Posted: February 6, 2023
Washington – Today, Co-Chairs of the Congressional Wine Caucus Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-04) and Rep. Dan Newhouse (WA-04) announced the reconstitution of the Wine Caucus for the 118th Congress.
“Agriculture is important to our district and to every state across our country. Winegrapes are grown in all 50 states and generate $276 billion for our economy while creating nearly two million jobs,” said Thompson. “I founded the Congressional Wine Caucus to develop a line of communication between winegrape growers and vintners and Congress. During the 118th Congress, Rep. Newhouse and I — and the entire Wine Caucus — will continue this work to support our wine community.”
"As a proud grape grower, I know firsthand the strong economic contributions made by the grape and wine producers and the issues our industry faces,” said Newhouse. “I am honored to represent the flourishing, high-quality wine region of Central Washington. I look forward to continue working with Rep. Thompson to ensure that our nation's wine industry – from wine grape growers to winemakers and sellers – can continue to thrive and grow."
“We at WineAmerica are deeply grateful to Representatives Dan Newhouse and Mike Thompson for their leadership as Co-chairs of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus,” said Jim Trezise, President of WineAmerica. “Our 2022 National Economic Impact Study showed that the wine industry boosted the American economy by $276 billion, up by 25% from 2017. Since wine is produced and consumed in all 50 states, it is vital that we have legislators who are both informed and involved. The Congressional Wine Caucus serves that purpose.”
“California’s winegrape and wine industries are major economic drivers across our entire country, generating $170.5 billion annually in economic activity to the U.S. and $73 billion in California alone,” said Natalie Collins, President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. “We appreciate the leadership of Congressman Thompson in establishing a dedicated wine caucus, committed to safeguarding an industry that creates jobs, draws tourists, and generates tax revenue for the benefit of local communities and the nation.”
“For decades, the Congressional Wine Caucus has worked tirelessly on behalf of the over 11,000 wineries and 28,000 wine grape growers across the country,” said Bobby Koch, President & CEO of Wine Institute. “We look forward to continuing to work with Caucus Co-Chairs Dan Newhouse and Mike Thompson on critical policies that support wine, the nation’s signature sustainable, value-added agricultural product.”
“The Wine Caucus provides a critical forum for grape growers and vintners to discuss the issues and opportunities facing our business. In Sonoma County, we are very thankful for Congressman Thompson’s leadership, on behalf of our industry, and his ability to convene the Congressional Wine Caucus to help foster a better understanding of the role they can play in supporting multigenerational family business and the future of agriculture and wine,“ said Karissa Kruse, President of Sonoma County Wine Growers.
“Congressman Mike Thompson and the Wine Caucus in Washington DC have been champions for Sonoma County Vintners and our wine community. Their dependable advocacy has been appreciated during challenging times and has helped make Sonoma County a fantastic place to live, work and thrive. Our historic and multigenerational Sonoma County wine businesses are impactful and essential contributors to our local, state and national economies while also providing crucial funding for a myriad of philanthropic causes. We greatly appreciate Congressman Thompson and the Wine Caucus for their advocacy and support of our Sonoma County wine community and we are proud to partner with them,” said Michael Haney, Executive Director of Sonoma County Vintners.
“Through Congressman Thompson’s ongoing leadership, the Congressional Wine Caucus has made the preservation of our region’s heritage a priority, including by ensuring the success of land conservation efforts and securing funding for critical research. This supports both farming communities as a whole and the individuals that work in wine and grape growing,” said Molly Williams, Industry & Community Relations Director of Napa Valley Grapegrowers.
“Wine is a delicious cultural product that has brought people together for centuries. It is meant to be enjoyed with food and friends and we are happy to hear that the Congressional Wine Caucus is being reconstituted. We can’t wait to share some wine from the Napa Valley with these leaders during our next visit,” said Rex Stults, Vice President of Industry Relations, Napa Valley Vintners.
“The Clarksburg Wine Growers and Vintners Association is excited to now be represented by Rep. Mike Thompson because he understands the needs of winegrowers and vintners in our district. Being included in the Congressional Wine Caucus means our area is considered at the national level, and that helps our community immensely,” said President Tom Merwin.
Wine is produced in all 50 states and generates jobs and revenue in both rural and urban communities. The wine community contributes an estimated $276 billion to the U.S. economy annually and creates the equivalent of almost two million full-time jobs. The more than 10,000 predominantly family-owned wineries in the U.S. attract more than 49 million tourists each year who enjoy the wines, cultural activities, and scenic pastoral landscapes in wine country.
In 2022, the California wine community created a direct economic impact of $88.38 billion with over 25 million tourism visits, 513,000 jobs, and nearly 4,800 wineries.
The Congressional Wine Caucus was founded in 1999 by Congressmen and winegrape growers Mike Thompson (D-CA) and George Radanovich (R-CA) to provide a connection between winegrape growers and Congress. Today, the Caucus brings together a bipartisan, bicameral group of Members of Congress and is chaired by Thompson and Congressman Dan Newhouse.