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NorCal Wine Blog

How Big is the California Wine Industry?

5b2506136128c311ea6f0b660e807af7California Governor Jerry Brown has declared September, 2011 California Wine Month. There are a lot of reasons for California to raise a glass to its wine industry all month long. Deliciousness is a good one.

However, when you’re selling a Governor on making a proclamation, “Because it’s yummy,” is not a sufficient argument. Governors like facts and numbers and revenue. Fortunately, the California wine industry has a lot of those.

Here are three of the statistics Governor Jerry Brown’s proclamation cites:

  • Retail sales revenue of $18.4 billion
  • 330,000 jobs in California
  • 20.7 million tourists attracted

Those numbers sound pretty good. But, in the abstract, it’s hard to really understand their significance. I’ve tried to put the numbers into perspective by comparing them to others.

Compare retail sales of $18.4 billion to:

  • The entire GDP of Paraguay: $18.5 billion1
  • 2010 U.S. movie box office revenue: $10.6 billion2

Compare 330,000 jobs to:

  • The total combined employees of Adobe, Amazon, Apple, eBay, Google, Intel, Microsoft and Yahoo!: 326,5003
  • The population of St. Louis, Missouri: 319,2944

Compare 20.7 million tourists to:

  • The combined populations of New York state (19.4 million) and New Hampshire (1.3 million)5
  • The combined populations of Belgium (10.9 million) and Sweden (9.4 million)6
  • Total 2007 visitors to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Florida: 17 million7
  • Total 2010 attendance for NFL games: 16.4 million8
  • Total airline passengers served by San Francisco International Airport: 18.5 million9

If you liked this article, you may also be interested in these:
Fun Facts about California Cabernet Sauvignon
Become a Certified California Wine Appellation Specialist


1 The World Bank: World Development Indicators database. World Bank. 1 July 2011.
2 MPAA: Theatrical Market Statistics 2010
3 "Apple Employees Most Productive Each Works Out to 420000 in Yearly Profits"
4 Wikipedia: List of United States cities by population
5 GDP by state
6 Wikipedia: List of countries by population
7 Disney Theme Park Attendance - The Numbers Game
8 ESPN: NFL attendance - 2010
9 Wikipedia: Busiest airports in the US by total passenger boardings

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. CA Wine Month logo property of California Wine Month/Wine Institute. All rights reserved.


#1 Mary 2011-09-24 23:15
This is fabulous. You really helped me get my mind around the numbers. I was prepared to not really understand but your illustrations were great. I really love that wine tourists beat # of movie goers!!!

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