Award given in recognition of outstanding leadership in promoting the Oregon wine community through public policy initiatives
PORTLAND, January 11, 2018 — The Oregon Winegrowers Association (OWA) has presented Sen. Jackie Winters with the Oregon Wine Leadership Award during its annual meeting and legislative reception at the state capital the evening of Jan. 10. This is the first time this award has ever been presented and will continue to only be awarded to those that have taken a strong role in promoting, as well as advancing, the Oregon wine community.
Jim Bernau, founder and winemaker of Willamette Valley Vineyards, presented the award and said: “I have had a friendship with Jackie for over 40 years and have been a beneficiary of her help. All along the way she has solved problems within our industry. Senator Winters truly understands what we face as business owners and the issues we face in making our wine.”
Sen. Winters’ list of accomplishments and record of advocacy for the Oregon wine industry is lengthy. Despite a tough budget climate, Sen. Winters was instrumental in securing $500,000 for the Market Access and Research Investment Strategy (MARIS) project this past session. MARIS will support research initiatives and promotional programs to help family-owned wine businesses reach new customers. Sen. Winters was the chief sponsor, the first of its kind nationally, of the Oregon Wine Country license plate and worked to make sure that proceeds from plate sales go exclusively into wine and culinary tourism programs. Starting in 2010, Sen. Winters pushed the industry to come to a consensus on a new policy that governed commercial activities and events at wineries on EFU land. This ultimately led to passage of the current policy Senate Bill 841, which established new food service provisions intended to allow permitted use wineries to pair food with wine to enhance wine appreciation and to ensure responsible alcohol service.
The Oregon wine industry, generating more than $3.35 billion in statewide impact annually, is currently enjoying a buoyant year, seen in case sales up 10% and sales revenue up 12%, ending the fiscal year at $529 million in sales, according to Oregon Wine Board data released this past September.
Momentum across the state was also seen in the number of wineries increasing by more than 3% from 702 to 725 in 2016, equating to roughly two new wineries opening each month in Oregon. Another report highlight shows planted acreage rising from 28,034 in 2015 to a record 30,435 in 2016, and representing a jump of more than 8%, led by varieties including Chardonnay, Riesling and Pinot noir.
About the Oregon Winegrowers Association
The Oregon Winegrowers Association is the only statewide membership organization representing Oregon’s wineries and vineyards to decision-makers at the state and federal levels. The OWA stands as a vital advocate for the health, growth, and economic sustainability of Oregon’s wine grape growing and wine production community. Visit www.oregonwinegrowers.org for more information.