Oregon Wine Industry Has Been Hit Hard By COVID Pandemic

Like most other commodities, the Oregon wine industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the required shutdowns. At February’s Oregon Wine Symposium, Dr. Robert Eyler talked about the strong economic growth the Oregon wine industry enjoyed between 2016 and 2019, and how a nearly 21% drop in sales in 2020 dramatically hurt growers, wine makers and everyone in between. He estimated the total value of the Oregon wine industry fell from roughly $7.2 billion annually, to $5.7 billion last year.

“So, in some ways, we almost gave back everything that happened from 2016 in 2020 in our initial estimation. Business revenue is down to about $4.6-billion, employment down about 28,000 jobs, which is slightly higher than the 2016 levels, and wages down about $1.16-billion.”

Eyler said unfortunately, those numbers are not shocking.

“Those losses and those reductions are things that we kind of knew were there. This at least puts a framing around where most of the pain happened, and those shifting retail markets helped and also hurt. So, this is basically where we see it as of about four or five weeks ago, and those data are still emerging in terms of what the true effects will be, not only now, but looking a couple of years ahead.”

Eyler says other factors, such as last summer’s wildfires, also had a big impact on the wine industry.

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