Industries Hotels/Tourism

Study shows Virginia wine industry has growing impact

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A new economic impact study shows that Virginia’s wine industry contributes more than $1.37 billion annually to Virginia’s economy.

That figure represents an 82 percent increase from the last economic impact study, according to the governor’s office.

The 2015 Economic Impact Study of Wine and Wine Grapes on the Commonwealth of Virginia was conducted by Frank, Rimmerman + Co., an accounting and consulting firm specializing in the wine industry.

The latest study, commissioned by the Virginia Wine Board, was completed this month. It is the first Virginia wine industry impact study done since 2012.

From 2010 to 2015, the new study shows the number of wineries increased 35 percent, from 193 to 261. The number of full-time equivalent jobs at wineries and vineyards rose 73 percent, to 8,218. Wages from jobs at wineries and vineyards increased 87 percent, from $156 million, to $291 million.

Tourism to Virginia wineries also grew. The number of people visiting wineries grew by 39 percent, from 1.6 million visitors in 2010 to 2.25 million in 2015. At the same time, wine-related tourism spending grew from $131 million to $188 million, a 43 percent increase. The study attributes the growth of tourism to the growing number of wineries and the improving quality of Virginia wines.

The study also found that the number of grape-bearing acres in Virginia rose from 2,700 in 2010 to 3,300 in 2015, a 22 percent rise. Taxes paid to the state and to local governments grew to from $43 million to $94 million, a 118 percent increase.

Sales of Virginia wine reached a record high in fiscal year 2016 with more than 556,700 cases, or more than 6.6 million bottles, sold. This volume marks a sales increase of more than 6 percent over the previous fiscal year.

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