"This ruling is great new for our state's wine industry," Murray said. "Through hard work, research, and creativity Washington state has built a world-class wine industry. Now, consumers all over the nation will be able to enjoy our outstanding Washington wines and our wineries will benefit from increased orders.”
Over the past decade, wine has become a $2.9 billion industry in Washington state. Washington is now the second-largest wine producer in the nation, with over 300 wineries – nearly double the number five years ago. Wine production has doubled over the past decade, with wine grapes now the state's 4th largest fruit crop. The industry supports more than 13,000 related jobs.
Murray has been an instrumental player in supporting that rapid industry growth. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, over the past several years, she has worked to:
- Boost USDA's Market Access Program funding – which allows industry groups to get reimbursed for overseas marketing and promotional activities – from $90 million to $200 million annually;
- Secure $8.4 million over the past two years to widen U.S. Highway 12 from Burbank to Walla Walla, making this key tourist route safer and less congested;
- Secure $850,000 to develop the motherblock – a disease and virus- free rootstock for distribution to new and existing growers – and support other viticulture research throughout the Northwest;
- and Secure $250,000 in FY 2004 to support the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center being established in Prosser.