Such an innocent and simple question, or so it seems… either it does, or it doesn’t, depending on a person’s preference for wine. Tourists love the wine country of course, what with the superb boutique and quality wine in California. However, what do the residents of the wine regions think of the wine businesses, and how does it affect their lives? What is life, you might ask? When I say “life,” I refer to aspects such as residents’ quality of life, economy, tourism attraction, etc., and the connection that the wine industry has on the five major wine regions of California.

Dr. David McCuan and Richard Hertz conducted a study for the Wine Business Institute, which is housed within the School of Business and Economics at Sonoma State University. The main purpose of the research was to survey residents’ attitudes towards various wine business in the popular North Bay and Central Coast wine regions.

More than five hundred online interviews were conducted on residents from Sonoma, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Napa, and Lake County during the summer of 2015, and preliminary results were released in August of 2015.

According to the preliminary report, McCuan and Hertz reported “that most see wine businesses as a significant community asset, in economic terms, as a source of local pride, and as enjoyable for visitors and residents alike.” McCuan & Hertz, 2015, p. 2 Of course, there are still the standard benefits, such as the natural beauty and organic culture of the wine industry, and of course, the consumption of great quality wine itself.

Specifically, the North Bay region rated wineries as having the highest positive impact ratings of either positive or very positive on quality of life, followed by wine grape growers, visitors and tourism and other agriculture. This is likely due to the fact that businesses bring job opportunities for the community as well as economic growth. In addition, surveyed participants felt that wine businesses contribute to the local community and economy, amongst other aspects. To no surprise, one negative aspect that wine businesses contribute to is the increased traffic in the area.

Regardless of the pros and cons, the majority of the results were favorable and wine businesses were generally considered to have a positive impact, and negative concerns were not viewed as extremely negative. Interestingly enough, only 62% of the participants surveyed were regular or periodic wine consumers, and 51% who visited tasting rooms.

There is a growing interest in wine beyond simply consumption, with increased demand for wine education and certifications continuing to rise. Why not take advantage of the breadth of knowledge out there and learn more in-depth about the industry? There is so much to learn about wine as well as the wine industry, and the public is slowly being revealed valuable knowledge from the research that is being conducted.

To access the original study and report, go to http://www.sonoma.edu/sbe/wine-business-institute/research.

To learn more about wine current events and the industry, go to: http://www.winebusiness.com.