Great Grapes Growing Exports

Portland already has a well-established reputation as ‘beervana’ for its microbreweries, foodie paradise for its restaurants and a coffee culture for its many roasters and coffeehouses. Now, Oregon is fast establishing a reputation as a world class wine producing region. This was reflected in a recent shipment through the Port of Portland.

Oregon’s largest ever export shipment of wine left through Terminal 6 in mid-February, according to the Wine Julia blog.  Bound for South Korea were 2,200 cases of Oregon Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from four local wineries – Domaine Drouhin, Lange Estate Winery, Union Wine Company and Willakenzie Estate. This totaled about 27,000 bottles, filling two 40-foot containers.

The story doesn’t end there. Oregon is ranked fourth in the nation for agricultural production of wine grapes, with the most harvested in Yamhill, Polk, Umatilla, Jackson and Washington counties. According to the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Oregon wine grape production rose 33 percent in 2011, to a record high 41,500 tons on 17,500 harvested acres.

It would appear that the growth trend will continue, as the state’s wine industry has outpaced the economy over the past two decades. Nationally, wine exports have grown over the past three consecutive years to more than 112 million cases and $1.4 billion in revenue.

As a rapidly growing middle class in Asian markets develops a taste for Oregon wines, the state is poised to benefit greatly through exports. In 2010, Full Glass Research estimated that over $2.7 billion in economic activity and 13,518 jobs in Oregon are related directly or indirectly to wine. Like grapes on the vine, those numbers are poised to grow.