Wine industry, tourism booms in Wisconsin

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Wisconsin's wine industry has grown substantially since 2000 when it had just 13 wineries.

Wisconsin Public Radio reports that Wisconsin has more than 140 wineries, making it a destination for wine tourists. People made nearly 2 million visits to wineries in Wisconsin in 2015. The state saw an estimated nearly $50 million in direct spending on wine tourism.

Fisher King Winery winemaker Alwyn Fitzgerald is president of the Wisconsin Winery Association. Fitzgerald says the growth is part of the larger local food trend. He says having more wineries in the state gives people a variety of places to try.

Because of the state's cold climate, the only varieties that can survive are "cold hardy hybrid grapes," rather than classic wine grapes such as cabernet and riesling.

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