Washington’s wine industry is aging just fine
dec370970c-320wi” alt=”Chelan agriculture photo” />SUNDAY BLOG:
Washington wine is aging just fine. Earlier this week, the Washington State Wine Commission reported the results of a new economic impact study of the Washington wine industry which is the most comprehensive ever produced. It contains good news–very good news.
Washington wine is now an $8.6 billion annual business and across the nation, it is a $14.9 billion annual industry. These findings represent a substantial increase from a similar study conducted in 2007 that valued the industry at $3 billion in-state and $4.7 billion nationally.
Since 2005, the number of licensed wineries in Washington State has more than doubled from 360 to now well over 700. The state has also added more than 13,000 acres of vineyards during this time – from just over 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) in 2005 to more than 43,000 acres (17,000 hectares) today.
The study found
that the industry supports nearly 30,000 jobs in Washington State and more than 70,000 jobs nationally, with wages of wages of nearly $1.2 billion and over $2.8 billion, respectively. The industry generates more than $237 million in annual tax revenues to the state of Washington and pays nearly $1.4 billion annually in taxes across the country.
Each year, Washington State draws more than 2.4 million wine-related tourists who spend nearly $1.1 billion in communities throughout the state.
For the first time, this study also provides a snapshot of the industry’s economic impact at the county level. According to the report, King County, surrounding Seattle, has the largest concentration of wine-related activity – more than $3.3 billion annually. Other county totals include Benton County ($927 million annually), Yakima County ($527 million annually), and Walla Walla County ($502 million annually).
Marty Clubb is president of the Washington Wine Institute, a trade association of Washington State wineries. Clubb is the second-generation owner of L’Ecole N° 41, Lowden, and is one of many Association of Washington Business winery members. He said, “Washington wineries and growers have benefited greatly from the support of our public sector partners in creating a business and regulatory environment to support the growth of our industry.”
The Columbian editorialized: “The collective wisdom of Washington state’s wine producers can be crushed down to just a three-word inquiry: What economic recession? And here’s the best news: Imagine how Washington wineries could grow even more if and when a national economic recovery kicks in!”
The Columbian editors are spot on. This is welcome news for our state and
Don C. Brunell, President (DonB@awb.org)