The Santa Barbara County wine industry had around a $1.7 billion economic impact in 2013, according to a recent study commissioned by the Santa Barbara Vintners Association.
Spending a weekend afternoon in downtown Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone or driving through the Santa Ynez foothills demonstrate the industry’s growth and wine’s popularity. Yet, St. Helena-based Stonehenge Research Group says the county could do even more to boost its impact.
In 2013, the wine industry employed more than 5,770 people in the county, drew around 860,000 winery visitors for the year, generated more than $86 million in state taxes and about $7.5 million in local taxes (primarily property taxes), and offered $2.4 million in charitable contributions. There are around 200 wineries in the county, the study notes.
But nearly half of the county’s grapes produced in 2014 travel outside of the region, resulting in a $1.17 billion secondary impact. If the county keeps 20 percent of those grapes within the area, that would generate $300 million for Santa Barbara County and create more than 1,200 jobs, according to Stonehenge Research Group.
“The county lacks adequate capacity in winemaking, bottling and storage, often because of county regulation,” the study reads.
The study used data from primary research, federal statistics and the Impact Analysis for Planning (IMPLAN) formula.
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