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WineAmerica: Touting the Wine Economy

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It’s “All hands on deck” to protect our industry.

By Jim Trezise

 

“It’s the economy, stupid!”

That was the brief, blunt messaging behind Bill Clinton’s first presidential run, as articulated by political consultant James Carville, known as the “Ragin’ Cajun” and still active today.

Wine is a beverage, but it’s also an economy. From vine to glass, the wine economy provided 1.84 million jobs, $95.5 billion in wages and $276 billion in total impact on the American economy in 2022.

Today, the wine economy is our best protection as we enter a challenging new era. We need to tout our worth, and WineAmerica already has the content for you to share.

Embracing the challenge

In the 42 years I’ve been in the wine industry, I’ve seen many challenges, but never four major ones all at once: generational shifts, increased competition, climate change and excise tax increases proposed by various groups. The first two require better marketing, while the latter two involve public policy and the people who shape it.

Wine is different things to different people. Consumers enjoy aroma, bouquet and taste. Legislators are interested in jobs, wages and growth.

Wine is an economic engine, the ultimate value-added product from vine to glass, which is produced and consumed (and taxed) in all 50 states. In 2022, the wine industry boosted the American economy by more than $276 billion, including:

  • 10,637 wine producers
  • 1.84 million jobs
  • $95.49 billion annual wages
  • 49.18 million tourist visits
  • $16.69 tourist expenditures
  • $22.83 billion total taxes
  • $14/67 billion federal taxes
  • $8.15 billion state & local taxes

Amazingly, despite the COVID-19 era, wine’s value to the economy grew by 25% (from $220 billion) in the five years since WineAmerica’s first study in 2017. Both were conducted by John Dunham & Associates, a highly respected economics research firm specializing in public policy areas.

Wine’s economic benefits come in three areas: Direct (production, distribution and consumption); Supplier (goods and services supporting the industry); and Induced (expenses in local businesses and communities). The detail below is the raw data.

Legislators and their staff don’t have time to make sense of all those numbers, so we’ve made it easy for them to understand with the press release below.

And if they want a real quick view, here’s a handy infographic we created.

WineAmerica is the national association of American wineries, with winery, association and supplier members from 45 states — which adds up to 90 U.S. Senators, including several in key leadership positions. We also have relationships with many key House members, and work closely with the bipartisan Congressional Wine Caucus, co-chaired by Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WA).

State stats

Given our status as a national organization, we insisted that our economic impact study includes the same detailed information for all 50 states. After all, much of the legislation and regulation governing the wine industry occurs on the state level. These data are available to everyone, not just WineAmerica members.

So to get the three documents for your state, just go to this link, download them, embed them in your own computer, and pass them on to your local, state and federal policy makers. We at WineAmerica have shared these widely, and they’re on our website, but they’re much more meaningful coming from you, the constituent.

We encourage you to send these state documents to both of your U.S. Senators, your member of Congress, Governor, state legislative leaders, Mayor and County Executive, chamber of commerce and tourism agency, and anyone else you think may have sway. Don’t wait until there’s a crisis, when they won’t have time to pay attention; do it now, so they’ll have the knowledge they need in advance.

The Magic of Wine

Since January 1, WineAmerica has also shared another resource for industry members to use freely: “The Magic of Wine.”

This new section on our website highlights some of the unique aspects of wine as an agricultural product, economic force, global elixir, liquid food, family bond, poetic inspiration and unique cultural phenomenon for millennia.

Like all the economic impact information, as well as a special “Compliance Matters” section, this is available to anyone who wishes to spread the word about what makes wine the beverage which brings us all together.

Diversity is our Strength. Unity is our Power.

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Jim Trezise

Jim Trezise is president of WineAmerica (WA), the only national wine industry association in the United States. WA is a 500-member strong organization that encourages the growth and development of American wineries and winegrowing through the advancement and advocacy of sound public policy. Membership is encouraged to support the important work of WA, which benefits all U.S. wineries. Go to https://wineamerica.org/ for more information.

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