Home Industry News Economics Ohio Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program Applications Due June 29

Ohio Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program Applications Due June 29

The 2024 Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program (VEAP) is now open to new and existing Ohio vineyards to encourage the establishment of new and/or expansion/replacement of existing vineyards across the state. VEAP allows wineries to invest in and plant high-quality, high-value grapes onsite instead of purchasing them from other states. The VEAP is an incentive program created and funded by the Ohio Grape Industries Committee (OGIC).

Due to the small number of grapes produced in Ohio, many wineries, farmers markets’, and retailers are forced to purchase grapes of several different varieties from other states in order to meet production needs. The VEAP is designed to provide a more stable source of high-quality, high-value grapes grown in Ohio. Additionally, the program will allow for more Ohio wines to qualify for the Ohio Quality Wine (OQW) program and increase consumer awareness of Ohio’s premier wines made from Ohio-grown grapes.

The VEAP funding will cover the cost of the grape vines planted. Each grower may apply for up to $1,500 per half-acre with a maximum of three acres, or $9,000. Only growers in Ohio may apply for the assistance and the planting must occur in the spring of 2025.  All applications must be completed and received by the OGIC by Friday, June 29, 2024

Successful applicants will not be reimbursed under this program until all requirements have been met. Failure to complete all requirements set forth in the guidelines will disqualify an applicant from receiving any VEAP funding. The VEAP Working Group, made up of OGIC members, OGIC Research Advisory Group members, OSU researchers/extension specialists, and other industry stakeholders, will review the applications and make recommendations regarding which growers receive funding under this program to the OGIC. The OGIC will make the final funding decisions.

Application Coordinator
The OGIC will be responsible for distributing the grant application to the prospective applicants. All questions regarding the application should be directed to the OGIC Executive Director, Christy Eckstein.

Guidelines
This program is intended to provide support for those individuals who are serious about making a long-term commitment to grape production. Each grower will have to meet important vineyard management guidelines to qualify for any program funding. This is intended to assure that the grape vines established under this program have the best possible conditions to reach and maintain full production.

To be eligible for funding through the Vineyard Expansion Assistance Program growers must meet the following guidelines:

  1. Only growers located in Ohio may apply for assistance.
  2. It is mandatory for an applicant to have a business plan with a clear plan for the grapes to be put into the production chain (e.g., have an established winery or pick-your-own table grape operation, a written contract between grower and existing Ohio licensed winery, or business plan for establishing a winery in the future.)
  3. Vineyard site selection will be evaluated by the OSU viticulture staff in conjunction with the grower (Appendix C – Pre-Planting Evaluation), after the Vineyard Site Evaluation Requirements checklist is completed (Appendix A.) Each vineyard shall be established in a location conducive to growing grapes.
  4. For variety selection, applicants are encouraged to utilize the recommended list of grape varieties (Appendix B) and consult with OSU viticulture staff.
  5. At least one-half acre (400 vines with a minimum of 200 vines per variety) must be planted to be eligible for reimbursement.
  6. The planting must occur in spring 2025.
  7. The grower must agree to a subsequent vineyard assessment by an OSU viticulture staff during the initial growing season (Appendix D – Post-Planting Evaluation). Growers may request reimbursement at this point.
  8. All applications must be completed and received by the OGIC by Friday, June 29, 2024. Late applications will not be considered. You can receive a copy of the application by contacting Christy Eckstein at christy.eckstein@agri.ohio.gov

Replacement/Replanting Details:
Vineyards that are considering vine replacement/replanting are also eligible for VEAP funds. Please fill out the “Vine Replacement” section in the application, including the varieties and number of vines to be replaced and the reason for replacement/replanting.

2024-2025 VEAP Timeline
– VEAP applications sent to prospective/existing growers: May 23, 2024
– VEAP applications postmarked and sent to OGIC: June 29, 2024
– Initial site visit complete and site visit form sent to OGIC: July 27, 2024
– Review of VEAP applications by Working Group: August 7, 2024
– OGIC approval of recommended applications: August 7, 2024
– Notification to applicants: August 14, 2024

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