Local wine industry adds $1.43 billion in economic benefit, study says

It’s interesting to see the economic impact of the wine industry - especially because the Wine Ambassador is creating the kind of community of wine lovers who are largely credited with the growing demand for wine. This article was written about one of the most gorgeous wine regions outside of the Napa Valley - Paso Robles. We hope this helps to expand your horizons, and piques your interest in all things wine!

Original article found on Paso Robles Daily News on May 18, 2016

Study shows wine industry accounts for 11-percent of San Luis Osbispo County economy

Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance: A recent study shows the county’s wine industry provides an estimated $1.43 billion in regional economic activity, $194 million of revenue for the regional tourism industry, $923 million of total value added to the California gross state product, and 12,195 jobs to the California economy. The numbers are especially impressive because the study is based on data from 2015 which was a difficult year for growers and wineries due to substantially lower grape yields. (Photo of L’Aventure Winery, courtesy of Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.)

In 2015, an estimated 1.56 million visits were made to wineries in the county. For every dollar of direct input, the San Luis Obispo County wineries create an additional .68 cents of output in the rest of the economy. This results in $81 million in tax revenue generated from wine, $43.3 million in local tax revenue.

The new information comes from the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance 2016 Economic Impact Study. It shows the tremendous impact of the wine industry on the regional economy. Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Executive Director Jennifer Porter recently presented a summary of the report to the Paso Robles City Council.

Wine industry facts
$1.43 billion in economic activity
$194 million in revenue for tourism industry
$923 million added to gross state product
12,195 jobs in the state
1.56 million winery visits
$81 million in total tax revenue
$43.3 million in local tax revenue
95-percent of wineries family owned

Porter, who has been with the wine alliance since 2011, says in her short time in the area she has seen first-hand the impact the wine industry has made on Paso Robles and heard some of the negative sentiments about the industry in terms of development and water.

“Hopefully the new research we have conducted will leave people better informed,” she said at the April 5 city council meeting while reviewing the draft report. “The 200-plus wineries in Paso Robles are 95-percent family owned, most producing small quantities of wine… 2,500 and 4,000 cases that are sold directly out of their tasting room. Most of the people, like me, came to the county and fell in love and are doing their best to preserve the agriculture which makes the area so special while making a living doing so.”


The alliance report looks at the benefits of the wine industry to the entire county. It found the wine industry represents 11-percent of the total San Luis Obispo County economy. The Paso Robles area accounts for 88-percent of the county’s wine industry. The Paso Robles viticultural area is a federally-designated boundary comprised of 612,000 acres, about 40,000 of which are planted with wine grapes.

(Image: Map of the Paso Robles American viticultural areas from pasowine.com.)

The alliance hired the University of California Agriculture Issues Centre based at UC Davis to conduct the report. “We decided to go with the university over a private research firm as we felt like they had a balanced perspective on numbers.. and gave credibility to the report,” she said. “The report would not have been complete without our many members, who had to complete an exhaustive survey as well as our tourism partners and SLO Agriculture Commissioners office.”

“When we decided to do this a year ago we didn’t know how the 2015 harvest would go, as most of you know this vintage wasn’t particularly kind to us,” she said. “The economic impact of the wine industry extends well beyond the direct industry output into supporting industries including tourism, and the study is meant to evaluate the full economic impact of the industry on the economy. In addition to direct employment the value of wine and wine grape production and net contribution of the wine industry the university measured indirect impacts through demand for wine barrels, corks, bottles, wine grape production and marketing and then induced impacts, wine related income allows consumption of other goods and services provided in the economy.”

The Paso Robles Wine Alliance did not return repeated requests to view the full report or provide further comment.

The Wine Ambassador looks forward to increasing your understanding and knowledge of everything going on the world of wine.