Washington Wine Industry Worth $8.6 Billion, Study Finds

Jobs, size, and worth increase from 2006

A new study from the Washington Wine Commission found that Washington’s wine industry is worth $8.6 billion a year, according to The Bellingham Herald.

The second-largest wine producing state in the country, Washington nearly tripled its worth nationwide to $15 billion from $4.7 billion six years ago. The number of in-state jobs in the industry increased to 27,000 from 19,000 in 2006.

Ted Baseler, CEO of Cheateau Ste. Michelle Wines Estates, told The Bellingham Herald that although he is impressed with the numbers, he is concerned that grape supplies will not keep up with the increasing rate of consumption in the U.S.

Some other interesting bits of information gave on the study:

• Wineries contribute $5.5 million to charities each year.

• Nearly 30,000 people are employed directly and indirectly by the wine industry, accounting for nearly 1 percent of total employment in the state.

• As of 2010, Washington had 35,000 acres of vineyards that were of fruit-bearing age and 43,849 total acres of wine grapes.

• Walla Walla County has the most wineries, with 123. King County is number two, with 117, thanks primarily to Woodinville.

• In Benton County, more than 11 million gallons of wine are produced, accounting for 41.6 percent of the state's total. Grant County is number two with more than 6 million gallons.

• Thirty-three of Washington's 39 counties have at least one winery. Those without include Columbia, Ferry, Garfield, Pacific, Pend Oreille, and Wahkiakum counties.

— Wayne Stainrook, Snooth