The number of wineries in the United States increased by 122 over last year, to reach a total of 6,223 as of November 2009, according to the Wine Business Monthly proprietary database. This total is made up of 5,304 bonded wineries and 919 “virtual wineries.”
In 2009, the number of bonded U.S. wineries saw the same net percentage increase (6 percent) as in 2008, a considerable slow-down from previous years of rapid growth: 10 percent in 2007 and 15 percent in 2006.
“We had explosive growth in past years; but if wineries grow 5 percent a year, that’s still pretty good growth,” said Bill Nelson, president of the U.S. wine trade association WineAmerica. “These are still big numbers. At 5 percent a year, the number of wineries doubles in 15 years.”
Canadian wineries have also grown overall this year, although not as rapidly as last year. Canada now has a total of 364 wineries, with British Columbia and Ontario home to the greatest number of wineries.
Bonded wineries are licensed by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax & Trade Bureau. A bonded winery is responsible for all of the production activities that take place on the bonded premises, including recordkeeping of all activities and filing reports to the TTB. The proprietor of a bonded winery incurs all expenses for all of the necessary winemaking equipment and premises.
A virtual winery is a winery that has a physical location (which may be at another winery), produces at least one brand and has its own management and winemaker. Since it is not bonded, a virtual winery will use the services of a bonded outside facility (winery or custom crush facility) to produce and bottle its wine. Bonded wineries often start out as virtual wineries, as the latter requires significantly less capital for land and equipment.
California is home to 49 percent of the total wineries in the U.S., a percentage that has remained consistent for the past four years. While wineries have existed in all 50 states for some time, 10 states each now have over 100 wineries. California continues its lead with 3,047 total wineries, followed in descending order by: Washington with a total of 564 wineries, Oregon with 453, New York with 229, Virginia with 163, Texas with 157, Pennsylvania 141, Ohio 120, Michigan 104 and North Carolina 101.
The findings are published in greater detail in the February 2010 Wine Business Monthly. Click here to subscribe and receive the February 2010 issue.