Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has proclaimed May as Tennessee Grape and Wine Appreciation Month, just one month after he signed a bill to ease some restrictions on wineries. Leaders in the Tennessee wine industry hope these efforts and others will continue to encourage the state’s small but growing wine industry.
“The grape and wine industry is unique in that it combines agriculture, tourism, and economic development,” Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture Charlie Hatcher, D.V.M. said. “Vineyards and wineries are generational investments, and they have allowed many family farms in Tennessee to diversify into value-added agriculture and agritourism,” he added.
“Designating May as Tennessee Wine and Grape Appreciation Month builds on the efforts we have been pursuing,” said Rhonda Moody, president of the Tennessee Farm Winegrowers Alliance. “Recent revisions to the Wine and Grape Law will make it much easier for our rural wineries to open satellite facilities and expand their businesses. This is a great benefit to Tennessee wineries and farmers, too, helping them succeed,” she added.
SB1353 was signed by Lee on March 28, 2019, allowing small wineries to open up to two satellite facilities without previous restriction of first going through a licensed wholesaler to distribute wines. This legislation will particularly benefit small rural wineries and farm wineries.