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Thursday, Sep. 01, 2011

Umpqua CC gets $1.25M federal grant for wine incubator

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Acting U.S. Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank today announced a $1.25 million U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant to Umpqua Community College of Roseburg, Ore., to build a small business incubator to support the viticulture sector.

The project is expected to create as many as 500 jobs per year in southern Oregon, according to projections developed by Chris Lake, director of the Southern Oregon Wine Institute at UCC.

"It is a great way to begin the school year," Lake told Wine Press Northwest.

Funds will allow Lake to purchase equipment for clients to make wine in the Danny Lang Center.

"The Obama Administration is committed to creating jobs, encouraging innovation and improving our nation’s economic competitiveness," Blank said in a news release. "This EDA-funded project will help bring high-quality jobs and economic growth to the region by fueling the growth of the Roseburg viticulture industry."

Oregon’s southern region has experienced a high rate of unemployment, but the wine industry has provided a boost to the economy.

In July, the Oregon Wine Board made public a study which indicates wine has become a $2.7 billion industry for the state. That report, developed by Full Glass Research in Berkeley, Calif., showed a nearly 50 percent increase since 2005.