New Jersey lawmakers are considering several measures to expand the state’s wine industry.
One of the bills advanced by the Assembly’s Agriculture Committee would make low interest loans available to farmers for preparing land and purchasing vines and equipment for new vineyards.
Another bill would provide tax credits for purchasing barrels, crushers, tanks, and other equipment for a new winery or making improvements at existing ones.
Lou Cappelli, a lobbyist for the Garden State Wine Growers Association, says the winery business in the state has taken off in the past five years and there are now more than 50 of them.
“Because of our success right now we actually have a bit of a shortage of grapes in the state of New Jersey. So, we’ve been out trying to convince farmers to convert crops to grape.”
Cappelli says the wineries contribute millions of dollars to New Jersey’s economy and help attract tourists.
Agriculture Committee chairman Bob Andrzejczak says the legislation will ensure the state’s wine industry continues to be prosperous.
“I come from Cape May County. We have quite few wineries down there. They continue to grow and they continue to keep popping up. It really ties into agritourism and the farm-fresh and the farm-to-table experience.”