Today the San Diego County Vintners Association (SDCVA) released its economic impact report covering 2017. The report was written by independent economic analyst Vince Vasquez as an update to the 2016 analysis. Below is the executive summary and comments from SDCVA President Ed Embly and County Supervisor Dianne Jacob; you can read the full report here.
In 2017, we developed a comprehensive profile of the San Diego County wine industry. In an effort to build on this body of research and bring greater public awareness and insight into the growing industry, we have updated our analysis for 2018, using survey data, economic modeling software, and local, state and federal data sources.
Overall, we found that:
• Using economic modeling software, we found that San Diego wineries generated a $50 million economic impact in the region in 2017, a significant increase from 2016 figures ($30.4 million). We also found that industry jobs support 222 additional jobs in the region.
• Overall, we estimate that county wineries generated more than $26,134,100 in gross sales in 2017, a 9.4% increase from 2016 sales ($23,873,100).
• From evaluating historical winegrower license data from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), San Diego County is currently experiencing seven years of record growth. 2016 was an all-time high for new wineries opening in San Diego (26), followed closely behind by 2017 (23). Preliminary 2018 data shows this growth streak will be extended another year.
• Survey responses and county agricultural data identify the 2017 harvest season as measurably productive. More acres were harvested for wine grapes in San Diego County last year (1,210 acres) than ever before. In all, 2,783 tons of wine grapes were produced in the region, generating a total value of $3.85 million, an across-the-board increase compared to 2016.
• More survey respondents gave high satisfaction marks for the 2017 harvest yield and quality compared to the 2016 harvest. A large number of “average” yield responses (72%) given in 2016 shifted this year to “above average”, increasing the response rate from 8% to 46%, respectively. “Good” harvest quality responses (57% in 2016) shifted partly to “excellent” responses, increasing its share from 2016 (30% to 38%, respectively).
• Similar to our prior survey findings in San Diego County, we found that more than forty-five wine varietals were grown, cultivated, and/or sold in 2017. Among the top ten wine varietals reported by respondents, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah again tie for first place, with Merlot and Sangiovese following close behind. New varietals which emerged this year in the top ten list were Grenache, Tempranillo, and Mourvèdre, replacing Viognier, Petit Syrah & Sauvignon Blanc.
• Overall, winery jobs and wages grew in San Diego County in 2017. Based on survey responses, we project that total industry jobs in the region increased from 519 in 2016, to 557 in 2017. Most of the growth is due to a significant increase (26%) in hospitality and tasting room jobs.
• Comparing regional industry wages to benchmark regions in California, we find that San Diego winery wages have grown significantly (35%) since 2016, surpassing wages in Riverside County, and now matching average wages in Santa Barbara ($27,823 in 2016 to $37,544 in Q1 2018). We see this as a good sign of continued industry development, as well as growth.
• Once again, we asked survey respondents to rank the top five issues that are impediments to growth for their business. Identical to last year’s responses, the top #1 and #2 choices by respondents this year were “Permits/local regulation” and “labor costs,” respectively. It is worthwhile to note that “Permits/local regulation” received both the highest number of #1 rankings and #2 rankings from respondents.
“Our winemakers work hard throughout the year to produce diverse, high-quality wines, many of them award-winning, to showcase that San Diego County is becoming an important region for California wine production. Many are unaware that San Diego County was the first county to produce wines in California. This report shows the steady resurgence of San Diego County wine making and we are proud to see that the fruit of our labor is making a positive impact on the county’s economy.”
– San Diego County Vintners Association President Ed Embly, owner of Hungry Hawk Vineyards in Escondido.
“Our wine industry is going gangbusters right now and has emerged as a significant player in our local economy. I see a real can-do spirit among our vintners and the county will continue to do all it can to encourage this growth.”
– County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, whose district includes Ramona and other winery hotspots.