The number of licensed Pennsylvania wineries has grown from just over 100 to more than 180 in the past five years. “That is an enormous jump, especially when we think about ten years ago when we had about 65-wineries,” says Pennsylvania Winery Association Executive Director Jennifer Eckinger. Pennsylvania wineries combine two of Pennsylvania’s biggest industries: agriculture and tourism. Eckinger says they are proud to be a part of both.
Quality is one key to the recent growth. “We’re seeing that the overall quality of wine grape growth has spread throughout the state,” Eckinger says, while also pointing to an increased interest in both wines and buying local.
The most recent data pegs the Pennsylvania wine and wine grape industry’s economic impact at $2.35-billion dollars, but Eckinger points out those are 2007 numbers. “I can only imagine that has increased over the last four years as well.”
An emphasis on research and marketing may truly make 2012 a vintage year for PA wine. “The wineries have such an immense passion, the winemakers have immense passion and it’s great to try a product that was crafted locally.”
As the industry grows, so does its presence at the Farm Show. Visitors to the 96th Pennsylvania Farm Show’s Main Hall will be able to check out the Pennsylvania Wine cork sculpture and sample from 20-wineries that will take turns manning “Winery Row.”