RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WVEC) - Gov. Terry McAuliffe says Virginia wineries sold a record 6.6 million bottles during fiscal 2016.

That's an increase of 6 percent over the previous year and 34 percent over fiscal 2010.

Virginia has 285 wineries, the fifth-most of any state.

The state's cider industry is also growing rapidly. Cider sales in fiscal 2016 were up 52 percent from the previous year, with more than 416,000 cases sold. Virginia has 16 cider producers, the sixth-most of any state.

A 2012 economic study found that the wine industry employs 4,700 people and contributes nearly $750 million a year to Virginia's economy.

“Virginia wines and ciders are continuing to increase their robust sales and contributing to a more diversified Virginia agricultural sector,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These vineyards and orchards are providing jobs, revenue and expanded tourism opportunities, especially in many of our more rural areas across the Commonwealth. With more than 285 wineries and 16 cideries, Virginia is a preeminent destination for wine and cider lovers. The Virginia wine and cider industries, along with our craft beer and distilled spirits industries, play an important role in our efforts to build a new Virginia economy.”

Virginia has received increased wine media coverage over the past several years, most recently in Wine Enthusiast magazine’s June edition, Virginia Revolutionaries; and Food & Wine magazine’s May issue, Best Virginia Wines & Their Classic Region Counterparts.

Earlier in August, Virginia ranked in the top 10 in USA Today’s Readers’ Choice: Best of America’s wine regions in several categories, including:

  • Best Tasting Room: Early Mountain Vineyards (ranked #1)
  • Best Wine Festival: Virginia Wine Summit (ranked #4)
  • Best Winery Tour: King Family Vineyards (ranked #7)
  • Best Wine Country Hotel: The Salamander Inn & Spa (ranked #4) and The Inn at Little Washington (ranked #10)

For more information about the Virginia wine industry, click here or call 804-344-8200.