The EconAlliance Wine/Tourism Initiative is engaged in a “re-start” of activity celebrating two of the region’s key industries. In addition to its ongoing public and policymaker education regarding the potential economic and job impacts of County wine and tourism regulations, EconAlliance Board president Steve Pepe (Co-Founder, Clos Pepe Vineyards LLC) and Board member Michael Larner (Larner Vineyard and Winery), in cooperation with Morgen McLaughlin, Executive Director of the Santa Barbara Vintners Association, are encouraging a recognition of the wine/tourism sectors’ value and uniqueness through an inaugural wine/tourism forum taking place July 26, 2017 (See “Current and Past Activities” section below for program information and Save-the-Date card link).
The Heart of Santa Barbara Wine Country
Santa Barbara Wine Country is one of the most diverse wine grape growing regions on the planet. Its 25,000+ planted acres produce nearly three million cases of world-class and award-winning chardonnay, pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, syrah and 50 other varietals. Its nearly 200 wineries, stunning vineyards, and trendy tasting rooms make Santa Barbara County’s northern Wine Country a must-see wine destination.
Seven of the County’s nine wine routes lie north of Santa Barbara, in the region’s six federally designated American Viticultural Areas (AVAs): Santa Maria Valley, Santa Ynez Valley, Sta. Rita Hills, Ballard Canyon, Los Olivos District and Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara.
The economic impact of Santa Barbara Wine Country is impressive, with the sector supporting around 9,000 jobs, providing $101.7 million in Federal taxes, $93.6 million in State and local taxes, and $2.4 million in Santa Barbara County non-profit contributions. Total economic impact (Economic Impact of Santa Barbara County’s Wine & Grapes, 2013) is $1.7 billion in Santa Barbara County, with an estimated $2 billion potential, assuming expanded wine making capacity.
Santa Barbara Wine Country’s family vineyards feature a host of year-round activities of interest to visitors and residents alike – vineyard tours, library and barrel tastings, winemaker dinners, and cause-focused events. Local tasting rooms also maintain full calendars of wine-lover activities.
In addition, the Santa Barbara Vintners Association features region-wide events and activities periodically throughout the year. See Santa Barbara Vintners Association for more information:
The wine industry is inextricably linked to tourism in the region, but wine is not the only attraction in the County areas north of Santa Barbara. In addition to the Chumash resort featuring gaming, spa services and fine dining, the area boasts two California missions (Mission Santa Inez and La Purisima in Lompoc), Santa Maria BBQ, golf, surfing, professional theater (Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts – PCPA in Santa Maria, Festival Theater in Solvang), nature walks, cycling events, trendy “Little L.A.” (Los Alamos), the wine-tasting hotspot of Los Olivos, the charming western town of Santa Ynez, the Guadalupe Dunes (site of Cecil B. DeMilles’ Ten Commandments film, and much more…for information, visit one of the contacts listed at left (can the following contacts go in the lefthand margin section?):
Northern Santa Barbara County Chambers and Visitor promotion contacts:
Santa Maria Valley Chamber of Commerce
Santa Ynez Chamber
(EconAlliance Wine/Tourism Initiative)
Current and Past Activities
Mark Your Calendars! EconAlliance, in cooperation with the Santa Barbara Vintners Association, is organizing its inaugural wine/tourism event for Wednesday, July 26, 2017, 1:30 – 5:30 p.m., Santa Ynez Valley Marriott.
Designed to educate the public and policymakers about the economic value and attractiveness of the wine industry and its relationship to regional tourism, the event will feature a keynote presentation on the “Facts of Life About Direct to Consumer Sales” by Silicon Valley Bank’s Wine Division VP/Founder Robert McMillan.
Also on the program will be three panels:
A panel follow-up to the keynote presentation:
“Direct to Consumer Sales – Key to Financial Sustainability?”
Moderator: Robert McMillan
A panel discussion about the relationship between the wine and tourism sectos:
“Wine and Tourism – A Perfect Pairing?”
Moderator: Morgen McLaughlin, Executive Director
Santa Barbara Vintners Association
A panel dialogue regarding the opportunities and potentially damaging policies around wine and tourism:
“Wine, Visitors, Venues and Regulations”
Moderator: Mike Brown, former Santa Barbara County CEO