Governor Martin O’Malley has announced Board of Public Works approval of 10 grants totaling $147,000 in state funding to the Maryland Grape Growers Association, the Maryland Wineries Association, and the Southern Maryland Wine Growers Cooperative.
The grants are earmarked for the promotion of Maryland’s growing wine industry. Recommended by the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Council, they will be used for marketing, research, advertising, retail/festival promotions, activities that promote the growing of winegrapes, and educational seminars, Southern Maryland Online reports.
A $5,000 grant to the Southern Maryland Wine Growers Cooperative will be used to develop a Quality Standards Contract template by defining at least three grape quality attributes and related numeric quality standards for each grape variety grown in Maryland, and to support harvest timing decisions by growers and winemakers in the state.
“The wine and grape-growing industries are a key component of Maryland’s economy,” said Governor O’Malley. “Through the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Fund, we are helping to support our rapidly growing wine industry, preserving open space and creating a sustainable and profitable agriculture industry.”
The state has been instrumental in fostering the growth of grapes in southern Maryland as part of the migration away from tobacco crops that once dominated the local agriculture.