RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that New Kent Winery will invest $715,000 and create seven new jobs to expand its operations in New Kent County. This is both the first economic development announcement in New Kent County and the first Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) facility grant awarded to the county since Governor Northam took office.
“The growth of New Kent Winery demonstrates the significant economic impact that Virginia’s agricultural industry can bring to our rural communities,” said Governor Northam. “Investments like these generate tourism activity, create jobs, open new markets for our farmers. I congratulate New Kent Winery on this expansion and look forward to their continued success in the Commonwealth.”
New Kent Winery, a true farm winery with over 40 acres under vine, sources exclusively from Virginia and is committing through this project to purchase an additional 120 tons of Virginia grapes over the next three years. New investments in winemaking and packaging equipment will enable a doubling of the winery’s production capacity to over 10,000 cases per year. This expansion also supports surging demand at the winery’s one-of-a-kind tasting room and event space, built using historically-sourced materials from Richmond and beyond. New Kent Winery is also contracting with Colonial Downs and Richmond-area sports attractions including Richmond Flying Squirrels, Richmond Raceway, Richmond Kickers, and Sports Backers.
“This exciting announcement highlights the continued growth in Virginia’s wine industry and the connections among viticulture, the equine industry, and tourism,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “We are pleased the Commonwealth could partner with New Kent Winery and New Kent County through the AFID program to support this expansion, and we celebrate the new jobs and investment it represents for the Commonwealth.”
“New Kent Winery is honored to receive this grant to help us continue our work in agriculture and bringing awareness to the Virginia wine industry,” said owner of New Kent Winery Joe Dombroski. “We are looking forward to how this grant will assist our planned expansion and commitment to crafting estate grown, Virginia wines and sharing them with the citizens of the Commonwealth and beyond. We are grateful for our partnerships with the Commonwealth of Virginia and New Kent County Economic Development Authority along with our sports and entertainment partners who are committed to sharing our wines with their audiences.”
The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services worked with New Kent County and New Kent Winery to secure this project for the Commonwealth. Governor Northam approved a $15,000 AFID Grant for the project, which New Kent County will match with local funds.
“Agriculture and agritourism are important economic drivers in New Kent County and across the Commonwealth thanks to businesses such as New Kent Winery,” said Delegate Chris Peace. “This expansion is a testament to the strength of Virginia’s wine industry and the promising future that lies ahead. I look forward to New Kent Winery’s continued success.”
“We are thankful to Governor Ralph Northam and Secretary Bettina Ring for New Kent County’s first ever AFID grant award,” said New Kent County Administrator Rodney Hathaway. “We are also thankful for New Kent Winery’s investment in New Kent County, and their commitment to the expanding wine industry in the county and state. This grant award is an excellent example of how state and local government can partner with the private sector to grow Virginia’s agricultural economy.”
“I am proud of the continued working relationship between the owners of New Kent Winery and the New Kent Economic Development Authority (EDA),” said Matthew Smolnik, New Kent County Director of Economic Development. “This project is the pinnacle of forward thinking on the part of the winery and exhibits the commitment of the EDA to work with our existing businesses to help them expand their operations within the county. The distribution of their wines to the major sporting and entertainment venues across the Commonwealth will reinforce to the consumers the quality products and services that come out of our local economy on a daily basis.”
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