Cheers to October, Pennsylvania Wine Month
October is Pennsylvania Wine Month, when we celebrate the impressive wineries, wine trails, and wine-inspired events throughout the Keystone State. Not only do they serve as tourist attractions and a fun date or group retreat – wineries also have an incredible economic impact on the families running them and the Pennsylvania citizens who reap the benefits.
Wine has a different meaning to different people, inspiring us in a multitude of ways. For some of us, it’s a nice bottle with a loved one to celebrate a birthday or promotion. For others, wine offers a relaxing reprieve at home after a tough day at work. Some may prefer to get a group together and journey through a wine trail, full of teaching, tastings and fun.
No matter the motive, wine-seekers need not go any farther than Pennsylvania to indulge in one of our state’s top agricultural products.
Agribusiness in Pennsylvania
Agriculture companies thrive in Pennsylvania – thanks to our moderate climate and rolling terrain, 14,000 acres of some of the best growing conditions – especially for grapes – on the East Coast, and incomparable business advantages and incentives.
Since 2008, Pennsylvania has risen from third to second nationally in organic farm sales, and from sixth to fourth in the number of organic farms. Pennsylvania’s food processing and manufacturing industry accounts for nearly 60 percent of the state’s agricultural economic output and almost a third of its employment while offering family-sustaining salaries.
What’s With the Wine?
The numbers related to Pennsylvania wine production are just as impressive as the larger picture. Did you know Pennsylvania ranks fifth in the nation in grape production and seventh in wine production and number of wineries? How about that our more than 200 wineries produce 1.6 million gallons of vino each year?
No matter where you may find yourself in Pennsylvania, a winery is never more than an hour away (did I mention we have more than 200?). Many of them are smaller, family-owned establishments, but ultimately, they range from multi-generational operations to talented young entrepreneurs.
And between our more than two dozen native, European, and hybrid grape varieties, Pennsylvania offers a wine for every taste. Some of our wineries have even banded together to form complete wine trails through their regions – 14 of them, to be exact – and that number continues to grow.
The comradery doesn’t stop with collaboration among wineries. Between the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED), the PA Winery Association, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture, the Penn State Extension, and the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, statewide support of our wine industry is comprehensive.
I encourage you to celebrate. Support your local wineries and help contribute to the massive economic impact of the industry in Pennsylvania.
For more information about Pennsylvania agribusiness industry, visit DCED’s website. Learn more about Pennsylvania wine on visitPA’s website and the PA Winery Association website. Continue to stay up-to-date with all of Pennsylvania’s latest news and program announcements by signing up for our monthly e-newsletter or following us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
A passionate advocate for PA wines, Jennifer Eckinger has worked for the Pennsylvania Winery Association for more than a decade and is currently its executive director. In her role, she is a go-to expert, educator and industry spokesperson on behalf of Pennsylvania’s $2 billion wine industry. Eckinger is excited about the continued growth of the industry in the state, which now has more than 14,000 acres of grapes and growing conditions that are unique from other parts of the country and the world. A native of Middletown, Pa., she attended Penn State University and holds a B.S. in Labor Industrial Relations and a M.Ed. in Training & Development.