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FILE - In this Sept. 20, 2004, photo provided by the University of Minnesota, a bunch of cold-hearty Marquette grapes grow on a vine in Carver County, Minn. Minnesota's wine industry is no longer a novelty for a state known for its frosty climate and presently boasts over 100 vineyards and 34 wineries according to a recent survey and contributed $59 million to the state's economy in 2011 alone. (AP Photo/University of Minnesota, David L. Hansen,File)

Frosty Minnesota's wine industry faces challenges

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News Bemidji,Minnesota 56619 http://www.bemidjipioneer.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/fieldimages/2/0718/b673ac66ea6adc17370f6a706700cd5d.jpg?itok=pS9nakgI
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Frosty Minnesota's wine industry faces challenges
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ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A new study says Minnesota's wine industry is growing up, but faces challenges.

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The University of Minnesota Extension study says Minnesota's wine industry contributed $59 million to the state's economy and supported 3,250 employees in 2011 alone. The industry barely existed before the introduction of cold-hardy grapes in the 1990s. And Minnesota's grape production continues to increase, particularly for the new Marquette red wine variety.

But the study also says Minnesota's wine industry is no longer a novelty in a state known for its frosty climate.

Extension researcher Brigid Tuck says sustaining its growth will require savvy marketing. Almost 63 percent of Minnesota wine is purchased at wineries, and most host special events such as weddings. She says agritourism endeavors such as wine trails also offer opportunities for boosting sales.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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