The Oregon Wine Board team returned to the TEXSOM Conference for the third year in a row a few weeks ago. It was encouraging to see a larger Oregon footprint at the conference than ever before. Between an OWB sponsored lunch for TEXSOM volunteers, Willamette Valley Wineries Association sponsored attendee lunch, Southern Oregon education session arranged independently by TEXSOM conference organizers and a handful of Oregon brands pouring at the final grand tasting, Oregon certainly put our best foot forward in front of this influential trade audience. Read on to learn about the conference, OWB sponsorship and ways to get involved in the 2019 conference.
The annual TEXSOM conference is considered by many to be the most prominent and influential wine trade education conference in the U.S., offering seminars, networking opportunities and rare chances to taste premium wines from around the world. The conference boasts an impressive list of attendees including sommeliers, retail wine buyers, distributor/importer executives and sales reps, Master Sommeliers, Masters of Wine, consumer and trade media, wine educators and producers from all over the world.
On Saturday, Aug. 11, for the second year in a row, the Oregon Wine Board hosted a lunch for the 150 TEXSOM volunteer sommeliers that were there to help with wine service and logistics at the conference. Volunteers must apply and be selected by TEXSOM conference organizers for their professionalism and wine service experience. The majority were fine wine restaurant buyers studying for the Court of Master Sommelier exams and came from all over the country including key markets for Oregon wine such as Chicago, Atlanta, Florida and Texas.
At the lunch, OWB education manager Bree Boskov MW gave a fifteen minute overview of Oregon’s diverse climates and geology through the lens of seven white wines of different varieties from the Willamette Valley, Southern Oregon and Columbia Gorge. Most of the wines that were showcased at the lunch received high scores at the TEXSOM International Wine Awards (read more about this below under Get Involved).
Each lunch guest received a folder with tech sheets on Oregon’s history and winegrowing regions and a Liberty water bottle with a map of Oregon’s 18 AVAs. All of the tech sheets can be downloaded from the Oregon Wine Resource Studio.
Guests had the opportunity to enter a raffle to win a Zalto decanter, which resulted in a collection of rich contact information for 90 attendees. OWB will continue to engage with this group of influential trade members by folding them into our trade marketing communications platforms, including the new trade newsletter.
After two years of TEXSOM volunteer lunch sponsorship, the OWB continues to find significant value in this event. Around 25% of lunch attendees were repeats from last year so it gave us an opportunity to reconnect with them and to make a new impression on the other 75% attendees who were newcomers. There seems to be a lot of value in the Saturday lunch especially because it is early on in the event and provides an opportunity to connect with volunteers while they’re fresh, as it can be an exhausting event for them to work with many late nights and early mornings.
Submit Wines to the TEXSOM International Wine Awards
In December 2017, the OWB issued a call for wines on behalf of TEXSOM International Wine Awards (TIWA). For the first time, the OWB offered complimentary shipping for any Oregon winery interested in submitting wines in hopes of increasing Oregon’s representation and the results were staggering. Many Oregon wines that scored well at the TIWA were featured at the conference and it prompted conference organizers to add a Southern Oregon session presented by Liz Thach to the education curriculum. OWB selected from the list of award-winning wines for the Volunteer Lunch.
Submitting your wines to the TIWA using the OWB’s complimentary free shipping program is the best way to expose your brand to TEXSOM trade influencers and to contribute to Oregon’s overall brand presence at the conference. Watch your email in October for details about the OWB’s TEXSOM International Wines Awards complimentary shipping program.
Sign Up for the Grand Tasting Waiting List
Another way for small to mid-sized winery to get involved at TEXSOM is to pour at the Grand Tasting on the last night of the conference. Oregon wineries Alexana, Rex Hill and Left Coast Cellars poured at the tasting this year. However, according to TEXSOM organizers, there is a substantial wait list of wineries who would like to get involved in the Grand Tasting. If you are interested in being added to the wait list you can email TEXSOM.
In Case You Missed It – Read more about OWB’s strategic partnership with TEXSOM:
2018 TEXSOM International Wine Awards Results
Act Now: Free Shipping for TEXSOM International Wine Awards
TEXSOM 2017 Sponsorship Recap
Announcing New Partnership With TEXSOM
Oregon Wins Big at 2017 TEXSOM International Wine Awards
Submit Wines for TEXSOM International Wine Awards by Jan. 31
TEXSOM Conference 2016 Recap – Las Colinas, Texas