BELVEDERE, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey wineries stand to get an infusion of funding and promotion to ensure the growing industry has legs for a long time.
A State Assembly committee came up with a series of bills.
Matty Matazzaro owns Four Sisters Winery, one of the oldest in New Jersey. It is located an hour and 15 minutes west of New York City in Warren County.
“We’ve have had the winery since 1984,” Matarazzo told CBS2’s Meg Baker.
Matarazzo’s wine business and others could get a major marketing and financial boost from the state. Members of the Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee passed several measures to further promote the industry, making wineries eligible for state economic development loans. That could allow them to set up retail shows in dry towns, and issue a one-time permit fee to sell wines at farmers markets.
Four Sisters Winery produces more than 50,000 bottles of wine each year, most of which are sold in the Garden State.
Production in the state increased by 73 percent from 2011 to 2016.
“Warren Hills horticulture region was the first designated region in the state of New Jersey, which encompasses four wineries,” said Valerie Tishuk, chair of the Garden State Wine Growers Association.
Most are family-run offering tastings, event space, and tours.
Tishuk says the industry is vulnerable and could use assistance to thrive.
“For loans to the wineries in order to expand in their vineyards and we really need more growth in the vineyard because we don’t have enough grapes to supply our demand,” Tishuk said.
Matazzaro says there are at least seven vineyards within an hour of his. The plan for a wine trail would connect them all for tourists.
“No signs that tell you how to get from one to another, so this would be nice,” Matarazzo said.
The wine and grape industries provided over $323 million in economic value, bringing in more than 100,000 winery tourists in 2016.
New Jersey’s wine, grape and allied industries paid $23.24 million in federal taxes and $17.73 million in state and local taxes in 2016.