PORTLAND, June 25, 2021 — The Oregon Winegrowers Association partnered with Oregon State University to successfully secure $2.68 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to increase OSU’s capacity to test wine and winegrapes for smoke impacts during wildfire events and to conduct research into mitigation techniques. The funding comes in the waning days of the 2021 legislative session. There was stiff competition for these monies, with legislators submitting more than $30 billion in requests for a $2 billion allocation. The wine industry, in partnership with OSU, developed a strong proposal to address the need for Oregon growers and wineries to have a local testing option after OSU pivoted to be a resource during the devastating 2020 wildfire season.
“The Oregon Winegrowers Association was pivotal to helping secure the funds for our new Smoke Lab, and for helping to facilitate the strong relationship between the Oregon wine industry and Oregon State University,” said Dr. Alan Sams, OSU’s Dean of Agricultural Sciences.
This $2.68 million builds on other federal dollars secured by OWA in partnership with California and Washington winegrowers to enhance research into counteracting the detrimental impacts wildfire smoke can have on winegrapes. The coalition secured $2 million in 2019, $3.5 million in 2020, and is seeking $5 million in the current appropriations cycle. With these dollars, USDA’s Ag Research Service has set up an ongoing winegrape smoke mitigation research program and is allocating funding to researchers at OSU, UC Davis, and Washington State University. The additional monies for OSU’s lab will further enhance this critical research.
“The OWA is leading our industry’s advocacy efforts to secure support for research, lab testing capacity, disaster relief, and crop insurance to help our growers and wineries adapt to the growing threat posed by wildfires” said Alex Sokol Blosser, OWA President. “With the strong support of legislators at the state and federal level, we are building our capacity to respond to this challenging environment.”
About the Oregon Winegrowers Association
The Oregon Winegrowers Association advances and protects the investments of its members. Harnessing the power of statewide consensus, the OWA stands as a vital advocate for the health, growth and economic sustainability of Oregon’s wine grape growing and wine production community. The OWA is the established and premier advocacy organization representing all facets of the Oregon wine industry. Visit www.oregonwinegrowers.org for more information.