Virginia's wine industry is giving the state a lot to toast about.
According to a new study, Virginia’s wine industry contributes $747 million dollars to Virginia’s economy annually, and in 2010, put over 4,700 people to work at wineries and vineyards
The Virginia Wine Board commissioned Frank, Rimmerman & Co. to study the industry's growth from 2005 to 2010.
This is a glass half full for Virginia Governor McDonnell, who placed special emphasis on the industry in his economic development and jobs creation plan.
“The Virginia wine industry has seen tremendous growth over last few years,” said Governor McDonnell. “From beautiful new wineries starting up to more and more retail outlets and restaurants adding our wines to their shelves and menus, the growth has been very evident even to the casual observer."
The study says the wine industry's success also spilled over into tourism. The number of wine-related tourists jumped from 1 million in 2005 up to 1.62 million in 2010. Dollars spent on wine tourism bubbled up by 130 percent, from $57 million in 2005 to $131 million in 2010.
This past year continued the industry's positive trend. The governor's office said sales of Virginia wine reached a record high in fiscal year 2011, with more than 462,000 cases, or more than 5.5 million bottles sold.