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Oregon wine industry sees economic boom in 2017

September 25, 2018
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FILE - In this Aug. 25, 2015, file photo, winemaker Bertony Faustin cuts sucker branches in his vineyard in Portland, Ore. An annual study shows the Oregon wine industry had significant economic growth in 2017. (AP Photo/Don Ryan, file)

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — The Oregon wine industry had significant economic growth in 2017, according to a recent study.

The state added 92 vineyards and 44 wineries last year, according to the latest Oregon Vineyard and Winery Report.

An annual study by the University of Oregon Institute for Policy Research and Engagement credits the 10.5 percent growth to high demand and increased production, the Capital Press reported .

Overall production rose from 79,282 tons of wine grapes valued at $167.8 million in 2016, to 91,343 tons at $191.9 million in 2017. Willamette Valley Pinot noir remains the leading variety, accounting for 58 percent of acreage and 59 percent of production.

Total sales grew to more than $550 million in 2017, up nearly 4 percent over 2016.

Tom Danowski, executive director of the Oregon Wine Board, said the data shows Oregon is well positioned to compete in a fiercely competitive global wine market. “We continue to see the marketplace recognizing quality and Oregon delivering it more consistently across more grape varieties and growing regions than ever,” Danowski said in a statement.

The majority of Oregon wine grapes continue to come from the North Willamette Valley, a region that specializes in Pinot noir. Production did increase markedly for Chardonnay, which gained nearly 1,500 tons, and Syrah, which gained roughly 1,250 tons.

Sally Murdoch, a spokeswoman for the wine board, said Oregon winemakers have garnered a reputation for quality.

“People associate Oregon wine with consistently high quality, and they are showing us with their purchases they’re willing to pay for it,” Murdoch said. “Thanks to the hard work our winemakers do in hosting tastings and landing on wine lists all over the world, we have better exposure, and the more people who taste Oregon wine, the more fans we make.”

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Information from: Capital Press, http://www.capitalpress.com/washington

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