By Zach Armstrong
DANVILLE, Va -- The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research (IALR), program manager of the Virginia Tobacco Region Revitalization Commission's (TRRC) Vineyard Development and Expansion Program, has announced a new round of grant funding available to vineyard growers.
Applications are being accepted for grant awards of up to $3,000 per acre for qualified individuals across the 40 localities of the TRRC's service area in Southern and Southwest Virginia.
All projects and reimbursement applications must be completed by Dec. 1, 2022.
Through the cost-share program, IALR works with the Virginia Cooperative Extension, TRRC and the Virginia Vineyards Association to increase vineyard acreage and address the shortage of Virginia-grown grapes.
"This program is a wonderful opportunity for vineyard growers to expand their acreage or for would-be growers to step into production," said Mark Gignac, Executive Director of IALR. "The program offers helpful assistance with the application process, and reimburses on a cost-share basis to reduce risk and encourage viticulture, which is so vitally important to expanding Virginia's wine Industry."
A cost-share award of up to $3,000 per acre is available for qualified vineyard growers-reimbursing 33% of eligible expenditures. Vineyards with up to nine acres may receive a maximum award of up to $15,000, and those with 10 or more acres may receive a maximum award of up to $20,000.
Funding is awarded through a competitive process and may be sought by growers to expand their acreage and new growers developing their first vineyard.
New growers must establish at least three acres of new vines, and existing growers must be willing to plant a minimum of one new acre to be considered.
Eligible cost-share items include, but are not limited to, grapevines, hardware for trellis systems, fencing and irrigation systems.
In order for wines to be marketed as Virginia wines, they must contain at least 75% of Virginia-grown grapes. While the number of wineries in Virginia has been increasing, the pace of vineyard expansion has lagged, resulting in acute grape shortages and the slowing of Virginia wine production.