Virginia wine sales reach another record year

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Virginia wine sales grew 5 percent last year to set another record for Virginia vintners, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced Wednesday.

Virginia wineries sold more than 511,000 cases of wine in fiscal year 2013, which ended June 30. That was up from almost 485,000 cases last year, according to sales figures from the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control and the Virginia Wine Marketing Office.

McDonnell made the announcement from Chatham Vineyards on the Eastern Shore as part of his statewide “This Commonwealth of Opportunity” tour. Since fiscal year 2010, Virginia’s wine sales have grown more than 23 percent.

Winery visits are also up. While in-state sales of Virginia wines grew 3 percent last year, wine sales through Virginia wineries grew 6 percent during the same period.

Virginia wine’s distribution is widening. Wine sales to distributors outside Virginia grew more than 60 percent from FY 2012 to FY 2013. Virginia wines are being sold in Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Florida and Washington, D.C.

International sales are also growing. In FY 2013, international sales of Virginia wine grew more than 74 percent to more than 5,800 cases of wine. A significant portion of the international sales was driven by new sales to China, where McDonnell and members of his administration have visited on trade missions and have pushed for new export opportunities. Sales to London and Great Britain also grew.

Virginia ranks fifth in the nation for number of wineries with more than 230 and is tied with Texas as the nation’s fifth largest grape-producing state.

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