McAuliffe touts record year for Virginia wine industry

Grapes ripen on the vine at the Philip Carter Winery in Hume, Va., Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — The Virginia wine industry had a record year in fiscal 2016, and Virginia’s governor thinks that’s something to toast.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced on WTOP’s Ask the Governor show that sales of Virginia wine reached 6.6 million bottles in fiscal 2016, up 6 percent from the previous fiscal year.

Sales of Virginia wine have risen 34 percent since fiscal 2010.

The governor thought the news appropriate to link to last month’s announcement of an eighth official oyster region in the commonwealth, the Tangier/Middle Bay region.

“When you think about it, Virginia is for lovers — I’ve just announced we have eight varieties of oysters now. So you come to Virginia, you eat our oysters, you drink our wine, and you figure out the next step,” McAuliffe said.

Total sales of Virginia wine generated more than $2 million in wine tax revenue during fiscal 2016, according to the Virginia Department of Alcohol Beverage Control. The Virginia Tourism Corporation estimates Virginia wineries attracted 2.3 million visitors in 2015.

Booze is becoming big business in Virginia. In addition to more than 285 wineries in the state, Virginia is home to 126 craft beer breweries, 40 distilleries and 12 cideries.

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