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North Carolina grape & wine business is booming

A recent study says North Carolina’s wine and grape industry continues to grow, posting a 15 percent increase since the last study was conducted two years ago. (Photo credit: MGN/skitterphoto)

A recent study says North Carolina’s wine and grape industry continues to grow, posting a 15 percent increase since the last study was conducted two years ago.

The total economic impact of the industry now is $1.97 billion.

“When you establish a vineyard in a community, you are physically and financially setting down roots in that community for the long haul,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Growth in the state’s wine industry represents long-term economic growth for rural North Carolina.”

The study was commissioned by the N.C. Wine and Grape Growers Council and conducted by Frank, Rimerman + Co. using data from 2016.

The firm also conducted the council’s 2009, 2013 and 2015 economic impact studies.

The most significant change in the reports is the increase in wine production.

Since 2013, North Carolina wineries have produced 96 percent more cases of wine, from 569,000 nine-liter cases to 1,115,000 cases.

The state also saw increases of more than 40 percent in wages paid to employees, retail value of wine sold, and taxes paid to federal, state and local governments.

The majority of N.C. wineries rely on sales at their tasting rooms or direct sales to restaurants and retail stores.

As such, tourism is a significant part of revenue for many of the state’s wineries. In 2016, an estimated 1.9 million people visited N.C. wineries.

Increased tourism was responsible for a 47 percent increase in tourism jobs from 2013 to 2016.

Visitors can find more information about winery events and plan a trip to a N.C. winery via the newly redesigned www.ncwine.org.

Highlights from the report:

  • $1.97 billion - Economic impact of the N.C. wine and grape industry
  • $319 million - Amount of wine-related tourism expenditures in 2013
  • 1,917,000 - Number of wine-related tourists in 2016
  • 1,115,000 - Number of cases of wine produced in the state
  • 10,296 - Number of full-time-equivalent jobs related to the industry
  • 2,300 - Number of grape-bearing acres in the state
  • 525 - Number of commercial grape growers in the state
  • 168 - Number of wineries in 2016. (Please note: The number post-study is 186 as of Sept. 1.)

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