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HALIFAX, VT -- Vermont’s growing wine industry is banking on a new consumer-focused program to bring more visitors to the vineyards and tasting rooms across the state.
The Vermont Grape and Wine Council announced last month the creation of a passport program that will include more than 20 locations. The move is part of a greater effort to increase the awareness of Green Mountain wines.
Visiting a winery or tasting rooms will result in a stamp for the consumer. Completing a form with 10 or more stamps and the customer is eligible for a variety of prizes, including a vacation getaway or basket stuffed with Vermont products.
"Guests come to the winery, they pick up a map of the state of Vermont. And on that map, it lists all the different wineries all over the state," said Lorraine Muha of the Honora Winery & Vineyard Tasting Room in Jacksonville. "When you go to each winery, they each have a stamp that shows that you have been to that particular winery."
Bob Foley of Neshobe River Winery in Brandon, a board member with the council, said the program is designed to promote the industry itself first, and hopefully an increase in sales will follow.
"A lot of folks do not know we have a grape industry in Vermont," he said.
Many of the state’s wineries started small by selling at farmers’ markets, local grocery stores and Vermont liquor outlets. The industry has made valiant attempts to expand its customer-base through festivals and an open house weekend last August.
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