WASHINGTON – The Wine Origins Alliance today praised the introduction of a bipartisan congressional resolution, H. Res. 642, that recognizes the uniqueness of American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). The resolution, co-sponsored by Democratic Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) and Republican Congressman Lee Zeldin (NY-1), acknowledges the distinctiveness of American wine regions and the contributions they provide to the U.S. and global economy.
“For more than 40 years, American Viticultural Area designations have allowed vintners to more accurately describe the origin of their wines and help them build and enhance the reputation and value of the wines they produce,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “As Oregonians know well, American wines contribute to the economic and cultural life of our nation. This resolution will promote awareness of, and appreciation for, distinctive American wineries and vineyards.”
The Wine Origins Alliance is in Washington this week to discuss with policymakers barriers to trade in wine, including the lack of effective protection of wine region names in the U.S. and around the world. Its members include 26 winery and grape-growing organizations in 11 countries spanning North America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia.
“With more than 10,000 wineries operating in all 50 states, American wines contribute to the economic and cultural enrichment of our nation. Our wineries generate hundreds of billions of dollars for the U.S. economy in any given year and employ nearly 1 million Americans,” said Congressman Zeldin. “From the East End of Long Island to California’s Napa Valley, the ability for vintners to more accurately describe the origin of their wines will help them build and enhance the reputation and value of the wines they produce.”
The global wine market is currently worth an estimated $342.43 billion and expected to grow 5.1 percent by 2023. In the United States, the wine industry directly employs more than one million people and supports nearly 300,000 jobs. Additionally, U.S. wine regions host more than 43 million tourists each year, supporting 375,000 jobs and generating nearly $18 billion in tourism expenditures.
In 2018, a consumer survey found that 94 percent of American wine drinkers support laws that would protect consumers from misleading wine labels. The Alliance released a short film featuring winemakers explaining how the complete environment of a wine region’s location makes their wines unique.
“Every wine region around the world produces wines that are impossible to duplicate anywhere else,” said Harry Peterson-Nedry, representative for the Oregon Wine Board and Willamette Valley Wineries Association. “I want to thank Representatives Blumenauer and Zeldin for their continued commitment to U.S. wine regions and the idea that special places make unique wines.”
The resolution builds upon efforts in the previous Congress, including the introduction of a similar resolution (H. Res. 766) in the House of Representatives and the unanimous passage of a Senate resolution (S. Res. 649).
For more information about the Alliance’s activities, visit origins.wine.