Recently, the Oregon Department of Agriculture offered a feature in its quarterly update that looked at the state's wine industry. The feature showed that there's a lot of passion in the business, but in 50-plus years, the key has been getting the story out about the product.
It turns out that the effort is working, though far from finished. In the feature, written by Bruce Pokarney of the ODA staff, there was talk from pioneers in the state's wine business who have carved a new niche in a state many thought wasn't suitable for winegrape or wine production. Today, the state is known for its pinot noir production; in fact, however, Oregon produces many types of wine. Take a look at five key statistics about the state's wine industry, and check out the links at the end of this article for more information.
1. Big growth. Since 2000 the number of wineries has risen from 139 to 725, and the number of vineyards has risen from 408 to 1,056.
2. Artisan focus. Seventy percent of Oregon wineries produce fewer than 5,000 cases per year.
3. Small share, big footprint. The state has 1.2% of the U.S. market share for wine, but the state's share of Wine Spectator magazine's wines scoring 90-plus points is 20%.
4. Significant impact. Pokarny points out that the state's wine industry employs 17,000 people and has a $3.3 billion economic impact annually. In fact, sales rose to $529 million in 2016, and they continue to grow.
5. Sustainable approach. Nearly half of the vineyards in Oregon (47%) are certified sustainable in their practices.
For an industry that many thought would fail more than 50 years ago — when the first wine pioneers headed into the state — to a business that's grown nearly sixfold in the past 16 years, Oregon is making its own mark on the wine industry. But growing the industry has become the work of the state's wine evangelists, who tell the story and reach out into new markets — both here and abroad — to build their business.
Growth for Oregon wineries and vineyards continues. You can see key statistics about the business and learn more about Oregon wines by visiting the Oregon Wine Resource Studio at trade.oregonwine.org Read the ODA feature about the state's industry, written by Bruce Pokarney, where you'll also a range of stories about the state's ag industry.
Sources: Oregon Department of Agriculture, Oregon Wine Board