San Diego County Vintners Association Economic Impact of Wineries Report states 160 active wineries now in county as industry recovers from sales declines since 2019 due to COVID-19 pandemic

SAN DIEGO – April 13, 2022 – The San Diego County Vintners Association (SDCVA), a trade organization dedicated to supporting the winemaking community in San Diego County, released the 2022 San Diego County Economic Impact of Wineries report today. According to the report, county wineries realized about $44.1 million in gross sales last year, a 19% increase from 2020 but not yet reaching the local winery industry’s all-time-high of sales in 2019 ($46.2 million). The number of active wineries in San Diego County also rose to 160 in 2021.

About 1,370 acres of vines were harvested in the region last year, producing 3,073 tons of wine grapes with a production value of $5.2 million. These figures are down from pre-pandemic 2019 when San Diego County vineyards harvested 3,596 tons of wine grapes, generating a $5.58 million production value, with a sales price of $1,552 per ton, a record amount achieved in the region. About 81% of growers surveyed reported excellent to good harvest quality, the strongest seen since 2016.

The top three varietals produced in the county last year retain their rankings from prior years – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Sangiovese, respectively, with Grenache and Merlot tied for fourth, and Chardonnay and Petite Syrah tied for fifth. This is the first time that a white wine varietal has appeared in the top five for regional varietals.

“Our wine industry continues to make great strides, especially in North County. I was a big supporter of keeping wineries open during the pandemic to keep these small businesses afloat. Local wineries are thriving despite the last few years of uncertainty, creating jobs, attracting tourism, and providing an important cultural industry in the county. It’s impressive,” said San Diego County Supervisor Jim Desmond.

Written by Vince Vasquez, independent economic analyst and executive director of the Policycraft Institute, the report relies on wineries survey data, economic modeling software, California ABC licenses, and County records to calculate the economic health of the San Diego County wine industry.

“San Diego County is blessed to have outstanding wineries and dedicated vintners making a positive impact on our local economy. I am proud to represent many fantastic wineries in my district, whose exquisite grapes and exceptional service continue to put San Diego County on the map in the wine-making industry. By offering beautiful vineyards and delicious wines for all to enjoy, San Diego County’s wineries not only strengthen our economy, they build community,” says San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson.

The 160 active wineries in San Diego County today represent a 6% year-over-year increase. This figure is nearly twice the total number of wineries in neighboring Riverside County (87).

“San Diego County’s wine industry continues to make important contributions to our economy, history and culture. Our 200 year history of harvesting local grapes has promoted new job creation, amazing food, and entertainment venues as well as cultural amenities. As a member of the Assembly Select Committee on Wine, I am excited to advocate on behalf of our vibrant grape growing industry!” said California Assembly Member Marie Waldron.

San Diego wineries are optimistic about the industry’s growth, particularly as most COVID restrictions have been lifted in San Diego County.

“Like other industries, the county’s wine industry has been challenged the last few years. But this report demonstrates the resiliency of wineries and the interest in winemaking in our region with a 6% increase in winery openings in 2021,” said San Diego County Vintners Association President Ray Schnorr, co-owner of Highland Valley Vineyards in Escondido. “San Diego wineries and vineyards are harvesting higher quality grapes, creating award-winning wines, and expanding the ways in which people can enjoy wine with more outdoor patios and tasting experiences than ever before.”

Click here to access the full report. For more about San Diego County wines visit www.sandiegowineries.org.

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