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Texas wine industry impacted by coronavirus pandemic

A winery in Comfort, Texas is already feeling the impact to their business during coronavirus pandemic.

SAN ANTONIO – The coronavirus pandemic is impacting a lot of business in the Lone Star State and across the U.S., including those in the wine industry.

Adriana Cruz, executive director of economic development and tourism for the Texas Governor’s Office, said a recent survey estimates the wine industry has already lost millions of dollars due to the coronavirus.

“I did receive a survey from Wine America that actually did a national survey to see how it has impacted the wine industry nationally, and there has been $40 million in financial loss across the country in the month of March," Cruz said.

Cruz said the wine industry in Texas supports about 104,000 jobs.

The industry spent “$4.3 billion in wages in 2019. The average wage at those wineries is $41,000. Some good wages for an industry that’s important to our state, not just for the farmers and the growers but also on the tourism side,” Cruz said.

The wine industry in Texas has been growing. In 2003, Texas had 54 wineries, and in 2018, it had more than 500, Cruz said.

“The Texas Hill Country is the second most visited wine region, wine tourism destination in the country. With people not traveling and staying at home, that’s going to affect those tourism locations deeply,” Cruz said.

Cruz said there are already relief programs available for businesses, including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program.

The Bending Branch Winery in Comfort has made some adjustments amid the coronavirus pandemic. General manager Jennifer McInnis said the business is currently offering curbside and delivery service, and they are still shipping wine.

“Production is continuing every day, but it’s a limited number of people,” McInnis said.

As the Texas wine industry faces an uncertain future, Cruz believes it will bounce back.

“The Texas economy prior to this was the strongest in the country, the fastest job creation, and we’re expecting that when this is all done,” Cruz said.

To learn more about small business programs, visit SBA.gov.

COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new virus, stands for coronavirus disease 2019. The disease first appeared in late 2019 in Wuhan, China, but spread around the world in early 2020, causing the World Health Organization to declare a pandemic in March.

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