Oregon needs to stay focused on how to build its wine industry, in my humble opinion. Below is a conversation that went back and forth with a vintner. It’s always interesting to hear an objection, because it’s insightful.

What I saw from the objection is that some vintners would rather leave all marketing to the government to be the catalyst; which, of course, is an impossible request. Government agencies have much bigger fish to fry, than one, small single variety advocacy group. This group should work with the government, not try to replace it, from my experience of working with advocacy groups.

The Conversation


Jo:    Since 2007, the governor of the State of California has been pro-actively supporting California wines.   This includes California wine month and other such steps.

Has any Oregon governor gone public with a MAJOR campaign to support or industry?    My impression is that the entire state government is relatively inert about promoting our industry.    My statement also applies to Oregon tourism.   That is another area that is understated.

When you go out of state many people do not know about Oregon wines and the prospects of visiting great natural sites in our state.

Thus, it goes far beyond just Pinot Gris.



Dan, I hear you… I know that it goes far beyond just Pinot Gris.

It sounds like a great job for someone, to bridge the industry with your bureaucracy, and it might be a place for this group to start; however… the big “however”

The intent is to go far beyond what your government will or won’t do for you. In this instance, rather than trying to move an unmovable object, we’re just taking it to the people.

Just today, the seven who have bought into this project already have their names on the Internet, and it’s been blasted across the world:

Let’s just say that Robert Mondavi didn’t wait around for California to catch up with him. Napa Valley is known for seductive Cabs, because he just went to it, and the government and governor finally caught up with him… Our wine industry got started with the padres bringing in their mission wine, then the gold rush added to that… Our industry is a lot older than yours by a couple of hundred years, with your industry just hitting 50 years. Rome wasn’t built in a day… we all know it, so we’re forging ahead.

We want people in Oshkosh to think, “Hum… I feel like an Oregon Pinot Gris.” Once they get that, we can move on to even more things; but for now, we want people everywhere to think about Oregon as producing MORE than great Pinot Noir, and the best place to start is where there’s a decent supply… The rest of the varieties, bureaucracy, and government will follow, because it’s not cool if you don’t keep up with the Jones.

What a great Email you sent… Ariel Eberle, Assistant Winemaker at Yamhill Valley Vineyards just told me that she’s so excited to be in this group and to be learning from what I have to offer, because of my passion. She told me that people with passion get things done. She’s so right. This is such a fun endeavor… I don’t want to tackle the world, just one lovely project after another…

Be well, Jo

The Group:

 What Paul Gregutt has to say about the group on PaulGregutt.com:

Jo Diaz, on her Juicy Tales blog, announces the long-awaited follow-up to last summer’s Oregon Pinot Gris symposium, for which I was the keynote speaker. Diaz, certainly one of the most successful and savvy wine marketers on the west coast, is launching a group whose mission will be “to better define Pinot Gris in Oregon” (see previous posts in my blog for more on the symposium). The timing is expeditious, as Oregon Pinot Gris, which got off to a promising start 20 years ago, seems to have lost its way (with rare exceptions, notably King Estate).

Founding members of the group include Airlie, Christopher Bridge Cellars, David Hill, Oak Knoll, Pudding River, Terrapin Cellars and Yamhill Valley Vineyards. A good start – but shouldn’t some of the bigger wineries also be participating? Still time to jump on board (are you listening…. [named names] ?).

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