A New Season for Oregon’s Wine Industry
In 2019, the Oregon wine industry had its most successful year on record, with retail and wholesale profits up 12% and 13% respectively. Despite only making up 1.2% of wines produced in the United States, and 0.15% of wine sold across the world, Oregon labels continue to give the state a reputation, accounting for 5% of Wine Spectator’s top 100 Global Wine List.
While the full impact of COVID-19 on Oregon’s wine industry is still being determined, recent data suggests Oregon wines continued to command a high price relative to competitors.
Due Oregon’s unique soil diversity, Oregon grapes have seen a 15% increase in sales to out-of-state vintners. Oregon Winemakers continue to pour record amounts of money into research and development.
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Despite suffering COVID-19 losses, there are plenty of bellwethers to believe Oregon wine will be quick to recover.
“Our onsite sales were down 30% in 2020, but offsite sales actually increased 1.5% from last year.”says Sarah Murdoch,director of communications for the Oregon Wine Board.
It may not seem like much, but growth by any metric during a year when most vineyards had to focus on cost-saving measures is welcome news for an industry beleaguered by a year of setbacks.
Murdoch says the biggest pandemic sting was felt in May of 2020, the annual celebration of Oregon Wine Month. Wine is a highly seasonal business, and typically the wine board organizes events and tastings throughout the month. The summer tasting room experience is not something able to be recreated online.
But over the holidays, when offsite wine sales are at their highest, some vintners have seen substantial growth.
“Online sales have been very important for us, and they have increased substantially, especially ” during our busiest months.” says José Cruz, winery sales ambassador for Willamette Valley Vineyards. Ordering online and over the phone had already become the bulk of the company’s sales. Over the holiday season, company sales more than doubled.