The Concord Grape Belt Heritage Area Association recently completed a Management Plan that has some interesting figures about the actual annual economic impact of grapes in Chautauqua County. The most recent figures are from 2005 and noteworthy among them: in Chautauqua County we have 584 grape producers; 19,347 bearing acres and 659 jobs supported by the industry, translating into $25 million in wages. These producers bring in $92 million (retail value) in juice sales and $10.5 million in wine sales with 24,500 wine-related tourist visits. Total annual economic impact: $141 million.
Adding Erie County, PA brings the total regional impact of the grape industry to $340,000 million annually. These are impressive figures. The fact that the vineyards create beautiful vistas and fill the air at harvest with the heady aroma of concords: priceless.
Go to www.concordgrapebelt.org for more information or to view the entire Management Plan.