TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew and Senate Government Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee Chair James Beach that would require the Department of Transportation, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, to establish the “Viticulture Trail Sign Program” passed the Senate State Government, Wagering, Tourism, and Historic Preservation Committee today.
“The growth of viticulture throughout New Jersey and the tourist destinations our wineries have become is something to promote and generate awareness towards,” said Senator Van Drew (D-Atlantic/Cape May/Cumberland). “Over 100,000 people visited our state’s wineries in 2016 and every year that number continues to grow. The ‘Viticulture Trail Sign Program’ would be destined for success, welcoming new visitors to enjoy our wineries and New Jersey.”
The bill, S-1435, would create the sign program to provide awareness and directional guidance for tourists to viticulture in the state through roadway signs.
Under the bill, the Department of Transportation, in consultation with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, would establish a publicized visual art competition for aesthetically pleasing, original art to be displayed on the viticulture trail signage. The DOT and the council would select the winning submitted art and the installation of the trail signs would be done as soon as the production has been completed.
“New Jersey has grown to become one of the largest producers of wine in the nation,” said Senator Beach (Burlington/Camden). “This program would make our successful wine industry even more recognizable by expanding our capabilities to inform tourists about what New Jersey has to offer in the world of viticulture.”
Applications for possible trail sign locations to identify and direct people to wineries and other viticulture locations on all eligible roads, including state roads, are welcomed.
The bill was released from committee with a vote of 4-0, and next heads to the full Senate for further consideration.