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San Diego winemakers could have record year

highland valley vineyards.jpg
Posted at 5:35 PM, Apr 21, 2022

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After seeing sales drop during the height of the pandemic, San Diego County's wine industry could be in for a record year.

A new report from the San Diego County Vintners Association says in 2021, county winemakers made $44.1 million worth of sales. That represents a nearly full rebound from the $37.1 million in sales in 2020, which made for a 20 percent drop off from a record 2019, when sales were $46.2 million.

Ray Schnorr, owner of Escondido's Highland Valley Vineyards and president of the Vintners Association, said so far 2022 is on pace to set a new record.

"If you drop out the pandemic and look at the overall trend, it's consistently been going up, and that's due to the number of new wineries that have been opening," he said, noting there are now 160 wineries in the county.

Still, local winemakers are now dealing with inflation at levels not seen in 40 years.

"The corks, the capsules and the labels are all maybe 5 to 10 percent higher than last year, but the glass is 50 percent higher, and all of the industry right now is feeling that," Schnorr said. "So you're going to see some pressures on pricing."

The report from the association also says like many fields, wineries are struggling to retain and attract workers. As such, Schnorr said many are now hiring.