Sales of Virginia wine have reached a record high, Governor Terry McAuliffe has announced.
According to the governor’s office, over this past fiscal year, Virginia wineries sold more than 6.6 million bottles of wine.
Wineries in Central and Southwest Virginia have noticed the increase in their own sales as well.
The Furrow family has grown grapes near Smith Mountain Lake for more than three decades. But it wasn’t until the 1990’s when they decided to turn it into a business.
“It was a lot of thought and planning,” said Wendy Furrow-Scott, whose parents opened the winery at Hickory Hill Vineyards in 2001. “The wine industry was up and coming, and my parents were interested in it.”
Back then, she said, it was only the second winery to open in Bedford County. Now, there are six.
“This year, we have noticed some increase in the traffic here in the tasting room, and some of it I think is related to the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Smith Mountain Lake,” Furrow-Scott said. “And whenever you have increased traffic, of course, there are increased sales.”
Furrow-Scott said she believes more visitors, more wineries and more people buying local explains the record-high wine sales.
“There’s a big movement in that for several different things, whether it’s farmers and food at the farmers’ market to your local wine and your local craft beer as well,” she said.
Furrow-Scott said she believes other groups like the Bedford Wine Trail have also helped boost business.
“We work together and very much enjoy when we can bring someone into the area,” she said.
If these statewide sales continue to grow, Furrow-Scott said, her family may expand their own vineyard as well.
According to governor’s office, there are nearly 300 wineries statewide.
Virginia cider sales are also on the rise, McAuliffe added in his announcement, with a 50 percent from fiscal year 2015.