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Van Drew, Cruz-Perez Bill Requiring EDA to Establish Loan Program for Vineyards and Wineries’ Capital Expenses Advances

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senator Jeff Van Drew and Senator Nilsa Cruz-Perez requiring the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture, to establish a loan program for certain vineyards and wineries to pay qualified capital expenses was approved today by the Senate Economic Growth Committee.

Under the bill (S-2727), the EDA, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture would provide loans to eligible vineyards or wineries to pay for qualified capital expenses.  The loan amount would be no less than $10,000 and no greater than $100,000 to each eligible vineyard or winery, bear a rate of interest between three and five percent, and be repayable over a term of up to ten years, as determined by the authority and department.  A vineyard or winery that plans to use funds from the prospective loan to acquire more real property in order to expand its business would be eligible for higher loan amounts with lower interest rates as determined by the authority and department.

“New Jersey wines are widely recognized for their quality and are attracting both local consumers and tourism. We need to encourage and assist our local entrepreneurs in growing their vibrant businesses so that this industry can continue to thrive,” said Senator Van Drew.

“Encouraging and promoting economic growth in this burgeoning sector of our economy makes good economic sense. The entire State will benefit from the industry’s success, and with its growth consumers will have more local and delicious wines from our award-winning wineries to enjoy,” said Senator Cruz-Perez.

S-2727 cleared the Senate Economic Growth Committee by a vote of 5-0 and will next head to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee for consideration.

Another piece of legislation, SJR-58, sponsored by Senator Van Drew and Senator Jim Beach, would designate the last full week of September of each year as “New Jersey Wine Week” to acknowledge the significant contributions and accomplishments of the New Jersey wine industry. The bill also cleared the Senate Economic Growth Committee by a vote of 5-0.