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Industry affiliates call it a 'bright spot' during a challenging time for the global economy

Data recently released by the Oregon Wine Board (OWB) indicates consistent growth in the industry in 2019 — gains that continued through part of 2020 despite the recession. PMG FILE PHOTO - Data recently released by the Oregon Wine Board (OWB) indicates consistent growth in the industry in 2019 — gains that continued through part of 2020 despite the recession.

The annual Oregon Vineyard and Winery Report is optimistic — sales, revenue and production are up. Total planted acreage is incresing and French varietals are as popular as ever.

The report was published by the Institute for Policy Research and Engagement (IPRE) at the University of Oregon for the OWB. Records from Nielson Community Partner Network and Sovos Shipcompliant were incorporated into the report as well.

According to 12 months of data from Nielson, including over five months of recording during the pandemic, in-state wine sales are up 19% with an overall national retail sales growth of 12%.

Numbers from the IPRE reflect similar growth. Wholesale sales are up 13%, a leap of 1 million cases over a two-year period, and tasting-room sales are up 11% compared to 2018.

Records from Sovos show a steady increase in shipments; Oregon wine shipped directly to consumers rose by 9%.

Foreign demand for Oregon wine is also accelerating. Exports rose by 10% from 104,477 cases exported in 2018 to 115,434 in 2019. Canada continues to lead the market, buying 53,041 cases, an increase of 12% from the previous year.

Canadian sales accounted for 46% of Oregon's exports, followed by the United Kingdom with just over 11% and Japan with just under 10%.

"Many grape growers and winemakers benefited last year as Oregon wines filled distribution gaps and continued to sell. Retailers, restaurateurs and fine wine consumers all continue to recognize the exceptional quality and value propositions these wines represent," Oregon Wine Board President Tom Danowski said.

The overall value of grape production rose almost 14%, up to $237 million in 2019. The value of pinot noir, Oregon's signature varietal, rose from $135 million to $159 million in 2019.

The demand for Oregon wine, especially French varietals, is reflected in the increasing amount of planted acreage around the state. Oregon now has 908 wineries and 1,297 vineyards — total planted acreage increased by nearly 1,500 acres in 2019 from 35,972 to 37,399 acres.

Pinot noir accounted for 59% of all planted acreage and 58% of wine grape production. All five of the most planted varietals in Oregon are of French origin.

"It is especially encouraging to see consumer takeaway of Oregon wines trending ahead of the industry's growth averages since the pandemic disrupted restaurants and winery tasting rooms," Danowski said.


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