RICHMOND—Governor Ralph Northam today announced that Virginia Sparkling Company will invest $590,000 and create six new jobs to establish a new sparkling wine production facility in Nelson County. The company will source exclusively from Virginia and is committing to purchase 168 tons of Virginia grapes over the next three years. This facility will be an important new asset for Virginia’s craft beverage industry, providing partner wineries a new high-quality product for engaging their customers.
“Today’s announcement underscores Virginia’s already sparkling reputation as a premier destination for wine,” said Governor Northam. “With more than 300 wineries and vineyards, the wine industry in Virginia generates nearly $1.37 billion for our economy each year, provides new markets for our farmers, and offers unique agritourism opportunities for our visitors. We thank Virginia Sparkling Company for their investment and look forward to toasting their success in the Commonwealth for years to come.”
The craft beverage industry has become an important driver of the Nelson County’s tourism-focused economy, which saw more than $211 million in visitor expenditures in 2018. This is both the first economic development announcement in Nelson County and the first Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) facility grant awarded to the county during the Northam administration. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) worked with Nelson County and Virginia Sparkling Company to secure this project for the Commonwealth. Governor Northam approved a $40,000 AFID grant Fund for the project, which Nelson County will match with local funds.
“I am pleased the Commonwealth could partner with Nelson County through its first ever AFID grant to support this innovative and impactful addition to Virginia’s wine industry,” said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring. “I commend the Virginia Sparkling Company for their commitment to source 100 percent of their grapes from the Commonwealth and for elevating the industry as a whole by partnering with numerous wineries to make world-class sparkling wine.”
“Sparkling wine represents a great opportunity here in Virginia,” said George Hodson, Chief Executive Officer of Virginia Sparkling Company. “There is significant demand from both producers and consumers of Virginia sparkling wine and we are excited to have the opportunity to increase the amount of high quality sparkling wine available in the Commonwealth.”
An affiliate of Veritas Vineyard & Winery, Virginia Sparkling Company will use “méthode traditionnelle” to produce Champagne-style wines for sale under the label of the Virginia wineries with whom they have collaborated. Virginia Sparkling Company will be located in a former textile mill along Nelson County’s popular Nelson 151 Craft Beverage Trail. The mill also houses the tasting room for Flying Fox Vineyard & Winery, another Veritas affiliate.
“Nelson County has long been a leader in Virginia’s craft beverage and tourism industries,” said Chairman of the Nelson County Board of Supervisors Larry Saunders. “The family behind the Virginia Sparkling Company is familiar to Nelson and an important part of the success we have had. Following the company motto, ‘In Vino Veritas, in wine there is truth,’ they will no doubt remain true to their legacy of quality wine with this next venture. On behalf of the county and the community, we welcome the Virginia Sparkling Company and wish them much success.”
“Virginia’s winemakers produce some of the best wines in the world and I am tremendously thankful to Virginia Sparkling Company for this investment in Nelson County, in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District,” said Congressman Denver Riggleman. “This project will help Virginia farmers and the company’s investment in rural Virginia will help Nelson County thrive.”
“Virginia’s farm winery business has its roots in Nelson County,” said Senator Creigh Deeds. “Virginia Sparkling Company is taking that business the next step by adding value to existing product. Congratulations to Virginia Sparkling, Nelson County and the Northam administration for working collaboratively to create jobs and grow Virginia agriculture.”
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