Portland, OR, January 2, 2024 . . . The Oregon Wine Board has announced that Gina Bianco has accepted the role of executive director for the state wine agency and will start February 1, 2024. Bianco previously served as executive director of the Rogue Valley Vintners Association in Southern Oregon and was chosen out of a broad and diverse field of almost 100 candidates. Her distinctive experience in senior leadership, management adeptness and wine industry knowledge, especially in Oregon, stood out among candidates from all over the world.
Bianco brings her collaborative enterprising spirit and ability to grow highly functional, inclusive, innovative, resourceful, and inspired teams to the Oregon Wine Board. Starting at the helm of Rogue Valley Vintners (RVV) in 2020, her tenure began during the global pandemic and devastating wildfires which she helped Southern Oregon wineries navigate through. Also during her 3 ½ years at RVV, Bianco worked closely with the OWB Board and members of the wine industry to listen to their needs and challenges and build consensus and unity. Bianco came to Oregon armed with two decades of healthcare management, and her own consultancy where she successfully applied creative problem-solving and strong relationship-building.
“We recognize Gina’s high level of integrity, ethics and transparency, and her ability to encourage open communication among winegrowers and winemakers across our state,” said Oregon Wine Board Chair Dr. Greg Jones. “We felt Gina could come to OWB well-equipped with a positive track record and will serve our state well as we elevate Oregon wine’s profile. She’s an energetic and effective leader and can bring diverse groups together to discuss and resolve issues.”
The six-month search for a new executive director was led by a group of seven wine industry leaders, including four current OWB Directors, who accomplished identifying and hiring a new leader for the OWB by the start of 2024—a goal the Board set forth with the resignation of outgoing executive director Tom Danowski in June 2023.
Bianco will manage a staff of eight, oversee a budget of almost $2.5 million and will work to streamline communications between all winegrowing regions and more than 1,100 wineries and 1,400+ winegrowers across Oregon. She will continually be at the pulse of tourism trends and will put into place a plan to mitigate downturn effects. She will also steer the new strategic plan for 2025.
On her new role, Bianco said, “It is such an honor to have been selected to serve as the Oregon Wine Board’s executive director. I look forward to working with the Board to carry out the mission and establish a long-term vision that supports, represents, and celebrates the diversity and interests of the Oregon wine industry locally, nationally, and internationally. One of the priorities will be to engage Oregon’s winegrowers, winemakers, and regional associations in developing our 2025 strategic plan.”
Her fresh perspective will be critical as the state’s wine producers face changes in climate and weather, legislation, labeling laws, and a decline in tasting room tourism. “Gina’s knowledge of what makes Oregon wine special among wine reviewers and critics, tourists who tell their friends and family to visit Oregon, and wine lovers across the world, will have her hitting the ground running in this important role,” said Jones.
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About the Oregon Wine Board
The Oregon Wine Board is a semi-independent Oregon state agency managing marketing, research and education initiatives that support and advance 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. To learn more, visit industry.oregonwine.org.
Sarah Murdoch, Oregon Wine Board
Interim Director of Communications