On Tuesday August 29th at Childress Vineyards in Lexington, Governor Roy Cooper signed a proclamation that September is North Carolina Wine and Grape Month. It was a great afternoon with tastings and announcements about the wine industry and its progress. Not only was September proclaimed as North Carolina's Wine Month, NC State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced that they'll have beer and wine sales on the North Carolina State Fairgrounds.
Sure, we've had wine month proclamations in the past, but this one could be the start of a tipping point for the industry. In 2017, the wine industry has become much more recognized as a mature multi-billion dollar business, that has not so quietly edged its way onto the table. Our state government is looking to help the industry by rewriting outdated and over burdensome regulations, realizing that a responsible increase in sales means increased revenue and jobs and development for our state.
While it may seem a small difference by allowing alcohol sales at 10:00 AM on Sundays, that slight change of two hours will be a huge benefit to the beverage industry as a whole, bringing in additional state revenues.
It's not about just getting a drink at 10:00 AM. It is helping vineyards across the state sell their products, the state collecting more tax revenue, and vacationers sharing wines from our state back in their home state talking about their wonderful wine experiences in North Carolina. And while not every vineyard will open their gates at 10:00 AM on Sundays, it is nice to have that option available. America is all about choice.
A vineyard owner at the coast was recently telling me that he regularly had people drive up on Sunday morning as they were heading back to their homes up and down the East Coast. They wanted to buy cases of wine to take back to their homes, only to find out they couldn't buy it until after 12:00. That didn't meet their travel plans, so they left empty handed. That's lost revenue and future marketing to people in other states about the quality of our wine products.
In 2017, the NC Fine Wines Society held their first annual NC Fine Wines Competition where eight Advanced Sommeliers judged 100% North Carolina grown and vinified wines. We're hoping you choose to purchase local products, from local vineyards, which are local farms. They employ local citizens and local businesses are hired to support the vineyards and wineries. We hope you'll frequent the local vineyards here that produce high quality wines for you and your family.
Cheers - Dan