Oregon Wine Country: Mea Culpa—There’s Nothing to See Here
In a recent post here at Fermentation, I attempted to warn the Oregon wine industry that Portland’s tarnished reputation due to regular violent protests for the past year and a highly visible homelessness problem could impact visitation to the state’s wine country. It was pointed out (see comments on the post) that in writing this warning to the industry, I may have inadvertently added to the problem of the state’s wine industry being impacted by these circumstances. It was suggested that I was a poor advocate for the state’s wine industry.
Well, I hear you. I hear you in the comment section and I hear you in my email (“What the fuck are you trying to do?”). So, allow me to revise my previous comments and thoughts on this issue.
Oregon Wine Trade: Don’t worry about the impact on wine country tourism and visits to Portland due to some minor gatherings in the city’s streets and a few examples of new nylon housing popping up here and there. It just isn’t important and visitors can easily whiz right by the city after arriving at Portland International airport. Moreover, don’t listen to Jeff Miller, CEO of Travel Portland:
“Right now we don’t have conventions and not a lot of business travel. That is a mainstay for our downtown hotels,” Miller told KGW. But hoteliers say trash, tents, boarded-up windows and last summer’s unrest are keeping visitors away. Schweitzer said guests tell him so.
Miller doesn’t know what he’s talking about and he’s just being a Debbie Downer. And really, what do destination marketing pros know?
More importantly, there’s simple advice all potential travelers to Portland can take to make their stay here lovely indeed. For example, this piece of advice from Travel Portland should alleviate all concerns of potential visitors to the region:
While most of the demonstrations and violent incidents have occurred downtown near the Justice Center, demonstrations have also been held at other law enforcement buildings throughout the city. Similarly, most, but not all, of the violence has occurred late at night. Travel Portland urges all visitors to exercise caution and avoid areas where demonstrations are planned.
I say ignore the warnings, world. Come to Portland. Venture south and see the glories of Oregon wine country. You can zip right by Portland if you believe those liars in the media (“Death of a City: The Portland Story”). But most of all, ignore me. It was wrong and irrational of me—and certainly not very cheerleadery of me—to fall into the trap of considering the potential impact of silly national stories about Portland (“Endless Riots Turn Portland Into a City of ‘Mayhem’“).
Most importantly, Wine Trade, I was entirely wrong to suggest you should consider weighing in on and advocating for a civic response to the “Portland Problem” that these scurrilous national stories that nobody is reading or watching won’t provoke. Focus on putting the “call to action” in the right place in the emails urging folks to buy your wine online.
There’s nothing to see here. I was simply captured by the lies of the right-wing press.