Once again, Virginia has taken the initiative to market one of its top crops that yields significant tourism dollars and helps the state’s overall finances. I’m talking about the strength of the wine industry and its benefits to the state’s coffers. Look at some of the recent developments:
–The Wine industry will receive additional financial support from the state for its promotional activities. Monies will be increased from $580,00 to $1.35M annually. The monies will be used for marketing, education, and research. As part of the marketing dollars, money will be spent on increasing international retail sales of VA wine.
–As part of the international push for product visibility and improved sales, Virginia plans to open trade offices in Europe, Asia, and on the Indian subcontinent to increase opportunities for the export of Virginia wine.
—The Wine Tourism Initiative will receive an additional $3.5M to interest visitors in making trips to wineries when they celebrate the Civil War Sesquicentennial. Additional signage at visitor’s centers and rest areas will be noticeable to help guide visitors to the bounty of the region.
This is all in accord with the First Lady’s Initiatives Team Effort (FLITE) tour of Virginia wineries. More restaurants have added Virginia wines to their lists and additional retail outlets have increased their Virginia selections. At the same time, sales of Virginia wines increased in 2009 by almost 7.5% while the state became the 5th largest wine producing state in the country and wine grapes amounted to over $10 million in state cash receipts.
As we can easily say, “ka-ching,” wine dollars talk, and more people are listening. The Virginia wine industry has a right to be proud.