Research Study Examines Public Perception of California’s Wine-Producing Regions Results Show Residents Value Economic and Agricultural Contributions over Concerns


ROHNERT PARK, California – The Wine Business Institute (WBI) at Sonoma State University (SSU) today announced preliminary results of a study designed to examine Californians’ perceptions of the wine industry and its impact on quality of life in five of the state’s wine-producing regions. ​Results show the majority of residents in these areas view the industry in highly positive terms, citing benefits to the economy and quality of life. The survey was conducted as part of ongoing research to establish baseline data that informs industry, communities, and future policy decisions in the state of California.


“This study says that Californians value the business of wine, not only for economic reasons but because it enriches their lives in other ways.  As the leader in wine business research and education, examining such issues and sharing the results is a key part of our mission,” Dr. William S. Silver, Dean of Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics said.  “This study contributes to that ongoing effort and speaks to the importance of preparing wine business professionals to take leadership roles in a dynamic and evolving industry.”

Dr. David McCuan, Professor of Political Science, and Richard Hertz, Adjunct Faculty in Political Science and Principal of Hertz Research conducted the research. An online survey consisting of closed and open-ended questions was completed by 520 individuals across five California counties, including Lake, Napa, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, and Sonoma.

“This research indicates majorities of residents credit the wine industry with providing substantial economic vitality and improving their quality of life, while also expressing concerns about specific tradeoffs, such as traffic or congestion,” Professor David McCuan said.

For purpose of analysis, the data was consolidated into two wine regions, North Coast and Central Coast. ​Personal attitudes were assessed on topics related to the wine industry, including economic activity, agricultural heritage, rural aesthetic, and responsiveness to community concerns, among other considerations. Demographic information such as age, ethnicity, income, location, and education were also analyzed. ​​​

A summary of results, analysis, and detailed description of methodology are available on the School of Business and Economics website, and may be viewed here.

About Wine Business Institute

WBI is an education and research institute of the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University.  SSU is the first institution of higher learning in the U.S. to offer an undergraduate degree and advanced degrees focused on the business of wine, and the first school of business in the world to offer an executive-level wine degree.   With its unique location, outstanding faculty, and deep relationships in the world of wine, SSU and WBI attract current and future professionals from California and around the world.  They come to experience first-hand the expertise and wealth of connections among students, alumni and industry leaders.

For more information regarding the Wine Business Institute or Wine Spectator Learning Center, please contact (707) 664-3347 or For information regarding advanced degree programs in the School of Business and Economics, please call (707) 664-3501, or visit