PORTLAND, 17. February 2021. – The Oregon Winegrowers Association (OWA) presented U.S. Senator Ron Wyden with the Oregon Wine Leadership Award at the association’s annual membership meeting. This award recognizes outstanding leadership in advancing Oregon’s wine industry through public policy initiatives.

The award was presented by Alex Sokol Blosser, president and co-chairman of OWA and winemaker of Sokol Blosser Winery in Dayton : Senator Wyden has consistently demonstrated his commitment to supporting Oregon’s national wine industry, which generates significant economic activity and employment in the state. We are pleased to express our appreciation for his tireless support of our farmers and winemakers, especially in 2021 and beyond, as we face strong headwinds.

Senator Wyden has a long history of supporting the Oregon wine industry. In December 2021, Congress approved permanent federal excise tax credits for wineries, first proposed by Senator Wyden in 2015, in recognition of the need to support artisanal businesses during difficult times. Nearly two-thirds of Congress co-sponsored the Beverage Modernization and Tax Reform Act. As chairman and deputy member of the Senate Finance Committee, he worked to modernize the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Board (ATT), reduce red tape, and ensure that the ATT meets the needs of the business community. Senator Wyden has called for emergency aid to help producers in the midst of the devastating 2020 wildfire season and has supported disaster funding in previous years. He worked to remove trade barriers so that American wines could compete in international markets and supported the funding of important Farm Bill programs.

I am honored to receive this leadership award from Oregon’s winemakers, who have created a world-class product that represents the best of small business and agriculture in Oregon, Wyden said. Working with our state’s grape growers on trade, taxes, fire exemptions and many other issues has always been a good example of how Oregon finds solutions that create good jobs. This is especially true for the past year, with all its health and economic challenges. Thanks to the Oregon Wine Growers Association for this award. I look forward to continuing our work in the days ahead.

After years of strong growth in 2020, Oregon’s wine-related economic activity has dropped by more than 20% to $5.7 billion due to the COWID-19 pandemic and a devastating wildfire season. The number of jobs associated with the presence of the wine industry in Oregon fell 28% to 28,782, with wages down 23%. The latest figures for 2019 show that Oregon now has 908 licensed wineries, with 1,297 wineries statewide.

About the Oregon Winemakers Association

The Oregon Winemakers Association promotes and protects the investments of its members. Through the strength of its statewide consensus, OWA is a key advocate for the health, growth and economic sustainability of Oregon’s wine and grape growing community. OWA is a leading and recognized organization representing all aspects of the wine industry in Oregon. For more information, see www.oregonwinegrowers.org.

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