ANNAPOLIS (Nov. 29, 2007) - Governor Martin O'Malley yesterday announced Board of Public Works approval of 10 grants totaling $147,000 in state funding to the Maryland Grape Growers Association, the Maryland Wineries Association, and the Southern Maryland Wine Growers Cooperative for the promotion of Maryland's growing wine industry. The grant awards, which were recommended by the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Council, will be used for marketing, research, advertising, retail/festival promotions, activities that promote the growing of wine grapes, and educational seminars.
A $5,000 grant to the Southern Maryland Wine Growers Cooperative will be used to develop a Quality Standards Contract template by defining at least 3 grape quality attributes and related numeric quality standards for each grape variety grown in Maryland and to support harvest timing decisions by growers and winemakers in Maryland.
"The wine and grape growing industries are a key component of Maryland's economy," said Governor O'Malley. "Through the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Fund, we are helping to support our rapidly growing wine industry, preserving open space and creating a sustainable and profitable agriculture industry."
The State has been instrumental in fostering the growth of grapes in southern Maryland as part of the migration away from tobacco crops that once dominated the local agriculture.
The Governor's Advisory Commission on Maryland Wine and Grape Growing and the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Council were established in 2005 to promote the production and consumption of Maryland wine and the production of grapes in the State. The Commission is made up of seven members appointed by the Governor from the industry, the research community, and state government, and two members appointed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. The Council is comprised of the secretaries of the Maryland Departments of Agriculture, Budget and Management, and Business and Economic Development.
The Council is responsible, upon advice from the Commission, with recommending to the Board of Public Works how to allocate grants from the Maryland Wine and Grape Promotion Fund. In the three fiscal years since the Fund's inception, $400,000 has been made available for various wine and grape promotion and research projects.
The Board of Public Works is made up of Governor Martin O'Malley, State Comptroller Peter Franchot, and State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp.