DOAG: FARM WINERY PROMOTION KICKS OFF AS THREE NEW VENUES JOIN PROGRAM


 

FARM WINERY PROMOTION KICKS OFF AS THREE

NEW VENUES JOIN PROGRAM

Skill of Growers, Economic and Tourism Benefits Highlighted

 

May 10, 2017

 

The annual opening of the state’s Passport to Connecticut Farm Wineries program was marked by a visit to a Shelton winery by Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Agriculture Commissioner Steven K. Reviczky, who urged residents and visitors to experience the state’s 37 farm wineries and appreciate the skill it takes to grow grapes here.

 

“This is an ideal time of year to visit a vineyard, and Connecticut is a great destination for people looking to explore quality farm wineries,” Governor Malloy said late last week, standing on a hilltop at Jones’ Winery.  “We have more than three dozen vineyards that produce a number of high-quality wines, and our Passport program offers folks a perfect opportunity to explore them.”

 

The blue Passport booklets are available at each winery, and participants are encouraged to visit other wineries in order to get their booklet stamped.  

 

Those obtaining at least 16 stamps can enter to win a number of prizes drawn in December, including bottles of Connecticut wine and the grand prize, a two-week trip to a wine-producing area of Spain.

 

Participants can also have their passport stamped at the annual Connecticut Wine Festival weekend, which runs July 22 to 23 at the Goshen Fairgrounds.

 

It is estimated that more than 160,000 gallons of wines were produced in Connecticut during 2016 – accounting for more than 800,000 bottles of local wine.

 

Over 60,000 passports were distributed under the program last year, helping to generate an estimated $1 million in direct sales for the wineries, and at least an equal amount in economic activity from participants visiting restaurants and other businesses in the area. 

 

The program highlights the diversity of each farm winery, including new ones in East Granby, Lyme, and Waterford that recently opened and joined the Passport program for the first time this year.

 

“While most of us certainly appreciate a nice glass of wine, I think what is often overlooked is the skill it takes to grow grapes and make high-quality wine in Connecticut, Reviczky said. “It’s a real challenge in our climate and with our relatively short growing season, and one goal of the Passport program is to highlight the work that goes into making great wines with Connecticut Grown grapes and other fruit.”

 

The department this month is also sponsoring a radio and social media campaign promoting the program and its participating wineries.

 

The program, now in its 13th year, is supported by a USDA Specialty Crop Grant and also receives funding from the Community Investment Act. It is administered by the Connecticut Farm Wine Development Council, chaired by Commissioner Reviczky.

 

Jamie Jones, who manages the winery at his family’s well-known farm, said he typically distributes about 3,000 of the passports during the season.  

 

“It definitely helps bring in people from out of state and from the other end of the state,” Jones said. “We’re very fortunate to have this program as a partner in promoting what we do here. It has economic benefit beyond just the farm winery.”

 

          A complete listing of Connecticut’s wineries and additional information is available at:

www.passporttoctfarmwine.com.