Grant funding available for Southside vineyard development

virginia wineThe Virginia Tobacco Commission has awarded a grant to help grow Southern Virginia wineries.

The commission awarded $811,000 to Pittsylvania County for its SOVA Vineyard Development and Expansion Program.

The program will reimburse approved applicants for a third of their eligible expenses for expanding their vineyards, up to $3,000 per acre.

Virginia wine production grew at about 6.7 percent annually for the first part of the decade but slowed to 2 percent in 2015. The drop is blamed on a lack of Virginia grapes.

“This program offers an exciting opportunity for landowners in the Southside Region of the Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission,” explained Ashley Nauta, a district agent and vineyards project coordinator for Virginia Cooperative Extension. “These cost-share funds are vitally important as our producers consider the capital investments associated with vineyard establishment.”

The grant application deadline is Feb. 15.

Virginia’s wine industry contributes more than $1.37 billion annually to the state’s economy, according to the 2015 Economic Impact Study of Wine and Wine Grapes on the Commonwealth of Virginia, commissioned by the Virginia Wine Board and completed in January. That’s an increase of 82 percent from findings of a previous impact study conducted in 2010.

From 2010 to 2015, the number of Virginia wineries increased 35 percent, from 193 to 261. The number of full-time equivalent jobs at wineries and vineyards saw a 73 percent increase.

“Virginia’s wine industry has experienced diverse, fast growth over the past couple of decades,” said Tony Banks, a commodity marketing specialist for Virginia Farm Bureau Federation. “Demand has outpaced grape production. Additional Virginia-grown grapes are necessary to fulfill the demand. This grant program is a unique opportunity to establish new or expanded vineyards.”

UVA Basketball Fans!

uva basketball team of destiny
Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

Dick Vitale on Team of Destiny: “This is a hoops story you will LOVE! Jerry and Chris capture the sensational and dramatic championship journey by Tony Bennett and his tenacious Cavalier team. UVA was Awesome Baby and so is this book!”

Ralph Sampson on Team of Destiny: “Jerry and Chris have lived and seen it all, even before my time. I highly recommend this book to every basketball fan across the globe. This story translates to all who know defeat and how to overcome it!”

Buy here.

augusta free press
augusta free press news