Virginia wine sales grow 13 percent

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More people are buying Virginia wine.

Total sales of Virginia wine grew 13 percent in fiscal year 2010, according to Gov. Bob McDonnell.

Sales of Virginia wine created $1.6 million in wine liter tax collections in the year that ended June 30, compared with $1.4 million in fiscal year 2009. Virginia’s wine liter tax is $3.60 per case of wine.

“The increase in the sale of Virginia wine is good news for our grape growers and wine makers, both of whom are responsible for producing the outstanding wines that Virginia is now being recognized for both here and abroad,” McDonnell said in a statement. “The growth of the wine industry in Virginia means more jobs for our citizens and needed economic development in our communities, particularly in the rural areas of the commonwealth.”

Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore said Virginia wine popularity should continue to grow as the state now has domestic and international marketing plans in place to promote Virginia wine.

A 2005 economic impact study showed that the Virginia wine industry employs about 3,000 people and contributes $350 million to the Virginia economy each year. That year, there were 120 wineries. Today there are 180 licensed farm wineries in Virginia.

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