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Columbus Office Phone: (614) 644-6074 Fax: (614) 719-3963 district63@ohr.state.oh.

us

Committees Commerce & Labor, Vice Chair; Criminal Justice; State Government & Elections; Veterans Affairs

Ron Young
State Representative
House Floor Sponsor Testimony on H.B. 491 & H.C.R. 40

Thank you Mr. Speaker, House Bill 491 and House Concurrent Resolution 40 is a call to recognize the month of June as Ohio Wines Month. This legislation is part of a combined effort by various organizations in the Ohio wine industry to promote Ohio wines and draw attention to the quality of their products. While many experts agree that Ohio wines are of exceptional quality, it seems this quality is not getting its due recognition by consumers and this especially applies to consumers in Ohio. A quick comparison of the sale of indigenously (in-state) produced wines in some of our neighboring states makes this point. For example, of the top ten selling wines in the state of Michigan, four are produced in Michigan. In Indiana, three Indiana produced wines are in that states top selling wines. Unfortunately, the highest selling Ohio produced wine is number 25 on Ohios list of top selling wines and the second highest selling Ohio-produced wine is 176th on the list. Our excellence in wine-making needs to be known throughout the nation and we need to start in our own state. This is not to say that Ohio wineries are doing poorly. Today there are over 150 wineries located in the state of Ohio. In 1997, there were only 75 wineries; that is over a 100% increase. As representative Kozlowski has mentioned, the wine industry is employing thousands of Ohio workers, producing an incredible payroll, and according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, is estimated to have an economic impact of over $600 million per year. The ripple effect of this economic activity is significant, from the farmers who grow the grapes, pickers who gather the product, truck drivers, facilities to store and process the juice, expert wine makers, winery sales and marketing personnel, retailers selling the wines this growing manufacturing industry substantially strengthens and broadens Ohios economy. Thousands of Ohioans benefit from the success of this industry and Ohio has a major investment in the industry. These two pieces of legislation are designed to help jumpstart a new initiative designed to take this industry to the next level and I respectfully ask for your support.

www.house.state.oh.us 77 S. High Street, Columbus, Ohio 43215-6111