Virginia Agriculture Secretary urges vintners to grow more wine grapes


Virginia Secretary of Agriculture Todd Haymore on Friday urged winegrowers in the state to plant more vines to keep up with growing demands.

The Daily Progress reported that Haymore said Virginia was dedicated to helping the state’s wine industry at a meeting of the Virginia Vineyards Association in Charlottesville.

“The growth in sales just isn’t catching up to the growth in planting … so we’ve got to facilitate that,” he added. “From the vineyards side, that’s the most important thing we can continue advocating for.”

Sales of Virginia wine reached an all-time high in 2012, increasing by just over 1.6 percent from the previous year, according to a statement released by Gov. Bob McDonnell last month. Export sales of Virginia wines grew by more than 300 percent, increasing from about 700 cases in 2011 to more than 3,300 in 2011. China and the United Kingdom drove most of that growth.

“I’m incredibly pleased to see that Virginia has set a new all-time high in wine sales. We faced some real weather obstacles last year, but that didn’t stop Virginia’s wine industry from continuing to grow and expand. More and more individuals continue to buy Virginia wine, and more and more new jobs continue to be created because of that.” McDonnell said.

The state is home to more than 200 wineries and numerous historically significant sites. While the majority of wine produced in the United States comes from California, Virginia has been producing its own wine since the 17th century.

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Photo credit: Southern Foodways Alliance, Creative Commons licensed