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Update: Local wine industry adds $1.9 billion in economic benefit 

Editor’s note: this story is updated with the final release of a report “The Economic Impacts of the San Luis Obispo County and Paso Robles AVA Wine Industry”

Economic impact of Paso Robles wineries

Photo of L’Aventure Winery, courtesy of Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance.

Study shows wine industry accounts for 11.5-percent of SLO County jobs

Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance–A recent study shows the county’s wine industry provides an estimated $1.9 billion in regional economic activity, $194 million of revenue for the regional tourism industry, $924 million of total value added to the California gross state product, and 13,627 jobs to the California economy.

The numbers are especially impressive because the study is based on data from 2015 which was a difficult year for growers and wineries due to substantially lower grape yields. The information shows the tremendous impact of the wine industry on the regional economy. In 2015 alone, an estimated 1.56 million visits were made to wineries in the county.

Wine industry facts

Total Jobs 13,627
Wages Paid $388 Million
Percent of SLO County Jobs 11.5%
Winery Revenue from SLO County Wine $732 Million
Cases of Wine Produced 20.4 Million
Winegrape Bearing Acres 44,700
SLO County Wine Grape Crop Size 2015 127,367 Tons
Value of Winegrape Crop $297 Million
Total Tourism Visits to Wineries 1.56 Million
Tourism Expenditures $194 Million
Wine Related Tourism Percentage Demand for Hotel Accommodations 28%
Percentage of Gross Regional Product from San Luis Obispo County 6.5%
Total Property Tax Assessments to Vineyards and Wineries $44.8 Million (28% of total SLO Co.)
Total 2015 CA Sales Tax revenue collected from Vineyard and Wineries $54.9 Million (10% of total SLO Co.)


Porter, who has been with the wine alliance since 2011, says in her short time in the area she has seen first-hand the impact the wine industry has made on Paso Robles and heard some of the negative sentiments about the industry in terms of development and water.

“Hopefully the new research we have conducted will leave people better informed,” she said at the April 5 city council meeting while reviewing the draft report. “The 200-plus wineries in Paso Robles are 95-percent family owned, most producing small quantities of wine… 2,500 and 4,000 cases that are sold directly out of their tasting room. Most of the people, like me, came to the county and fell in love and are doing their best to preserve the agriculture which makes the area so special while making a living doing so.”

The alliance report looks at the benefits of the wine industry to the entire county. It found the wine industry represents 11.5-percent of the total San Luis Obispo County jobs. The Paso Robles area accounts for 87-percent of the county’s wine industry output. The Paso Robles viticultural area is a federally-designated boundary comprised of 612,000 acres, about 40,000 of which are planted with wine grapes.

Map of the Paso Robles AVAs

Map of the Paso Robles American viticultural areas from

The alliance hired the University of California Agriculture Issues Center based at UC Davis to conduct the report. “We decided to go with the university over a private research firm as we felt like they had a balanced perspective on numbers.. and gave credibility to the report,” she said. “The report would not have been complete without our many members, who had to complete an exhaustive survey as well as our tourism partners and SLO Agriculture Commissioners office.”

“When we decided to do this a year ago we didn’t know how the 2015 harvest would go, as most of you know this vintage wasn’t particularly kind to us,” she said. “The economic impact of the wine industry extends well beyond the direct industry output into supporting industries including tourism, and the study is meant to evaluate the full economic impact of the industry on the economy. In addition to direct employment the value of wine and wine grape production and net contribution of the wine industry the university measured indirect impacts through demand for wine barrels, corks, bottles, wine grape production and marketing and then induced impacts, wine related income allows consumption of other goods and services provided in the economy.”

The report is available





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