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Extension Focus - Vineyard Improvement Program

Vineyard Improvement Program is accepting applications!Image of Concord vineyard in need of replanting.

Lake Erie Regional Grape Program (716-792-2800)

As a part of the Vineyard Improvement Program proposed at the Concord Grape Summit in April 2018, the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, through the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program, invites applications from owners of vineyard operations who are interested in removing unwanted Concord vineyards in order to replant grape varieties or other agricultural crops.

New York State has pledged to invest more than $1.35 million to help Concord grape growers renovate vineyards, plant new vines or diversify vineyard operations.  The Concord grape industry has always been an integral part of the economy, in both the Lake Erie and Finger Lakes regions, by providing quality grapes for processing into juice, jams, jellies and sweet wines.  Grape production is an important foundation of the economy of Chautauqua County and the Concord industry is the economic backbone of the towns and villages in the Lake Erie region.  This program aims to strengthen the grape industry by encouraging the elimination of abandoned Concord vineyards which are a reservoir of disease and insect pests, and establishing healthy agricultural crops, be it Concords, other grape varieties, or another agricultural commodity.

Map of New York counties where the Vineyard Improvement Program can take place.
Counties (in purple) where growers can apply for the Vineyard Improvement Program.

The Lake Erie Regional Grape Program (LERGP) will be the point of contact for those interested in participating.  Staff from LERGP will visit those vineyards proposed for the program and will be able to assist growers with developing a business plan and budget that are required for the application.  In addition, LERGP staff will provide information to growers to help them to decide the best plan moving forward.

This program is open to vineyard operations in the Southern Tier Region of New York State which includes: Allegany, Broome, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Chemung, Chenango, Delaware, Erie, Niagara, Steuben, Schuyler, Tompkins and Tioga counties.

Interested parties can visit the Lake Erie Regional Grape Program webpage for more details and to begin the application process.  If approved, the state will reimburse the grower up to $1,500 per vineyard acre, not to exceed $50,000 per applicant.  Applications are currently being accepted and will continue to be accepted until October 2022.

Please view the flier for more information.