Sales of Massachusetts wines in 2011 increased by an amazing 66%! What is responsible for this astounding growth? A recent study seems to indicate that it is due to the new ability of local wineries to sell their products at farmers' markets and agricultural events.
On August 5, 2010, Governor Deval Patrick signed S2582: An Act Relative to Economic Development Reorganization, which permitted local wineries to sell wine at farmers markets, fairs and festivals. I have always supported this law, and it has been great to visit local farmers' markets and see wineries showcasing their products. Many local wine stores actually do not carry Massachusetts wines, so the wineries really do need additional outlets for their products, such as farmers' markets. There is now evidence that this was a very positive law and has significantly helped these local wineries.
The new study, Evaluation of Wine Sales at Massachusetts Agricultural Events 2011, used information garnered from surveys sent to the participating wineries. In 2011, 18 wineries participated, appearing at 63 farmers’ markets and 6 agricultural fairs and events. It is also important to note that 4 wineries indicated they have been denied permits at 7 farmers's markets and 1 agricultural event. It does not sound like some of the denials were justified. Some towns really didn't understand the new law, and thus they were wary about granting permits.
During 2011, the participating wineries sold about 34,280 bottles of wines, with a total value of $514,200, an overall 66% increase in overall sales. But added income was not the only benefit the wineries derived. 82% of the wineries reported increased visitors at their winery and 94% reported increased recognition for their wine. In addition, the public learned much more about the Massachusetts wine industry, which will help all local wineries.
This success will translate into growth for many of these local wineries. Some of their plans include expanding grape & fruit production, increasing wine production, hiring additional employees, purchasing additional equipment and more. So the financial benefits will accrue to others as well, as healthy businesses contribute to local economies. Hopefully, these wineries will participate even more in farmers' markets and agricultural events in 2012, and will earn even greater income.
People of Massachusetts, support local wineries! The wines can be delicious, it is good for the economy, and it is great to support local businesses.
Last year, did you buy local wine at farmers' markets?