Created: Thu, 19 Dec 2013 04:54:00 MST
Updated: Thu, 19 Dec 2013 07:24:43 MST
GRAND JUNCTION,Colo. A new study released this month shows the wine industry is helping boost Colorado's economy.
The Colorado Wine Industry Development Board says the total economic impact from the wine industry has tripled to $144 million from the last time this was conducted in 2005.
"It helps maintain our agricultural base. It adds value when it produces the wine so it's actually considered a primary employer as well,” said Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Diane Schwenke.
Colorado wine sales produced $28 million this year compared to the $11 million in 2005.
"Wine is one of those industries frankly that we've seen continue on a steady growth pattern when we've seen a lot of other areas in our local economy declines," said Schwenke.
These numbers are mainly from tourists visiting the wineries in the Grand Valley.
"Their number two motivator for coming here is wine country. The number one motivator was vacation pleasures so I'm sure those go hand and hand. Their number one activity that they did of all the respondents was wine tasting or visiting the wineries,” said Grand Junction Visitor and Convention Beau Mistalynn Meyeraan.
Wine makers at Plum Creek Cellars have been producing premier wines in the valley since 1984 and they have seen the industry on the Western Slope grow.
"Our sales increased, definitely and by making it more of a destination site. More people are coming to this area staying in lodgings, eating in the restaurants around here visiting our small businesses so I think it impacts the entire economy here," said Plum Creek Cellars wine maker Jenne Baldwin-Eaton.
Officials say Colorado wine is even easier to access outside of the state making it great gift for the holidays.
"The state of Colorado enacted some legislation that made it easier for wine to be shipped and so with this holiday season number of our wineries here in the grand valley will ship wine to the states that will allow it,” said Schwenke.
Organizers say the number one weekend in tourism in the grand valley is the Colorado Mountain Wine Fest that happens in September.