By Assemblymember Marie Waldron
Last week was Wine Week in San Diego County, a celebration of the contributions our local vintners make to our economy and lifestyle. As a member of the Assembly Select Committee on Wine, I do all I can to support this vital part of San Diego’s agricultural industry, sustaining San Diego County’s position as the 19th largest farm economy in the United States.
San Diego County has a well-established history in the wine industry. The first vineyards in California were planted by the Friars at Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769. In 2022, County wineries generated about $49.1 million in gross sales, which represented an 11% jump over 2021, a new all-time high. San Diego’s operational and planned wineries rose to 166 last year, almost twice the total number of wineries in nearby Riverside County. Winery employment also continued to expand, growing by 6% last year.
Wineries are recovering from pandemic-induced shutdowns, with 45% reporting that business has returned to normal levels.
Overall, our wine industry is flourishing, despite increasing challenges like rising inflation, dramatic increases in fire insurance costs, along with higher interest rates.
Wineries and tasting rooms are scattered throughout most of the county. The entire region lies within the federally recognized South Coast American Viticultural Area (AVA), with two local AVAs in the San Pasqual and Ramona Valleys. San Diego County contributes greatly to California’s position as the nation’s leading agricultural state, and our wine industry plays a big part in that. California is the 4th largest wine producing region in the world — 95% of the nation’s wine exports are from California.
The industry is vital to our state and regional economies, and I will continue my efforts to ensure our vineyards thrive.
To view the 2023 Economic Impact of Wineries Report, please visit: https://sandiegowineries.org/
Assemblymember Marie Waldron, R- Valley Center, represents the 75th Assembly District in the California Legislature.