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The Importance of Winegrapes to California's Economy
California has a rich history of winegrape production, dating back to 1778 with the Spanish Missions. Today, the winegrape industry contributes to California's economy in diverse ways. It generates jobs, exports, tax revenues, tourism, and of course, outstanding wines. It is also the center of intense global competition that may seriously affect the future of these benefits.
The industry's future success will hinge on public and private policies that facilitate rather than impede responses to new competitive conditions.
- California's winegrape community had an economic impact of approximately $51.8 billion on the state in 2006. With over 100 distinct viticultural areas in the state, over 50 different varieties of winegrapes are grown to please every palate.
- Winegrapes are grown in 47 of California's 58 counties covering approximately 477,000 acres and ranking among the state's top 10 agricultural products. There are over 2,275 bonded wineries in the state, and most are family owned and operated.
- The wine industry collectively with allied industry generates nearly 309,000 jobs in California, paying wages that top $10.1 billion.
- Winegrape production enhances the environmental beauty of the state, preserves highly valued open spaces and rich agricultural heritage. It is an important attraction for the millions of people who visit California's wine country each year.
- California is one of the world's leading grape producers, accounting for 90 percent of U.S. production and more than 7 percent of global output - fourth largest after France, Italy and Spain. Wine making and other crush products are the dominant use for U.S. grapes. The balance is used for raisins, fresh markets, and canning.
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