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Portland hosted annual statewide wine industry symposium

Grape growers, winemakers and just about everyone else in Oregon’s wine industry attended the Oregon Wine Industry Symposium (OWS), that recently took place in Portland. The event, coordinated by the Oregon Wine Board, brought people from across the state to learn, buy new products and services and solve problems in moderated sessions and discussion groups. The tradeshow, silent auction and evening dinner gave wine industry folks an opportunity to imbibe, shop, network and collaborate while together.

Tom Danowski of the Oregon Wine Board
Michele Francisco

With tracks that focused on Business, Viticulture and Enology, the informative sessions dealt with a wide variety of topics including; tasting room hospitality, a practical look at vineyard nutrition, chardonnay winemaking and a climatology report. These educational opportunities are important to the overall success of Oregon’s wine industry.

There are many new folks just joining the industry, some after finding their passions later in life, once they’ve spent time in the corporate world. And as the early wine pioneers age and pass the reins onto their children, multi-generational family businesses are becoming more common. This makes for a diverse group within the wine industry so bringing people together with a common goal of improving the wines they’re making is vital.

Says Kimberley Kramer, second generation winemaker at Kramer Vineyards: “We go to the OWS for the networking and the trade show. I also hope to learn from my colleagues during the winemaking sessions, and the technical tasting is always illuminating. This year, we brought most of our tasting room staff as well, and it was very educational for them.”

In order to retain and even improve the quality of Oregon’s wines, these winemakers and grape growers must keep up to date on the latest technologies and advancements in science. The Oregon Wine Symposium (OWS) invites experts in their fields to ensure that participants get the knowledge they need.

Michelle Kaufmann, the Oregon Wine Board Spokeswoman, had this to say:

“The Oregon Wine Symposium has its own committee made up of wine professionals and research scientists around the state who review attendee feedback and try to implement as much feedback as possible, balancing it with their understanding of broader issues affecting the wine industry as a whole when planning for the next Symposium. The committee also reviews new advancements in viticulture, enology and business practices and tries to find speakers and panelists that are thought leaders in a specific area of interest.”

Winemaking is an important part of Oregon’s past and future. The wine industry both directly and indirectly contributes more than $2.7 billion (latest figures from 2010) to the state economy. By organizing the annual Oregon Wine Symposium (OWS), the Oregon Wine Board is following their mission to support and advance the Oregon wine and wine grape industry. And with the assistance of many volunteers, that future is more secure, and tastes better, than ever before.