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TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Donald Norcross (D-Camden/Gloucester) to boost New Jersey’s wine industry was approved today by the Senate Economic Growth Committee.
The bill (S-2845) would create the New Jersey Wine Board to foster the development of the New Jersey wine industry, promote the orderly growth of the industry through advertising and other means, expand viticulture and enological research, increase education about the industry, and promote the production of grapes and wine in the State. The measure would also dedicate additional funding to this effort, allowing the full amount of the existing state revenue generated on wines and ciders sold by New Jersey wineries to go toward the promotion of wines, research and related endeavors.
“While New Jersey ranks among the top 10 states in wine production in the country, there is no doubt that our wines are among the finest and can compete with those produced around the world. Supporting our growers and vintners is key to ensuring the industry continues to grow and thrive,” said Senator Norcross. “Focusing our efforts on promotion, education and research with additional funding will help to boost the industry, making New Jersey’s wineries stronger and more prosperous.”
New Jersey has nearly 50 wineries and according to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture ranks 7th in the nation in wine production, behind CA, NY, WA, OR, KY and FL. With more than 40 varieties of wines, including wines made from Jersey Fresh blueberries, strawberries, raspberries and peaches, New Jersey’s wineries produced more than 1.5 million gallons in 2010, according to the department.
“Our wineries are not only great tourism destinations, they also are job creators that help to foster economic development across the state,” said Senator Norcross. “Anything we can do to promote the industry and to help it expand, we should be doing. The New Jersey Wine Board will serve as an advocate for the industry, advancing education and research while spearheading marketing of our wine products. This additional support will increase our competitiveness, which will benefit the industry and our economy as a whole.”
The committee approved the bill by a vote of 5-0. It now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.
NJ Senate Majority Office
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"Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto, a Hudson County Democrat, is balking. He claimed Tuesday that members of his caucus are divided over the measure and that his house is in no real rush – besides, even if enacted this year, the reforms would not take effect until 2017, he said. And with the growing belief that Christie could skip town to run for president, some Democrats are not eager to give him another talking point for his résumé. Christie’s plans to stump for Republican candidates in New Hampshire later Thursday only fuel that suspicion." - columnist Charles Stile- The Bergen Record
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