he Washington State Wine Commission today announced the results of a new economic impact study of the Washington State wine industry – the most comprehensive such report ever produced – that values the industry at $8.6 billion annually in Washington State and $14.9 billion annually in the US.

These findings represent a substantial increase from a similar study conducted in 2007 that valued the industry at $3 billion in-state and $4.7 billion nationally.

Since 2005, the number of licensed wineries in Washington State has more than doubled from 360 to now well over 700. The state has also added more than 13,000 acres of vineyards during this time – from just over 30,000 acres (12,000 hectares) in 2005 to more than 43,000 acres (17,000 hectares) today.

Announcing the findings at a press conference in Seattle, Washington State Wine Commission executive director Steve Warner said, “We couldn’t be more pleased with the results of this study. This report shows that Washington State wine is a vibrant and thriving contributor to the regional and national economies.”

Kent Waliser, chairman of the Washington State Wine Commission, added, “This report would not have been possible without the tremendous collaboration from all facets of our industry. The Commission owes a debt of gratitude to all of our constituents and partner organizations for their steadfast support for the Commission and the industry.”

The study found that the industry supports nearly 30,000 jobs in Washington State and more than 70,000 jobs nationally, with wages of wages of nearly $1.2 billion and over $2.8 billion, respectively.

Speaking on behalf of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, the largest producer in the state, president and chief executive officer Ted Baseler said, “This report shows that the future is indeed very bright for Washington State as one of the marquee premium wine growing regions of the world.” He added, “Everything we do in Washington is about producing the highest quality wines.”

According to the study, the industry generates more than $237 million in annual tax revenues to the state of Washington and pays nearly $1.4 billion annually in taxes across the country.

Marty Clubb, president of the Washington Wine Institute, a trade association of Washington State wineries, said, “Washington wineries and growers have benefited greatly from the support of our public sector partners in creating a business and regulatory environment to support the growth of our industry.”

Lynne Chamberlain, chairwoman of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers, a trade association of Washington State vineyard owners, said, “We’ve all worked so hard to get our industry to the point where it is today, and it’s so gratifying to see the tangible results of all that hard work.”

Each year, Washington State draws more than 2.4 million wine-related tourists who spend nearly $1.1 billion in communities throughout the state, according to the study.

For the first time, this study also provides a snapshot of the industry’s economic impact at the county level. According to the report, King County, surrounding Seattle, has the largest concentration of wine-related activity – more than $3.3 billion annually. Other county totals include Benton County ($927 million annually), Yakima County ($527 million annually), and Walla Walla County ($502 million annually).

The complete study can be found at washingtonwine.org. Commissioned by the Washington State Wine Commission, the study was conducted by Stonebridge Research based in St. Helena, Calif.

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