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Wine sales at an all time high in Virginia

Sunday - 9/4/2011, 7:48am  ET

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

WASHINGTON - Think about wine for a moment. French? Californian? How about Virginia wine?

There's a new all-time high for sales of Virginia wine. Wineries are now a $350 million business in the state with sales up 11.4 percent in 2011. There are now about 200 wineries, compared to 120 in 2005.

"They start out mom and pop sort of things, people learning as they go, now we have more professional wine makers in the mix," says Dean Triplett, Operations Manager of Willowcroft Winery near Leesburg in Loudoun County.

Virginia has done some extensive marketing of local wine overseas including China, Japan, South Korea and the United Kingdom. But Triplett says the majority of local sales still go to tourists.

"We're selling beautiful views, a nice visit to the country, a great experience and it all comes into play," he says.

Wine brought in more than $1.8 million in sales tax revenue for the state in fiscal 2011 and the industry now employs more than 3,000 people.

Virginia wineries sold 462,112 cases of wine in the last year, an all time high.

For more on Virginia wines, click here.

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(Copyright 2011 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)