Mail Tribune Article: Time to Toast our Wines

Rogue Valley wine lovers have a lot to celebrate every time they pop open a local vintage.

Locally produced wines may compare in quality with some of the better known regions of the world, but they’re still largely unknown outside of Oregon.

That may be about to change with help from a $50,000 Travel Oregon grant to create a brand for this region.

“We’ve had this organic brand that has shaped around us,” said Ashley Cates, vice president of Rogue Valley Vintners, which formed last year. “We want to take it to the next level and show the world our world-class wine region.”

Read the article.

March Newsletter


I want to first and foremost say thank you to all of our new members and the sub-committee who has reached out to many of you over the last few months. The success of RVV will be in large part due to our community of wineries uniting around common goals. Combined, we have the power to make a serious impact on wine tourism and the perception of this region. I would like to personally say thank you for helping to support our founding efforts.

It’s been a busy start to the year for the board of directors. Below is a summary of the tremendous work that has been done since the start of the year. With the momentum we’ve established thus far, 2019 stands to be a pivotal year in history for the wineries of the Rogue Valley.

– Ross Allen, Board President, 2Hawk Vineyard & Winery


The Strategic Plan is now complete and has been approved by the Board of Directors. We will be uploading the complete document on the website and will alert you once that is posted.


We have secured funding for the next stage of our planning – completing a branding and marketing plan. We have officially contracted with Lookout Marketing and Holly MacFee to complete those projects. The branding portion of Holly’s work will begin in April and is scheduled for completion by mid-May. The marketing plan will commence immediately following.

One of Holly’s recommendations was to work with Travel Southern Oregon on our similar marketing objectives. After detailed discussions between Travel Southern Oregon and RVV, we are very pleased to announce Bob Hackett joined the RVV board and will be the team leader for the branding portion of Holly’s contract.


The board selected and hired a grant writer in January. The grant application for Wine Country Plates was submitted on February 19. The grant amount requested is $50,000 and is for brand development and marketing. Presently, the initiation of the Lookout contract is being funded by our member dues. Thank you to all who promptly paid their dues and made this possible. By having member dues available, we are able to begin with Holly much sooner than otherwise would have been possible.


A sub-committee of the Board has begun working on understanding the “BHAG” as developed in the strategic plan. BHAG stands for Big Hairy Audacious Goal and is the term Scion Advisors uses to describe a measurable goal for our organization. We identified our measurable goal as raising awareness with visiting tourists about the wine industry.  In Q3 we will be working with individual wineries to measure actual performance within our wineries. This measurement technique involves wineries providing visitor data in and would be aggregated “in-house” using a blind methodology.


May 16             U of O presentation of market research survey

June 19           Annual Board Meeting – Presentation & social in the early evening. Location and time TBA.

2018 Accomplishments

We are excited to share with you the huge milestones the Rogue Valley Vintners achieved in 2018. The establishment of the Rogue Valley Vintners (RVV) represents a transformational development for the wine industry in Southern Oregon. It is a tangible and substantial effort to align with the goals of our regional destination management organization, Travel Medford, Travel Southern Oregon, and the statewide agency, Travel Oregon.

While you may not have “seen” many of the actions of this new, non-profit organization, the group has been working feverishly behind the scenes, since its start in March of 2018, to organize, craft and implement a strategic plan that will be revealed later this year.

A few of our 2018 Accomplishments

  • March: Organization and board of directors established with exclusive focus on Rogue Valley AVA wine tourism promotion
  • June: Funding sources established.
    • Asante—20K, partial in kind as office space and office intern
    • Expected first year membership 40-60 growers and wineries at $1000 each
    • Travel Southern Oregon—20K, long term partner
    • Travel Medford—10K, long term partner
    • Travel Ashland—10K, long term partner
    • Travel Grants Pass—5K, long term partner
    • Chambers from Grants Pass, Medford and Ashland—all long term partners
  • July: Presented organizational marketing goals with Holly Macfee at the Inn at the Commons to the local community. Hired Expert Strategist Deborah Steinthal from Scion Advisors to complete strategic planning process -$18,000
  • Sept-Oct: Helped facilitate a state-wide survey with researchers from University of Oregon (UO) Institute for Policy Research and Engagement to measure characteristics and behavior of wine-region tourism in the Rogue Valley. This project, supported by the Oregon Wine Board and Travel Oregon, is generating a consumer survey to profile past and prospective visitors to the Rogue Valley. It will provide marketing strategies for targeted growth within wine-related tourism as well as consumer impressions of our region. Results will be shared in Spring of 2019.
  • November-December: In depth analysis of UofO, RVV and OWB survey conducted by Full Glass Research. Completed extensive strategic planning sessions with board, wineries and industry partners. RVV Strategic Planning member Barbara Steele added to the Oregon Wine Board Strategic Planning Committee. Draft strategic plan completed and programs to support the plan are under development.

2019 Goals

  • Gain regional and national exposure through a coordinated brand identity and marketing plan crafted by one of Oregon’s top tourism marketing agencies – Holly Macfee from Lookout
  • Finalize the strategic plan with input from our membership to determine the specific programs that RVV will launch in 2019
  • Increase visitors to the area tasting rooms and supporting businesses
  • Have a voice in the direction and future of the industry statewide
  • Strive for 100% participation among wineries. Unity among the Rogue Valley AVA wineries creates strength
  • Implement a 2019 RVV launch guided by a finalized strategic plan and an official call for membership to the community at large
  • Recruitment of talent to support strategic initiatives and programs
  • Identify the organizational needs and set goals for a world class executive director
  • Identify and apply for available Grants to support the RVV 2019-20 budget.
  • Presentation by the team at UofO of an in-depth look at the results of the statement tourism survey to RVV membership