Cost-share program addresses grape shortage, encourages growth of Virginia wine industry
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), program manager of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission’s (TRRC) Vineyard Development and Expansion Program, has announced a new round of grant funding available to vineyard growers. Applications are being accepted for grant awards of up to $3,000 per acre for qualified individuals across the 40 localities of the TRRC’s service area in Southern and Southwest Virginia.
“This program is a wonderful opportunity for vineyard growers to expand their acreage or for would-be growers to step into production,” said Mark Gignac, Executive Director of IALR. “The program offers helpful assistance with the application process, and reimburses on a cost-share basis to reduce risk and encourage viticulture, which is so vitally important to expanding Virginia’s wine industry.”
A cost-share award of up to $3,000 per acre is available for qualified vineyard growers—reimbursing 33 percent of eligible expenditures. Vineyards with up to nine acres may receive a maximum award of up to $15,000, and those with 10 or more acres may receive a maximum award of up to $20,000. Funding is awarded through a competitive process and may be sought by qualified existing growers who wish to expand their current acreage and by new growers developing their first vineyard. To be considered for the program, new growers must establish at least three acres of new vines, and existing growers must be willing to plant a minimum of one new acre. Eligible cost-share items include, but are not limited to, grapevines, hardware for trellis systems, fencing and irrigation systems. All projects and reimbursement applications must be completed by Dec. 1, 2022.
Through the cost-share program, IALR works with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, TRRC and the Virginia Vineyards Association to increase vineyard acreage and address the shortage of Virginia-grown grapes. In order for wines to be marketed as Virginia wines, they must contain at least 75 percent of Virginia-grown grapes. While the number of wineries in Virginia has been increasing, the pace of vineyard expansion has lagged, resulting in acute grape shortages and the slowing of Virginia wine production.
To learn more about eligibility requirements, including a detailed map of eligible localities, growers may visit TRRCgrape.com or contact Program Manager Amy Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or 434.766.6788. Turner also will assist growers with the application process, which is currently open.
The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research serves Virginia as a regional catalyst for economic transformation through applied research, advanced learning, economic development, advanced manufacturing and conference services. IALR’s major footprint focuses within Southern Virginia, including the counties of Patrick, Henry, Franklin, Pittsylvania, Halifax and Mecklenburg along with the cities of Martinsville and Danville. To learn more, visit www.ialr.org.