Illinois’ wine industry is growing, and a “census” of sorts will help vintners realize how much it’s grown in the past five years. The USDA will start working with the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association in 2012 to conduct the survey, measuring 2011 wine production. David Ward, a crop statistician with USDA Illinois Field Office, says 500 surveys will be mailed in January to all known vineyards and wineries in the state.
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“To them, this is very important data to see how the industry is growing, know what types of grapes are grown in the state, and possibly help legislatures understand the industry a little bit better,” says Ward. Ward says a follow-up survey will be mailed in February, followed by personal interviews and field work until the results are released sometime in June. He says grapes for Illinois’ wine industry grew from taking up 380 acres in the 1990s to nearly 1,000 acres in 2007.