Last year was a record-breaking one for Oregon’s $430 million wine industry, according to a report released by the Oregon Wine Board. And 2015 could be even better, according to the wine board.
Overall production increased by 39 percent in 2014, to 78,000 tons, with the majority of the increase coming from higher yields, the board’s annual Oregon Vineyard and Winery Census Report said.
It was the third year in a row that the state’s wine industry has recorded double-digit gains in production, according to the report, which is compiled by the Southern Oregon University Research Center.
“Oregon wine enjoyed another headliner year across the board fueled by consumer demand,” wine board Chairwoman Ellen Brittan said in a prepared statement. “Market and sales trends continue to validate the growing acceptance of the exceptional quality wines being produced in all regions of the state.”
Sales of Oregon wine outpaced the growth in the U.S. wine industry as a whole last year, Brittan said, with sales of Oregon wine up by 7 percent compared to an industry average of 4 percent. Most Oregon wines are in the $12-a-bottle and up range, which is the fastest growing segment of the industry, she said.
So far this year, sales of Oregon wine are up about 11 percent compared to last year, the wine board said, citing figures from Nielsen, a global marketing research firm.
Other highlights of the vineyard and winery report include:
The number of vineyard operations in Oregon increased by 8 percent, to 1,027, in 2014 topping 1,000 for the first time.
Planted acreage increased by 14 percent from 2013, to 27,390
Total sales increased 14 percent, to $430 million in 2014.
Pinot noir is still by far the most popular grape, with 17,146 acres — 63 percent of the total acreage, This was up slightly from 2013, when there were 14,808 acres of pinot noir grapes, or 62 percent of the total acreage.
Pinot gris continues to be the second most popular, with 3,631 acres, or 13 percent of the total acreage
In-state sales of Oregon wine grew by 12 percent last year, national sales grew by 5 percent and international sales by 50 percent internationally.
Brittan said the increase in international sales shows that the industry’s expanded international marketing efforts over the past several years are paying off, particularly in Asia, Canada, the U.K. and the Scandinavian countries.
While the southern Willamette Valley lags behind the northern Willamette Valley and Rogue Valley in total production, the prices the local region commands for its pinot noir, pinot gris and white Riesling grapes are the highest in the state.