As a result of the continuing interest in the state’s booming wine industry, the Texas Department of Agriculture has announced it is accepting applications for its Wine Grape Investment Grant Program from producers who wish to establish new vineyard operations or expand existing ones by at least five acres. A total of $250,000 is available through this program.

“Texas produces an estimated 2.4 million gallons of wine every year and the industry contributes $1.35 billion annually to the state’s economy,” Deputy Agriculture Commissioner Drew DeBerry said. “The industry is limited by the availability of grapes and these grants play a key role in sustaining the growth of Texas wine grape production.”

Since 2008, TDA has awarded approximately $500,000 in matching program grants to 18 Texas vineyards. Grant recipients matched these awards with their own capital investments totaling $2.8 million. The maximum grant amount that may be awarded to a single vineyard is $25,000.

The Wine Grape Investment Grant Program is part of TDA’s Rural Economic Development Division. Applications will be accepted through Aug. 12, 2010. For program details, producers may visit www.TexasAgriculture.gov and click on Grants/Funding.

Texas Wine Industry Facts:

• Texas is the fifth-largest wine-producing state in the nation.

• Texas is home to more than 181 wineries.

• The Texas wine industry supports more than 9,000 jobs.