South Dakota wineries have produced in excess of one million bottles of wine since 1997, according to the South Dakota Department of Agriculture.
When the first farm winery was licensed in 1997, the industry produced a 230 gallons of wine. That grew to more than 78,000 gallons last year; production is expected to double in the next three years. There are now 19 active farm wineries in the state.
For every dollar of fruit purchased, the wineries generate $7.17 of revenue. Each gallon of wine also generates about $6.00 in taxes.
"Our wineries are a great example of value-added agriculture. Trends show that this segment of the industry will continue to grow in the coming years – producing more wine which leads to more jobs and economic growth in the state," says Walt Bones, South Dakota secretary of agriculture.
Besides creating a value-added agriculture product, wineries have also become popular tourist destinations. Visitors are taking advantage of the close proximity of wineries and tasting some of the unique wines made in South Dakota, including rhubarb, chokecherry and black currant. South Dakota's family-owned wineries offer tours, wine tastings and special events throughout the year.
Wineries in the southeastern corner of the state have created a wine trail, where visitors can stop at multiple wineries along the route. Each winery offers a unique visit and signature wines.
"Visitors are looking for a 'South Dakota experience' on their vacations. South Dakota's wine industry is doing an excellent job of allowing the visitor to have a taste of South Dakota, coupled with an interesting, rich, agri-tourism experience," says South Dakota Secretary of Tourism Jim Hagen.
Visitors to the South Dakota State Fair will again have a chance to sample South Dakota wines in the Heartland Building. It is the only venue in the state where consumers can taste and purchase wines from most South Dakota wineries under one roof.
Source: South Dakota Department of Agriculture