Va. Looks to Grow Vineyards

If you like the wines of Napa Valley, have you visited the vineyards of the Blue Ridge mountains?

Wine production is a growing part of Virginia's economy, and the state agriculture secretary has a wish list of budget items in 2011 to keep the wine and the money flowing.

Todd Haymore has asked for a quarter of a million dollar tax credit for the expansion or establishment of wineries. In addition, Haymore wants the all the money made on the wine liter tax, which yields $280,000 annually, to be redirected back into the Wine Promotion Fund, a program designed to sell more wine.

Virginia's vineyards exported $2.3 billion worth of bottles in 2009.

Agriculture and forestry are Virginia's two largest industries, employing 500,000 people and making $80 billion in revenues.

According to Virginia Vineyard Association, there are vineyards across the state, from the Eastern Shore to the Shenandoah Valley.  The state produces both reds and whites, but it bottles more Chardonnay than any other variety.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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