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New wine marketing campaign fueled by Pa. modernization efforts

The Pennsylvania Winery Association, a trade group that represents wineries in the commonwealth, has launched a new marketing campaign that was inspired by last year’s state liquor law changes.

Made in PA Wine Land is an effort to promote the increased accessibility of takeout wine in Pennsylvania supermarkets and convenience-store chains because of Act 39, which took effect in August.

The campaign also highlights the growth of locally produced wines in Pennsylvania. There are now more than 200 wineries covering all regions of the commonwealth.

“In Pennsylvania, you are within one hour of a winery no matter where you are,” said Greg O’Loughlin, president and founder of Swell, the association’s marketing partner on the campaign. “The ‘buy local’ movement has really matured over the years. In all parts of Pennsylvania, it’s very strong and we want to connect Pennsylvania wines to that local movement.”

Like craft breweries and distilleries, wineries also are growing, said Jennifer Eckinger, the association’s executive director.

“Every year it seems like 10 or 15 open up,” she said. “But the bigger story isn’t the number of wineries opening, it’s existing wineries raising their production levels. Their offerings have been increasing.”

Pennsylvania has about 14,000 acres of grape-growing land, according to the association. And the state’s winemakers produce more than 1.6 million gallons of wine per year.

The commonwealth ranks fifth nationally in the amount of grapes grown, seventh in wine production and seventh in the number of licensed wineries.

“We’re part of the whole craft movement,” Eckinger said.

She expects the growth in retail under Act 39 will induce more wineries to expand in the years ahead. The association’s marketing campaign, which is supported by grant money from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board that was tied to Act 39, will run through the fall. October is Pennsylvania Wine Month.

And this week is Pennsylvania Wine Week, which will include the Harrisburg Wine Festival on Saturday at the state museum in Harrisburg.

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