TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew and Senator Vin Gopal that would provide financial assistance to wineries and vineyards in New Jersey was approved by the Senate today.
“New Jersey wineries and vineyards are an important part of our local economies. The EDA provides assistance to small businesses that cannot receive loans from banks, and this will be a major benefit to vineyards and wineries that have a difficult time attaining those loans,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “Expanding the operations of vineyards and wineries will not only be good for local economies, it will also be good for the prospects of job growth.”
“The wine industry in New Jersey has the opportunity to become well-known around the country,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “Not only will this help to spur economic development in these counties, it will also allow us to increase tourism to the Jersey Shore as well. The Jersey Shore is arguably one of New Jersey’s most striking features, and tourists will want to come to our state to enjoy both.”
S-1057 requires the EDA, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, to establish a loan program for certain vineyard and winery capital expenses. Its purpose is to increase the size and output of both wineries and vineyards.
Under the bill, the EDA would provide loans to eligible vineyards and wineries to pay for expenditures for land acquisition or improvement, infrastructure acquisition or modernization, and the purchase or modernization of machinery and equipment. The loan amounts would be between $10,000 and $100,000, with interest rates between three and five percent, and terms up to ten years. The EDA would be authorized to conduct annual financial audits of its lenders to ensure the viability of their operations.
The bill was approved by the Senate by a vote of 38-0, and will next head to the Assembly for further consideration.