In November 2006, a one-page vineyard survey was mailed to 226 current and previous members of the Maryland Grape Growers Association. The total membership database included 294 individuals, however, only 226 surveys were mailed out because 68 members were determined to be either non-growers (libraries, govt and educational institutions, etc.), or dual members of the same household/vineyard, or out-of-state growers.
A second survey was mailed in late December to all non-responders, and an e-mail based survey was also distributed. Of the 226 surveys distributed, the Maryland Winery Association collected and compiled 25 surveys related to the wine grape growing activity of Maryland Wineries. One new winery in the state reported that they grow exclusively for the purposes of making Vinegar, so their results are not included in the winery totals presented throughout the report.
In addition to the wineries, 157 non-winery responses were returned. A total of 44 people did not return the survey, but 33 of that number had expired membership, so only 11 current members were silent, resulting in a 94% participation rate (182 out of 193) . Since not all members participated, and we can't be sure that all Maryland grape growers belong to the Association, results provided are the best estimate available but probably under-represent the total Maryland grape growing activity. However, we are fairly confident that all of the Maryland Commercial Grower activity has been captured.
In addition to the 68 confirmed non-growers on the MGGA's roles, 53 members responded that they currently do not grow grapes, but of that number, fifteen have plans to be selling grapes to a Maryland Winery by the year 2010. Many non-commercial growers have test plots and are considering expanding, while others enjoy grape growing as a hobby and have no desire to expand.
In total, thirty-four individuals have plans to become Commercial growers by 2010, a 148% increase, however, many of these will be among the 19 people who will be starting a winery by 2010, so their impact on in-state grape availability for wineries could be a wash.
When forecasting annual growth by year, on the bottom chart below, new grower counts are decreased by the number of new wineries opening that year. For example, in 2007 there are 7 new Commercial Growers, but 5 new wineries, so the net is two new Commercial Growers in 2007.
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