- Associated Press - Thursday, July 14, 2016

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - The Idaho Wine Commission will be working to promote and expand Idaho’s wine industry thanks to two grants from the Idaho State Department of Agriculture.

The grants, totaling about $118,000, are for two of 15 specialty crop projects submitted to USDA’s Specialty Crop Block Grant Program for funding approval, expected in September, The Capital Press reported (https://bit.ly/29zv9o0).

Idaho has more than 50 wineries and 1,300 vineyards. According to the wine commission, the Idaho wine industry has about a $170 million economic impact.

The grants will help the wine commission’s ultimate goal of promoting Idaho wine and helping producers, said Sara Dirks, IWC marketing and grant manager.

Much of the grant funding will go to educating wine consumers about Idaho’s offerings. A grant for $98,824 will be used to raise awareness of Idaho’s quality wines through print and digital advertising and media relations.

An education grant for $27,232 will allow IWC members to access tools to help improve the quality of vineyards and wineries.

Other Idaho wine-related grants accepted for the USDA program are for $112,516 for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service to test a sensor-based, water stress index system in commercial vineyards and $75,638 for Boise State University to analyze the challenges and opportunities for expanding the wine-grape industry in Idaho.

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Information from: The Capital Press (Ore.), https://www.capitalpress.com/washington


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