Family-owned wineries are popular tourist attractions in certain regions of the United States. These wine-producing vineyards host visitors for educational tours and wine tasting. Some locations offer overnight stays.
California accounts for two-thirds of all wine sold in the United States. Wine is the number one finished agricultural product in retail value in the state, which produces 90 percent of all U.S. wine production. California’s wine industry generated $34.1 billion in retail sales in the United States in 2016. Tourism directly related to California’s wine industry accounts for 23.6 million visitors and expenditures of $7.2 billion annually.
California has more than 4,600 bonded wineries. There are more than 11,400 wineries in the United States. The total retail value of California wine shipments to the U.S. was $34.1 billion in 2016, according to the Wine Institute.
Vineyard owners must adhere to state laws regarding the serving and selling of wine. Depending on the state, a license may be required to serve wine on the premises. A separate license is required to retail wine.
The Twenty First Amendment, which repealed Prohibition in 1933, granted states the right to control alcohol sales. A distribution system used in many states requires wine to be channeled through a wholesaler or a retailer before it is sold to a consumer. Since federal law governs interstate commerce, wineries and wholesalers claim the Constitution grants them a right to sell directly to consumers using phone sales or e-commerce.
The District of Columbia and 38 states are allowed limited interstate shipment of limited quantities of wine, and 12 states prohibit it. The U.S. Supreme Court in May 2005 handed down a decision on the constitutionality of discriminatory wine shipment laws. As a result, it is now unconstitutional for states to allow in-state wineries to ship wine to consumers without providing the same opportunity for out-of-state wineries.
- 301 Atlas of Wineries from around the world with major focus on California wineries.
- Agricultural Tourism Operation Fact Sheet, University of California Small Farm Center - Topics include business planning, customer relations, marketing tips and risk management.
- Alcohol Beverage Control Boards for the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, U.S. Department of the Treasury.
- Apple Hill Growers Association, Camino, California - This association of more than 50 ranches offers a variety of attractions including wineries, vineyards, orchards and Christmas tree farms.
- California Wine Touring Guides - This site provides California winery links by region.
- Fact Sheets and Statistics, The Wine Institute - The Institute represents more than 660 California wineries and affiliated businesses responsible for more than 80 percent of U.S. wine production.
- Economic Impact of New York Grapes, Grape Juice and Wine, 2012 - The New York Wine & Grape Foundation commissioned this study on the industry’s growth and economic impact.
- Insiders’ Guide to California Wine Country - This listing includes California wineries and suggested lodging.
- Long Island (NY) Wine Country - The Long Island Wine Council represents wine grape growers and producers with more than 3,000 acres of vines. It has more than 50 members.
- Michigan Wines - Michigan has more than 80 wineries that attract more than 1 million visitors annually.
- State Shipping Laws, Wine Institute - State-by-state listings on direct shipping laws and regulations.
- Wine Institute - The voice for California wine.