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Feds Give State $75K to Promote Local Vineyards

By Leanne Gendreau, NBC-Connecticut (10/11/10)

  OCTOBER 21, 2010 --

If you find yourself craving a glass of Haight-Brown’s chardonnay or Priam Vineyards Salmon River White, it could be because of some federal money.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is giving Connecticut $75,000 to market local vineyards and wines.

The money comes from the Specialty Block Grant Program. In all, the USDA is giving Connecticut $445,000 for 10 projects that range from honey production to building a maple syrup empire and beyond.

The Connecticut Vineyard and Winery Association will use the $75,000 for a two-year statewide marketing campaign to “increase adult consumption of specialty crops of grapes and other fruits for winemaking in the state.”

It will go toward raising consumer awareness about the quality of locally produced wines and promote the state wine trail.

“Connecticut agriculture is $3 billion industry and is strongly defined by its diversity. The products from our small state have broad appeal in the marketplace – both within and outside our borders,” Gov. M. Jodi Rell said. “These investments are essential to give our producers the support and the competitive edge they need to sustain and grow.”

The state’s maple syrup producers are also getting some federal money to sweeten breakfast tables and more.

The Maple Syrup Producers Association of Connecticut is getting $28,800. Growers hope that the local industry could grow from $1 million today to $20 million per year over the next 10 years and send Connecticut syrup around the country and internationally.

“This federal award is extremely important to our state and our farmers will get significant, long-term benefits from the programs and projects this grant will support,” State Agriculture Commissioner F. Philip Prelli said.

Other projects include helping honey production by establishing an apiary at the Massaro Farm in Woodbridge, teaching farmers about storing produce in the winter, sustaining a competitive CT Christmas tree production and more.

You can learn more on the projects here


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