Saturday, January 13, 2007

Through the Grapevine

Just came across this story about the successes of Illinois' wineries, so I thought I would pass it along:
(AP) A new study shows that Illinois' wine industry is ripening by the minute.

The survey by wine industry analysts MKF Research finds that the number of wineries in a state long known for Abe Lincoln, coal and corn has grown more than five-fold in the past 10 years.

The study was released this month by the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association. It shows that Illinois has 68 wineries, and about 10 of them have opened in the past 18 months. Just a decade ago, the state had about a dozen wineries.

Illinois also has 450 grape growers.

The study found that 69 of the state's 102 counties have at least one vineyard, and more than a third of the counties have at least one winery.

About 1,200 acres statewide are devoted to growing grapes, with each acre producing about three tons of fruit. That's up from just 140 acres a decade ago.

The report shows that Illinois' wine industry has a statewide economic impact of $253 million dollars and generates $31 million in wine-related tourism.
Several years ago, many people were skeptical as to the viability of Illinois vineyards, but a story like this one helps remind you of just how diverse our state's economy really is.

From agriculture to technology to manufacturing, we possess one of the strongest cross-sections of economic opportunity of any state in the country. It is essential for the members of the Legislature to recognize this fact, and to put aside regional and partisan differences in order to allow and encourage our full range of economic engines to perform at their fullest.

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