Grape vines
Grape vines at the Monserate Winery in Fallbrook. Image from the winery’s Instagram page

This week was Wine Week in San Diego County, a celebration of the contributions our local vintners make to our economy and lifestyle.

As a member of the Assembly Select Committee on Wine, I do all I can to support this vital part of San Diego’s agricultural industry, sustaining San Diego County’s position as the 19th  largest farm economy in the United States. 

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San Diego County has a well-established history in the wine industry. The first vineyards in California were planted by the friars at Mission San Diego de Alcala in 1769.

According to the San Diego County Vintners Association, county wineries generated $49.1 million in gross sales in 2022, an 11% jump over 2021 and a new all-time high. San Diego’s operational and planned wineries rose to 166 last year, almost twice the total number of wineries in nearby Riverside County. Winery employment also continued to expand, growing by 6% last year.

Wineries are recovering from pandemic-induced shutdowns, with 45% reporting that business has returned to normal levels. Overall, our wine industry is flourishing, despite increasing challenges like rising inflation, dramatic increases in fire insurance costs, along with higher interest rates.

Wineries and tasting rooms are scattered throughout most of the county. The entire region lies within the federally recognized South Coast American Viticultural Area, with two local viticultural areas in the San Pasqual and Ramona Valleys.

San Diego County contributes greatly to California’s position as the nation’s leading agricultural state, and our wine industry plays a big part in that. California is the 4th largest wine producing region in the world, and 95% of the nation’s wine exports are from California.

The industry is vital to our state and regional economies, and I will continue my efforts to ensure our vineyards thrive.

Assemblymember Marie Waldron, a Republican from Valley Center, represents the 75th Assembly District, which includes the cities of Poway, Santee, portions of the City of San Diego, and most of rural eastern and northern San Diego County.