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Report: San Diego County's Wine Industry Keeps Growing

November 16, 2017 1:13 p.m.

Report: San Diego County's Wine Industry Keeps Growing


Linda McWilliams, president, San Diego County Vintners Association and San Pasqual Winery and Tasting Room

Vince Vasquez, independent industry analyst

Related Story: Report: San Diego County's Wine Industry Keeps Growing


This is a rush transcript created by a contractor for KPBS to improve accessibility for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Please refer to the media file as the formal record of this interview. Opinions expressed by guests during interviews reflect the guest’s individual views and do not necessarily represent those of KPBS staff, members or its sponsors.

How is San Diego counties wine industry doing? Quite well, thank you. According to a new analysis. Finds the industry expanding and acreage crop value and retail cells generating an economic impact of more than $30 million. Joining me is Vince Vasquez. Linda McWilliams president of the Seneca County Association and co-owner and winemaker. What are the elements of the industry that you looked at to reach that $30 million overall economic impact figure?Earlier this summer I conducted a survey of all of the winery owners here in send Eagle County and ask them questions about the headcount that they have and the types of different work that their employees do and also sales and what the trends have been like for the past year. Overall I had found that the industry generated a $30.4 million regional economic impact in 700 total jobs that are here in the county for the fact that we have local wineries. I think one thing that was of interest was the fact that many of these wineries are brand-new. We have this injection of investment and interest a flourishing of the industry here for the fact that in 2010, there was a countywide ordinance that was passed.What are the factors that are driving the growth of the wine industry?I think one thing is consumer demand. Obviously, many people who enjoyed wine here in San Diego have taken trips to to macula and there's also the winery in Santa Barbara. There is a growing demand for a local experience.The adventure and the opportunity to learn new things. You start up is thinking about how I have a passion for wine. I should have a winery and then all of a sudden the reality strikes about how much it costs and how much work it actually is.This analysis is saying that sales have gone up 88% over the last year. Has sent Vizquel winery experienced that growth?We have experienced continual growth since we opened in 2009. We've seen good solid trajectory of growth.So is it fair to say that even with this significant growth you've calculated that the wine industry is still in its early days?I certainly would agree with that generally, but I don't think that is a negative thing. I will point to find large. The majority of the wineries have open within the last three or four years. At something that is an open opportunity to sort of establish what the reputation is here locally and what the experiences. There isn't that sort of exhaustion or support. I think it's a great thing and it's a great time to be a local winery here in the state of California.In this report points to 2010 ordinance. It's a main factor driving the growth of the local wine industry. Did that law change the way local wine is produced allowing wineries to bring graves from other regions and produce the wine here?That is a common practice across the state in different wine regions. The reason being because we so rely on mother nature and wine grape growing as farming. So we have a lot of obstacles and coming through with the final product at the end of season and when it comes to harvest.From what I understand, it takes time to establish reliable quality. Where would you see San Diego in that process?San Diego wineries have been around for quite some time. Even back to the 70s as I'm recalling just building on those winds and some little ones popping here in there. The quality at this point today is quite outstanding when you look at it. Even looking back three or four years ago, there were times you might have the possibility of finding a wine that was not up to par, but today I would sing it extremely hard to find a wine that is not up to par. Our wines are winning recognition and many medals in both international and national state local competitions. We have a lot to be proud of here.Doing this analysis, did you see any major challenges the industry might face down the road?Well, I think, certainly at this point with so many of the wineries being new, I think there is the issue of awareness here locally and also from tours. When many folks come here it is SeaWorld and peaches and these are the attractions. We do have the survey, we found there's 20% or so of the respondents that said 20 test 27% of the business he got was from Taurus. Branding awareness of local wineries here I think has to be something that needs to be elevated and I think there is support from the authority and others on that local level, but the more that folks here locally as well as from outside of the region know about the industry, I think you will see more business. Certainly I don't think the awareness is as high as some of these other attractions that we have here in San Diego.I been speaking with Vince Vasquez and Linda McWilliams, president of the San Diego county Association and a winemaker. Thank you very much.Thank you.