Vermont recently welcomed the world to Vermont to highlight the growth of the Vermont grape and wine industry. It was an honor to have the Green Mountains host the VitiNord Conference. It brought together dozens from around the United States and a host of countries including many from Canada.
We have tremendous leadership across the Green Mountains including from our growers, wine makers and our researchers like Dr. Terry Bradshaw at the University of Vermont. They are largely responsible for the growth in recent years. It’s an impressive team that made it possible to host this International Conference. We were excited to highlight the growth of the Vermont grape and wine industry and the well-deserved international recognition our vineyards and winemakers have received.
With vineyards and wineries across the state, Vermont is a growing destination for wine-based agritourism. This summer Vermont hosted an International Conference on Agritourism. More than 50 countries participated and countless vineyards from Vermont were present. We have formed a partnership with New York, Ontario and Quebec with plans to launch a culinary trail in this region. Wine will be on many of the stops.
Vermont’s vineyards add beauty to our state’s working landscape while helping farmers diversify and keep land in agricultural production. The Agency has invested in grapes and wine over the last decade. The Vermont Specialty Crop Block Grant Program has invested over $215,000 to support the grape and wine industry. For example, we awarded the University of Vermont Fruit Program to evaluate wine grape cultivars and conduct virus screenings. Research is critical if we are going to grow the industry here and in our colder climates.
The Working Lands Enterprise Initiative has supported individual wine businesses to make business improvements and attend trade shows. These investments are important to grow our economy and make it more affordable to do business in Vermont. We encourage all those in the wine or grape industry to contact us for possible programs that might help their operations.
We wish all a productive and prosperous 2023 as we begin another year. We are grateful for all those in agriculture that make our little corner of the world a better place to live, work and play.
Happy New Year! And Cheers!