During his virtual symposium seminar, Rick Hilton of Oregon
State University discusses the Mealy bug, a major pest in vineyards.

Plugged In

2022 Oregon Wine Symposium

By OWP Staff

A pandemic can’t stop the demand for Oregon wine education. Thus was the story, once again, for the Oregon Wine Symposium (OWS), which recently held its annual event virtually for the second time in its 17-year history.

The meeting is shaped by industry volunteers, carefully evaluating and designing the curriculum around the most pressing issues of the Oregon wine trade. Driven by this input, along with qualitative feedback and marketplace trend analysis, the OWS, Feb. 15–17, provided more than 30 seminars and presentations by global and local wine experts to online attendees.

The 2022 OWS was organized in the familiar format of three distinct tracks: viticulture, enology and business.

In the viticulture track, “Drought in Oregon” presented perspectives on one of the most serious environmental issues faced by many in the industry. Dr. Alec Levin and Chad Vargas discussed the issue in depth, joined by Gregory Gambetta from Bordeaux. Gambetta explored how common maladies, like trunk disease and vine decline, are being linked to the effects of long-term water stress.

Also addressing water management, the enology track offered two critical seminars: “Winery Sustainability and Best Practices for Water Management in the Cellar” and “Diving Deep into Winery Water Usage and Treatment.”

The business track delivered several standout seminars, including “Benchmarking Oregon’s DTC Landscape.” The discussion explored how statewide Community Benchmark direct-to-consumer data can supply tasting rooms with opportunities for activating positive change and increasing channel growth. Regional associations also discussed insights they’ve gathered from benchmarking and what it has meant for their success.

Media relations presented back-to-back seminars: “PR 101: Inside PR and Communications Strategies” and “Building Your Media Relations Tool Kit: A Playbook for Successful PR and Communications Strategies” presented by Oregon wine PR veterans Kelli Matthews, Michelle Kauffman and Ryan Pennington.

Instead of a single keynote speaker, the 2022 OWS featured one each day, kicking off with Rob McMillan from Silicon Valley Bank, who returned to deliver the annual “State of the Industry” report (see an article detailing the report in this issue). As Oregon continues to be one of the hottest commodities in North American wine in the mergers and acquisitions (M&A) space, Kevin O’Brien of Zepponi & Company and Erik McLaughlin of METIS together covered “M&A Trends and Positioning for Sale.”

This year’s OWS also promised a double dose of Dr. Greg Jones of Abacela Winery, highlighting his much-anticipated “Climatology Report” and the “Vintage Report” in his keynotes. His work provided excellent educated glimpses into the future of Oregon wine by examining recent data.

The Oregon Winegrowers Association will host a separate, in-person Trade Show & Learning Experience to be held March 8–9 by the Oregon Winegrowers Association (OWA).

2022 Industry Awards


Julia Cattrall, winemaker at Ransom/Great Oregon Wine Co., presented the Founders Award to father Bill Cattrall and uncle Tom Cattrall of Cattrall Brothers Vineyard. She told stories of the family’s century farm in the Eola-Amity Hills and their love of organic farming and wine, spanning 50 years.

Lifetime Achievement

Two awards were bestowed upon close friends in the Lifestyle Achievement category to Maria Stuart and Maria Ponzi. Jeff Knapp, executive director of Visit McMinnville awarded Maria Stuart of R. Stuart & Co. Winery posthumously for her contributions to the industry. Stuart passed away in fall of 2021. Her husband, Rob Stuart, accepted the award. Alison Sokol Blosser presented the second award to Maria Ponzi of Ponzi Vineyards. Her life has been devoted to the wine industry and hospitality since she was a child. Ponzi paid homage to the mothers working in wine.

Outstanding Industry Leadership

Rachel Adams, founder of Assemblage Symposium, presented the Outstanding Industry Leadership award to Sofia Torres-McKay, founder of AHIVOY (Asociación Hispana de la Industria del Vino en Oregon y Comunidad) and co-owner of Cramoisi Vineyard. AHIVOY provides education and professional development opportunities to vineyard workers in the Oregon wine industry.

Vineyard Excellence

Two winners were presented with the award for Vineyard Excellence. Luisa Ponzi, winemaker at Ponzi Vineyards, awarded Miguel Ortiz of Laurelwood Vineyard Management. Ortiz’s work was singled out in the purchase of Ponzi Vineyards by Bollinger as maintaining meticulous vineyards. Javier Marin of JM Vinegrower in McMinnville, who founded his company in 2009, was also recognized for his excellence in viticulture. This was presented by viticulturist Ashley Lindsay, who talked about his planting and development of Shea Vineyard, a well-regarded site.

Industry Partner

Two Industry Partners were awarded with the coveted decanter presented by Dr. Greg Jones, wine climatologist and CEO of Abacela. Data scientist Robert Parker at the Institute for Policy Research and Engagement (IPRE) at the University of Oregon was awarded for his tireless study of the trends, growth and other factors within the local wine landscape. Presented by Jason Cole of Rogue Valley’s Pacific Crest Vineyard Services, the second award went to Rebecca Sweet-Smith of Buzz Cover Crop Seeds. She has had a lifelong study of plants, starting in the Sierra Nevada foothills.  

Legacy Leadership

Oregon wine pioneer David Adelsheim, founder of Adelsheim Vineyard, presented the Legacy Leadership Award to Harry Peterson-Nedry of Ribbon Ridge Winery and Ridgecrest Vineyards, and the founder of Chehalem Winery. The inaugural honor celebrates Peterson-Nedry’s 40 years of collaborative history in Oregon winemaking. Last year marked a milestone for Peterson-Nedry as he successfully won a decade-long battle to earn the EU recognition of the Willamette Valley as a winemaking region, only the second region in the U.S., behind Napa Valley, to receive such an honor.

Board Service

Oregon Wine Board chair Justin King of King Estate presented the Board Service Award to Bertony Faustin at Abbey Creek Vineyard and Hilda Jones of Abacela who served two terms; both ended in 2021. Faustin and Jones chose to donate the cost of the award to different charitable organizations.

Presentations and acceptance speeches can be found on

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