Report Uncorks $10B In Statewide Losses For Coronavirus-Hampered Wine Industry

A worker empties a bin of freshly picked cabernet sauvignon wine grapes at the Stags' Leap Winery September 27, 2004 in Napa, California.
Photo credit Justin Sullivan/ Getty Images
By KCBS All News 106.9FM and 740AM

A new report looks at just how dramatic COVID-19’s impact has been on California’s wine industry and how the virus outbreak damaged the state’s overall economy.

The study by Sonoma State University’s Wine Business Institute looked to gauge the ripple effect of a hurting wine industry on the state, estimating the total hit to the California’s economy at almost $10 billion because of the pandemic, with thousands of jobs in the business itself lost. 

There are obvious connections like restaurants and retail, but according to Sonoma State University Wine Business Institute Executive Director Ray Johnson, the economic impacts of the wine industry go even further.

"But then there are additional linkages with all of the people who help supply what makes that happen, it’s a long value chain," Johnson told KCBS Radio. "People who supply the vineyard products that will go in, the posts, the stakes and the trellising."

The report finds direct job cuts to the industry at over 16,000 and a loss of $586 million in state and local taxes in 2020.

Johnson believes the numbers could have been worse if not for the industry’s quick pivot to online retail, which saw increases.

"So we’ve seen gains on the retail side and that helped offset some of the losses on the restaurant side," Johnson said.

The wine industry alone is projected to lose some $4 billion in revenues.

See the full report here.