Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program Provides Grant Money to Ohio Grape Growers

REYNOLDSBURG, Ohio (Jan. 6, 2010) – Thirty Ohio grape growers will soon receive $2,000 grants provided by the Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program. Ohio vineyards will receive these grants funded by the Ohio Department of Agriculture through the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Specialty Block Grant program and the Rural Rehabilitation Fund.

The Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program grants are offered in the form of reimbursement forgrape vines only, encouraging grape growers to establish new wine grape vineyards and expandexisting vineyards.

“Ohio’s grape and wine production is a thriving industry that employs more than 4,100 Ohioans,” said former Ohio Agriculture Director Robert Boggs, chairman of the Ohio Grape Industries Committee. “The Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program helps this industry to contribute more than $580 million to Ohio’s economy and to continue to be a successful industry within our state.”

The program will allow for a more stable source of grapes for Ohio’s grant recipients by allowing each grower to plant an additional acre of high-quality, high-value grapes. It will enable more Ohio wines to qualify for the Ohio Quality Wine program that identifies the best Ohio wines that are made using 90 percent or more Ohio-grown grapes. The Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program is managed by the Ohio Grape Industries Committee, which was created in 1982 and operates in-part through the Ohio Department of Agriculture. The committee provides marketing and research opportunities to Ohio’s wineries and vineyards and helps increase consumer awareness of Ohio’s modern, high-quality wine industry.