Oregon’s commercial wine industry far outpaced the rest of the country in sales growth last year, setting several records in the process.
For the first time in its nearly 50-year history, the $2.7 billion industry exceeded the two million case mark, according to the 2011 Oregon Winery Census Report.
Total case sales, including the sale of bulk wine, reached 2.2 million, topping the prior record of 1.93 million set in 2010, according to the report produced by Southern Oregon University’s Southern Oregon Research Center.
The state’s 463 wineries — up from 419 in 2010 — saw overall sales increase by 9 percent in both volume and revenue. That makes 2011 the biggest single year in the industry’s history.
That figure also far outpaced both the 2 percent growth rate for wine sales nationally last year and the 5.6 percent growth posted by the country’s largest wine-producing state, California.
“This report contains nothing but good news for the Oregon wine industry,” said Michael Donovan, director of national sales for RoxyAnn Winery in Medford andOregon Wine Board chairman. “It shows that not only is the industry growing, but we’re growing in the right way with a laser focus on quality and without sacrificing our artisan winemaking roots.”
The number of wineries grew in all five of the state’s primary wine-producing regions, but rose fastest along the Columbia River east of Portland. The 30 wineries operating there in 2010 nearly doubled to 59 last year, according to the report.
In terms of production, the 2011 results benefited from a record harvest of 42,033 tons.
That tonnage, produced on total vineyard acreage exceeding 20,000 for the first time, helped boost activity at custom crush facilities by 65 percent from 2010. Custom crush operations process grapes for smaller vintners who are unable to own and staff their own wineries.