schedules but still provide some benefits while staff may qualify for partial unemployment assistance to help offset part of their pay reduction;
  • A letter delivered to Oregon’s state and federal lawmakers earlier this week on behalf of the industry with suggestions for legislative and regulatory actions that can help stabilize businesses and accelerate the recovery of Oregon’s wine economy. It was crafted by the Oregon Winegrowers Association with industry input and is supported by another 15 industry groups. 
Turning to Governor Brown’s Executive Order 20-12 issued on March 23 and in effect through at least April 14, there may be some misunderstandings at your workplace about what the “Stay Home, Save Lives” directive actually means. On page 5, item 10, the order reads: “When telework and work-from-home options are not available, businesses and non-profits must designate an employee or officer to establish, implement, and enforce social distancing policies.” We are working to identify more specific guidance on any training, practices and documentation that may be important in supporting those responsible for monitoring social distancing requirements in your workplaces. In the meantime, we are referring to this from OSHA and the US Departments of HHS and Labor. Pages 22-27 may be most helpful.

For employees who might worry about other aspects of the Executive Order such as whether they will need documentation to travel from home to work, this fact sheet from the Oregon State Police helps answer some other FAQs about “Stay Home, Save Lives.”

Finally, the OWB’s media relations work is as important as ever right now and we are targeting a diverse range of global journalists and providing many of them with story ideas focused on Oregon’s exceptional wines and how Oregon’s wine community is adapting to the current emergency. Recent coverage has elevated Oregon’s profile in Wine & Spirits, the Terroirist,, oregonlive, Forbes and many other outlets including even the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. These clippings and more are posted on the OWB’s Oregon Wine Newsfeed.

Let us know what’s happening in your region that illustrates the Oregon wine community’s resiliency and responsiveness as we prepare future media pitches. And see what’s been offered already by your industry peers right here to help journalists asking for more Oregon stories.

Tom Danowski
Oregon Wine Board


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Portland, OR 97239

March 26, 2020|COVID-19, Grapevine Newsletters|0 Comments

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