Oregon added 44 more wineries last year, with planted acreage and exports at all-time highs and sales volume up 16%, far outpacing the wine category’s national growth rate of 1.6%
The Oregon Wine Board released its Oregon Vineyard and Winery Report today, indicating significant gains within many areas of the state’s wine industry. The annual study, conducted by the University of Oregon’s Institute for Policy Research and Engagement (IPRE), found that 44 wineries were added to Oregon last year, compared to 24 added in 2016. Grape growers flourished too this past year, experiencing an increase from 1,056 to 1,144 vineyards in the state. The most striking growth was in emerging wine regions along Oregon’s northern border with 18 wineries added last year and the Rogue Valley with 13 more wineries nested in this AVA within Southern Oregon.
Researchers also found that sales swelled to $550 million in 2017, buoyed by increases in direct and wholesale sales, sending the numbers up almost 4% from the prior year’s $529 million in sales. Total value of the production of wine grapes increased 14% from $167 million to $192 million in 2017. The north Willamette Valley continues to lead the state with 73% of total tons crushed.
This year’s study showing growth in production echoes greater national demand for Oregon wine as reported by Nielsen. Retail wine sales of Oregon wine for the 52 weeks ending Aug. 11, 2018 rose 16%, compared to the wine category’s growth of 1.6% overall. Variety-wise, Oregon Chardonnay is trending up 10% in a flat segment and Oregon Pinot noir volume is up 17% in a segment that grew just 2%.
Over the past three years, planted acreage rose from 28,034 to 33,996 in 2017, representing a record jump of more than 17%. Increases in yields occurred with Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, Pinot blanc and Pinot noir; decreases in yields happened with varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot gris and Syrah.
On this growth, Oregon Wine Board Executive Director Tom Danowski said: “The global wine market is fiercely competitive and these data suggest Oregon is well-positioned with increasing supply generally balanced by surging consumer demand. We continue to see the marketplace recognizing quality and Oregon delivering it more consistently across more grape varieties and growing regions than ever.”
One of the charges of the Oregon Wine Board is to help stimulate interest in Oregon wines outside the state’s borders, and beyond domestic consumption, exports had a strong showing internationally last year with overall exports of 94,351 cases, returning to levels last seen in 2014. Canadians are the top international consumers of premium Oregon wines, with 49% of exported Oregon wine cases heading north. Japanese consumers bought 26% more Oregon wine than they did in 2016 with imports increasing from 6,592 to 8,952 cases in 2017. The U.K. consumed 10,047 cases of Oregon wine in 2017, as compared to 6,953 in 2016, a jump of 31%.