Date of this Version
A Bureau of Business Economic Impact Analysis From the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, April 19, 2007
The Nebraska wine and grape growing industry makes a multifaceted contribution to the Nebraska economy. Like all industries, the Nebraska Wine industry creates employment and earnings opportunities. But, the industry also contributes to the Nebraska economy by promoting tourism and contributing to the quality-of-life of existing residents. The latter point is critical. Population growth, including the retention and attraction of younger residents, is a key policy issue facing the state of Nebraska. The wine industry and other industries that provide new and varied entertainment and cultural options for Nebraska residents play a key role in improving population growth in the state.
The Nebraska wine industry is also particularly important because it contributes to economic dynamism in the rural areas of Nebraska. There are currently 20 licensed farm wineries in Nebraska. We estimate that 18 were open at the time of this study. The 18 are dispersed throughout rural areas of the state. The industry also helps diversify the state’s agricultural sector, and adds another type of value-added agriculture to our economy. Finally, the industry encourages economic growth in the state through import substitution, that is, producing a product in Nebraska that is currently imported from other states or around the world. If Nebraska wineries are able to capture even a portion the wine market that is currently imported, the Nebraska economy will grow. And, this has been the recent trend. The Nebraska wine industry has seen a large amount of recent growth. As chart 1 below shows, Nebraskan wine production is increasing rapidly.