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Arizona Wine Tourism Study Reveals Over 500% Growth Since 2011

Strong visitor spending, employment and labor income metrics highlight benefits of supporting industry

PHOENIX (June 25, 2024) — Arizona’s wine tourism industry has seen explosive growth during the past decade, headlined by an astounding 677% increase in wine experience-driven visitor spending and a 500% leap in wine-related employment since 2011, according to a recent study of Arizona’s wine tourism industry conducted for the Arizona Office of Tourism by the Economic Policy Institute at Northern Arizona University.

Further, the state’s 156 wine producers today represent a 200% increase since 2011, when there were 52. The tremendous growth of Arizona’s wine industry can be attributed to several factors, including promoting the state’s unique grape-growing regions, development of Arizona's wine-industry workforce, the proliferation of tasting rooms and visit-ready vineyards, and increasing promotion of Arizona wine country tourism experiences by AOT and others.

“The spectacular growth of Arizona’s wine industry over the past decade-plus shows what happens when you combine an amazing place to live, unique grape growing conditions, and fearless winemakers,” said Governor Katie Hobbs. “Our flourishing grape and wine industry will continue to be a point of pride for Arizona and an important part of our state’s agribusiness and agritourism sectors.”

The study, which sampled nearly 1,700 people who either attended an Arizona wine festival or visited in-state wineries and tasting rooms, also examined how wine experience-driven travelers impact the regions they visit.

Approximately 35% of all survey respondents said they used attending a wine festival as an opportunity to visit other areas around the festival. Additionally, around 40% of all survey respondents take a day trip to wineries or festivals, while about 30% stay for two or three nights.

Among the three main wine-producing regions (AVAs) in Arizona, visitors spend the most in the Verde Valley ($109 per night), followed by approximately $70 per night in the other two, Willcox and Sonoita.

The study also revealed a high level of satisfaction with Arizona wine experiences from both people who visited wineries directly and those who visited wine festivals. These experiences met or exceeded the expectations of 96% of survey respondents.

Arizona Wine Images Gallery (12 total)

“In Arizona, we love surprising our visitors with the unexpected, and we get to do that by both highlighting the incredible award-winning wines produced here and sharing the stories of the places and people who create them,” said Lisa Urias, CEO of the Arizona Office of Tourism. “We’re proud to continue to support our wine industry through investment in wine tourism marketing.”

Additionally, about 94% of festival goers indicated that they would likely recommend an Arizona wine festival to a friend.

View Executive Summary & Key Findings

View Entire Study

Additional Industry Insights on the Reasons Behind the Growth of Arizona’s Wine Industry:

“As more people discover and enjoy the unique characteristics of wines grown in Arizona, the state's reputation as a producer of exceptional wines continues to rise. Over the past decade, the visibility of Arizona wine has surged thanks to marketing, engaging festivals and word-of-mouth. All of this, plus increased Arizona wine availability and people sharing Arizona wine experiences online have significantly contributed to the industry's growth.”

Michael Pierce, Winemaker, Bodega Pierce, Willcox 

“Increased marketing efforts from several Arizona wine-focused organizations, municipalities, chambers of commerce and state-level support from Arizona Office of Tourism grants have really helped us promote our efforts to make and sell great wines. Additionally, the federal designations for Arizona’s three main wine regions (AVAs) has led to many new visitors finding quality wines in these regions (Verde Valley, Sonoita and Willcox). The highway signs alerting drivers when they’re entering an AVA are a tremendous advantage.”

Paula Woolsey, CSW, Adjunct Professor, Southwest Wine Center at Yavapai College 

“There are a few important reasons for the consistently steady growth of the Arizona wine industry. What we are seeing through these economic impact studies is the payoff of a decade or more of hard labor by many people, who may seem new to the scene, but have had heads down working for today's burgeoning industry. Because our industry is small, we all share knowledge about fruit, supplies, manufacturers, wholesalers...basically anything we need to make wine and sell it. We share our contacts as it is tough to make wine here, so anyone coming into our industry has the benefit of help from folks that have years of experience.”

Kris Pothier, Owner, Chateau Tumbleweed, Clarkdale

“A key ingredient in the rapid growth of the Arizona wine industry has been the development of an Arizona wine workforce over the past dozen years through the Southwest Wine Center at Yavapai College, which has provided a steady stream of vineyard managers, winemakers, and winery owners. In fact, it's the only Viticulture (grape growing) and Enology (wine-making) college program in Arizona.”

Tom Pitts, Wine Consultant and Founding President, Verde Valley Wine Consortium


AOT Media Contact: Josh Coddington, (480) 438-4700, [email protected]

About the Arizona Office of Tourism: The Arizona Office of Tourism works to strengthen and grow Arizona's economy through travel and tourism promotion, positioning Arizona as the leading tourism destination for domestic and international travelers. In 2022, tourism employed more than 179,000 Arizonans and contributed over $3.9 billion in tax revenue to federal, state and local economies.Owner