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Oregon wineries have a $5.61 billion impact on the state, according to a study by Full Glass Research

GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - Wine sales in Oregon topped $5.61 billion in 2016 according to a recent report by an industry group.

Oregon's wine industry has cultivated growth with a focus on higher-priced, high quality wines and recent numbers show that growth according to an economic impact study from Full Glass Research. The last study was conducted in 2013 and the figures show a 67 percent jump from a $3.35 billion industry three years ago to $5.61 billion in 2016.

The study reviewed 2016 figures from wholesale and retail sales of wine and related industries such as professional services, trucking and tourism.

When the numbers goes up, so does employment, when employment goes up, so does the wages. The total of wine-related jobs in Oregon totaled 29,738 in 2016, up from 17,099 in 2013, for a 74 percent jump. The wine industry was not the only one that benefited from the growth, as wages totaled more than $1 billion for the first time and the state garnered more than $155 million in added taxes, $15 million of that going to Yamhill County.

The market for Oregon wines is shifting with sales of $15-plus bottles of wine growing faster than those under $15 10 years ago.

"Continued success in this direct sales segment is vital for Oregon since consumers pay on average $39 per bottle," Oregon Wine Board Communications Manager Sarah Murdoch said in a press release.

In Yamhill County alone the wine industry brought in $687 million in revenue, $132 million more in wages and totaled 6,758 in related and indirect jobs.

The report also said that Oregon growers continue to achieve the highest average price per ton of grapes and realize the highest average revenues per case. Wine sales in the state increased from $816 million to just over $1 billion in 2016. Nationally, retail sales grew 2.1 percent a year ago while Oregon sales jumped by 17 percent.

"It's emblematic of the hard work our growers are putting in day in a day out that we see this growth," Murdoch said. "They don't cut corners. Most everything is crafted by hand, especially with our small to medium-sized producers, which make up the bulk of our state's wineries, and people who go to tasting rooms often are treated to talking with the winemakers working the land themselves."

The tertiary impact on the wine industry and Oregon is the increase in related tourism, which has nearly doubled since 2013. Wine tourists, among those called "leisure visitors," spend more than the average visitor, boosting hotel and restaurant revenues. Leisure visitors often stay in more posh hotels or resorts, go on guided tours and experience the local tourist attractions.

Oregon and its wineries have been increasing their spending on marketing and increasing their visibility and as a result increasing the consumer desire for Oregon's famous pinot noir varietal. Harvests of the state's top grape continues to grow at an average of 8 percent a year because of the demand. Consequently, Oregon has become a fierce competitor California and Italy.

"Positive reviews of Oregon's chardonnay and emerging regions (such as southern Oregon and the Columbia Gorge) are broadening Oregon's offerings and visibility in the market," Christian Miller of Full Glass wrote.

Wine grape acreage increased by 27 percent in three years and wineries crushed 42 percent more grapes. The total acreage of land planted in vines totals more than 6,480 acres in Oregon. In 2013, there was 605 wineries in Oregon, now 725 call the state home.

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