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Wineries, Breweries and Distilleries

WHEREAS, wines from New Jersey’s approximately 50 wineries are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and the results are showing in their award-winning products; and

WHEREAS, the state’s wine industry has received countless awards locally, nationally and internationally, and New Jersey’s $30 million dollar per year wine industry adds an important diversification to New Jersey’s agricultural sector, offering agritourism opportunities while providing a value-added product; and

WHEREAS, grape production continues to expand in New Jersey, but it is not keeping pace with increased wine production, as New Jersey’s wine industry ranks seventh in the nation in production; and

WHEREAS, the New Jersey Department of Agriculture administers a promotion and research fund for the wine and grape industry supported by per-gallon assessments collected by the New Jersey Wine Industry Advisory Council, and the Council prints promotional materials, conducts publicity programs, funds promotional festivals and conducts varietal and production oriented research with these funds; and

WHEREAS, small-scale breweries also are becoming more popular in New Jersey, and their operations, including the brewing of beer and the operation of pubs connected to the breweries, present opportunities for New Jersey farmers to sell products used both in the production of beer and as items on the menus of the pubs; and

WHEREAS, legislation (A-1464) has been introduced to allow for “craft distilleries” that “…shall be entitled, subject to rules and regulations, to manufacture not more 20,000 gallons of distilled alcoholic beverages, provided that not less than 51% of the raw materials used in the production shall be grown in this State…” which could provide market opportunities for farmers to either sell raw ingredients to distillers or to create their own value-added distilled product..” 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the delegates to the 98th State Agricultural Convention, assembled in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on February 6-7, 2013, do hereby urge the Department to continue taking steps to help the wine and grape industry increase grape production in an effort to increase the local agricultural input of New Jersey’s wine industry; promote the use of locally produced fruits in the making of New Jersey wines; encourage support for new production research to increase the state’s grape production and expand the locally grown content of New Jersey wines. 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that to increase demand and support the industry’s efforts to highlight the “Jersey Wines from Jersey Vines” brand and promote products from New Jersey’s American Viticulture Areas -- the “Outer Coastal Plain,” “Warren Hills,” and “Central Delaware Valley” -- the Department continue taking steps to increase the sales, both retail and wholesale, of New Jersey wines.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Department support the interdisciplinary program of research and education established at the Rutgers Wine Institute, spearheaded by industry and academics, and having the following goals: identify key areas where research is needed to address industry problems; develop educational programs that enhance, develop and sustain the industry; and analyze fundamental production, marketing, economic and societal issues that could enhance the global competitiveness of New Jersey wines.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that we urge the Legislature to pass, and the Governor to sign legislation, permitting the production of spirits other than beer and wine, produced with a minimum of 51-percent locally grown products, as the first step toward a new opportunity for some New Jersey farmers to produce or help to produce a new value-added product.