2006 Economic Development Strategies - Wine
With more than 20 wineries, occupying an estimated 500 acres, New Jersey wines are becoming more and more sophisticated, and the results are showing in their award-winning wines. The state’s wine industry has received countless awards locally, nationally and internationally. New Jersey’s wine industry adds an important diversification to New Jersey agricultural sector offering agri-tourism opportunities while providing a value-added product.
Grape production continues to expand in New Jersey, but it is not keeping pace with increased wine production. New Jersey’s wine industry ranks fifth in production behind California, Oregon, Washington and New York. This means the industry is becoming less dependent on New Jersey grapes and more dependent on out-of-state grapes, and risks losing its legitimate claim as an agricultural concern in the state.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture administers a promotion and research fund for the wine industry supported by per-gallon tax refunds collected by the New Jersey Wine Industry Advisory Council. The Council prints promotional materials, conducts publicity programs, funds promotional festivals and conducts varietal and production oriented research with the funds.
In 2005 the New Jersey Department of Agriculture introduced a Jersey Fresh quality guarantee for wines. Wines must pass a rigorous quality test and be produced from grapes grown in New Jersey can now put a Jersey Fresh quality guarantee on their wines. In order to quality the wines are tested for appearance, color, aroma and bouquet, acesence, total acid, sugar, body, flavor, astringency and general quality.
In 2006, efforts will be made to increase New Jersey grape production and expand the Jersey Fresh Wine Festival to include more restaurants and farmers markets. The industry will be supported as it seeks additional retail outlets and licenses to produce fruit based spirits. Opportunities will be created to support New Jersey wines at domestic and international trade shows. Support for federal export development funding of New Jersey fruit wines will be continued. .
9.0 WINE STRATEGIES
9.1 Increase New Jersey Grape Production
82) STRATEGY – Encourage support for new production research to increase the state’s grape production to expand the locally grown content of New Jersey wines.
83) STRATEGY – Consider increasing the minimum acres required to establish a plenary winery from three to five acres.
9.3 Support the Wine Industry at Trade Shows
84) STRATEGY – Seek opportunities at domestic and international trade shows for New Jersey’s wine industry to expand the marketing and promotion of its wines. Support these efforts with any available state, regional or national cost sharing programs such as the USDA Market Access Program.
9.4 Expand the Jersey Fresh Wine Festival
85) STRATEGY - Support the expansion of the Jersey Fresh Wine Festival to combine both the wine industry and the seafood industry making it the “Jersey Fresh Wine and Seafood Festival.” The restaurant industry and New Jersey farmers interested in direct sales of produce, or other agricultural products, will also be encouraged to participate.
9.5 Promote Product Categories
86) STRATEGY - Consider the development of a joint marketing opportunity for New Jersey fruit wines such as raspberry, blueberry and cranberry. Promote them as a product category unique to local New Jersey fruit production.
87) STRATEGY - Support the wine industry’s effort to obtain licenses to distill fruit based spirits such as fruit brandies and grappa which is an Italian brandy made from distilling grape skins that remain after wine production.
9.6 Expand Retail Outlets
88) STRATEGY – Support the wine industry’s effort to expand it’s number of eligible retail outlets and also the ability to sell their wines at farmer’s markets.