Oenophiles from San Diego to Humboldt toasted the official start of California Wine Month yesterday. September is marked with a slew of events throughout the state celebrating our flourishing industry, including free winery tours and festivals like Sonoma Wine Country Weekend.
From leisurely hikes through the vineyards to five-course meals with special pairings, it's easy to forget that the California wine industry is more than just swirling and sipping. In fact, this here Golden State is the fourth largest producer of wine in the entire world, right alongside behemoths like Italy and France.
Our wine history dates back close to 250 years and has always served as an integral part of our economy, providing more than 300,000 jobs to Californians and pumping $51 billion in revenue throughout the state. The industry contributes an estimated $121 billion to the wider United States economy each year, providing 820,000 jobs and more than $25 billion in wages nationwide.
Wine also provides a significant boost for our small business economy. There are more than 3,000 wineries across the state, and most are family owned and operated.
And lest we forget the renowned chefs, like French Laundry's Thomas Keller, who call Napa and Sonoma home. Some 21 million tourists pour into California wine country each year, eager to taste our state's finest in both food and drink.
From travel to jobs to family business to plain old revenue, we have a lot to thank this thriving industry for. Show your gratitude (and have some fun) by checking out one of the many exciting events this month.