John Cooper, President and CEO of the Yakima Valley Visitors and Convention Bureau, says the Washington wine industry is a big contributor to the Yakima Valley economy. A recent study by the Washington Wine Commission shows wineries are responsible for $526 million in income each year, employing more than 3,000 people in Yakima and generating some $44 million in state and local taxes.

Together, the wine industry coupled with the area's tourism industry means more than 7,000 people are employed and paying taxes. This is the beginning of the summer tourism season and area wineries are a big draw for travelers.