Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Who's #5 - Trying to Unscramble State Wine Production Statistics

Recently I read an article titled Pa. wine production ranks 5th in the nation, which surprising since for the past few years I was under the impression that either Virginia or Texas ranked 5th - both behind the usual suspects: California, Washington, Oregon, and New York. The article did not site any data to support their claim, and no response from author Karissa Shatzer, so I decided to research myself. There are basically two appropriate sources of data, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), which regulates the wine industry at the Federal level, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service, which, as their name implies, collects agricultural data.  We could also use  unofficial data from for ranking states by the number of wineries operating in each state (Figure 1).  In this scenario, the figures aligned to conventional wisdom (at least mine) with Virginia and Texas competing for #5. 
State  Wineries

California 2,667
Washington 556
Oregon 475
New York 311
Virginia 241
Texas 234
Pennsylvania 203
Ohio 141
Missouri 134
Michigan 128
Figure 1. Number of wineries operating by state - includes meaderies and cideries

However, I don't think was the source that Ms. Shatzer used. She stated 5th largest wine producer and the best source for that data is the TTB's Statistical Report by State - Wine. (See Figure 2.) The data for 2012 reveals some mighty unexpected results. New York leaps out as the #2 overall wine producer - perhaps a legacy of Canandaigua Brands. (Is Manischewitz that popular?) In any case, besides New York overtaking Washington, the other surprises are the unlikely inclusion of Vermont, Kentucky, Florida, and New Jersey. The TTB data includes cider production which most likely accounts for Vermont's high stature as well as non-grape fruit wine (New Jersey) - but how that explains Kentucky and Florida - I have no idea. According to the TTB, Pennsylvania is the 6th largest wine producer with Virginia (16th) and Texas (11th) out of the top 10. 
State  2012 Production

California 667,552,032
New York 26,404,066
Washington 24,506,226
Oregon 6,829,808
Vermont 4,205,258
Pennsylvania 3,589,603
Ohio 3,048,054
Kentucky 2,379,512
Florida 1,946,162
New Jersey 1,561,365
Figure 2. Top 10 Wine Production by State
I mentioned that the TTB data includes cider and wine made from non-grape fruit, so what about limiting the data to just grape wine production. For this type of data, we need the National Agricultural Statistics Service and their Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts 2012 Preliminary Summary. The first chart I noticed was on page 48 titled Grape Bearing Acreage, Yield, Production, Price, and Value - States and United States: 2010-2012 data (Figure 3).  Displaying the top ten shows Pennsylvania and Michigan high on the list at the expense of Oregon, Texas, and Virginia. Now, this data includes all grapes, whether used for wine, table, or raisins; and thus needs to be limited further.
Top 10 Grape Production in Tons
  1. California
  2. Washington
  3. New York
  4. Pennsylvania
  5. Michigan
  6. Oregon
  7. Texas
  8. Virginia
  9. North Carolina
  10. Ohio
Figure 3. Top 10 Grape Harvest Production 
A more appropriate source is page 52 of the Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts report: Grape Processed Utilization and Price by Use - States and United States: 2010-2012. This report encompasses grape  wine production and I've listed the top producers for 2010 and 2012 in Figure 4.  These results align more closer to my preconceived notions on wine production by state; although Michigan has passed Virginia to capture the 6th spot. Using the 2010 data, Pennsylvania is in fact the #5 wine producer. However, wine grape production declined sharply from 2010 -> 2012 which could be explained by changes in methodology in the surveys; moving towards lower yielding, but higher quality grapes; or perhaps moving grape utilization more towards jellies instead of wine. Regardless, according to this table, Pennsylvania is ranked 8th, not far below Texas, Michigan, and Virginia.
State       2010 Production      2012   Production

California3,589,000 3,700,000
Washington 160,000 185,000
Oregon31,200 46,000
New York48,000 40,000
Texas8,100 7,200
Michigan3,800 6,950
Virginia6,450 6,700
Pennsylvania10,300 6,200
Missouri5,040 4,550
North Carolina4,500 4,420
Figure 4. Top 10 Grapes Processed for Wine (tons)

Like most statistical analysis, these results vary by year, by data source, by data inputs - so yes, it is complicated. According to the TTB's total wine production (including non-grape wine and cider) in 2012, Pennsylvania was ranked 6th overall with Virginia and Texas out of the top 10. Yet, restricting our analysis to just grape wine production, Pennsylvania falls to 8th, with Texas, Michigan, and Virginia rising above the Keystone state.  What was more unexpected was the rise in Michigan's grape wine production almost doubling in two years.  I wonder if the number of wineries doubled as well or this results from much larger yields?

In any case, the exact ranking of states probably only matters for bragging rights between government officials or winery associations. For consumers, it shows that there are plenty of local wine regions to explore. Cheers to that.


Anonymous said...

Texas has 273 wineries, according to permits issued by the TABC.

Anonymous said...

North Carolina has grown to 159 Wineries in 2015 according to the NC Dept of Agriculture.

Unknown said...

You would be surprised by the wine industry in michigan.