My Opinion: San Diego’s Agricultural Economy Depends on Wine

This week marked Wine Week in San Diego County, which celebrated the significant contributions that local winegrowers have made to both our economy and lifestyle. As a member of the Congressional Wine Task Force, Representative Marie Waldron is committed to supporting the wine industry in San Diego to ensure that it remains an essential part of our agricultural industry and maintains its place as the 19th largest agricultural economy in the United States.

San Diego County has a long and established history in the wine industry, with California’s first vineyard planted in the region in 1769 by the Mission San Diego de Alcala monks. According to the San Diego County Winemaking Association, the total sales for county wineries in 2022 were $49.1 million, representing an 11% increase over 2021 and a new record sales high. In the last year, operating and planned wineries in San Diego have also increased to 166, nearly double the total number of wineries located in nearby Riverside County.

The employment rate for wineries in San Diego has also continued to grow, with a 6% increase last year alone. Despite challenges such as rising inflation, significantly higher fire insurance costs, and increasing interest rates, the wine industry in San Diego is thriving. Around 45% of wineries have reported their business has returned to normal levels following pandemic-related closures. Wineries and tasting rooms are spread across most of the county, and the entire region is located within the federally recognized South Coast America Viticultural Area, with two local viticultural areas located in the San Pascal Valley and the Ramona Valley.

San Diego County’s contributions are significant to California’s position as one of the nation’s leading agricultural states, with the wine industry playing a major role in this industry. California is the fourth-largest wine producing region in the world, with 95% of US wine exports coming from the state. The wine industry is crucial to both the state and local economy, and Representatives like Marie Waldron will continue to work to ensure that this industry prospers for years to come.

Marie Waldron, a Republican Representative from Valley Center, represents the 75th Congressional District, which includes parts of San Diego, the cities of Poway and Santee, as well as much of rural eastern and northern San Diego County.

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