The wine industry in Oregon is thriving. Since 2000, the number of vineyards in Oregon has more than doubled, and the number of wineries has increased nearly six-fold. As the industry has grown, so too has recognition and accolades for Oregon’s wine. Although Oregon wines still account for only 1% of US domestic wine production, they made up 20% of Wine Spectator’s 90+ scores between 2015 and 2018.
The wine industry’s growth translates to a positive impact on Oregon’s economy, helping to uplift Oregon communities, particularly those in rural areas where much of Oregon’s grape growing and wine production occurs. Full Glass Research estimated that in 2016, Oregon’s wine industry contributed $5.6 billion to the state’s economy, supporting around 30,000 jobs that paid around $1 billion in wages.
Currently, we estimate that about one-quarter of Oregon’s wine sales are direct to consumer, but for many small-to mid-sized wineries, direct to consumer channels often account for a much higher proportion of sales. Tasting room purchases dominate as the venue for direct to consumer sales.
Given the importance of direct to consumer sales (particularly in the tasting room), coupled with the estimated $787 million that wine-related tourism contributes to the state’s economy, it has become increasingly important to understand the characteristics and motivations of Oregon’s winery visitors.