Comment: Wine is becoming a 'major part’ of San Diego’s agricultural economy

Grape vines Montserrat Winery in Fallbrook. Image from the winery’s Instagram page

This week marks Wine Week in San Diego County, a celebration of the contributions our local tribes make to our economy and way of life.

As a member of the Legislative Select Committee on Wine, I do all I can to support this important part of San Diego’s agricultural industry, which sustains San Diego County’s position as the 19th largest farm economy in the United States.

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San Diego County has a well-established history in the wine industry. The first vineyards in California were planted by friars at Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769.

As stated therein San Diego County Vintners Association, county wineries will generate $49.1 million in total sales in 2022, an 11% improvement over 2021 and a new all-time high. San Diego’s operating and planned wineries rose to 166 last year, more than double the total number of wineries in nearby Riverside County. Winery employment also continues to expand, growing 6% last year.

Wineries are recovering from pandemic-induced shutdowns, with 45% reporting that business is back to normal. Overall, our wine industry is growing despite increasing challenges such as rising inflation, dramatic increases in fire insurance costs and high interest rates.

Wineries and tasting rooms are scattered throughout most of the county. The entire region is within the federally recognized area South Coast U.S. Viticultural RegionWith two local viticultural areas in the San Pascual and Ramona Valleys.

San Diego County contributes greatly to California’s status as the nation’s leading agricultural state, and our wine industry plays a large part in that. California is the 4th largest wine producing region in the world and 95% of the country’s wine exports come from California.

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This industry is vital to our state and regional economies, and I will continue my efforts to ensure our vineyards thrive.

member of legislative Assemby Mary WaldronA Republican from the Valley Center, he represents the 75th Assembly District, which includes Poway, Santee, parts of downtown San Diego and most of rural eastern and northern San Diego County.

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