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Friday, April 1, 2011

PITT-BRADFORD PROFESSORS RECEIVE GRANT TO STUDY STATE WINE INDUSTRY

PITT-BRADFORD PROFESSORS RECEIVE GRANT
TO STUDY STATE WINE INDUSTRY

BRADFORD, Pa. – Two University of Pittsburgh at Bradford professors have received a $47,400 grant to study the Pennsylvania Wine Industry.

James Dombrosky, assistant professor of hospitality management, and Dr. Shailendra Gajanan, associate professor of economics, received the grant from The Center for Rural Pennsylvania.

The center works with various government groups and organizations to maximize resources for Pennsylvania’s 3.4 million rural residents. In part, it sponsors research projects, collects data on trends in rural Pennsylvania and publishes information and research results about diverse people and communities in rural Pennsylvania.

Unlike other grant-giving organizations, the center does not put out an open call for proposals. Instead, the center chooses topics of importance to the state, then solicits proposals from faculty members at the states’ rural universities. This was the first-time Pitt-Bradford was eligible to submit a proposal.

Dombrosky and Gajanan’s proposal was chosen from among seven applicants to conduct an assessment of the state’s wine industry.

For Dombrosky, the proposal was a natural extension of the doctoral thesis he is writing: “Distribution of Pennsylvania Wine through Restaurants: Barriers and Opportunities.”

But to determine the industry’s current capacity and growth potential, Dombrosky turned to Gajanan.

Both thought that their cross-discipline proposal gave them an edge over other applicants.

“It was a logical partnership,” Dombrosky said.

The pair has just begun its research, which will last a year with the help of an undergraduate research assistant. The project will result in not only an analysis of the wine industry in Pennsylvania, but also identify strategies to grow the industry further, and make policy recommendations to the state government.

“Winemaking is a big industry in Pennsylvania,” said Gajanan, citing a statistic that ranks the state seventh nationally in the production of wine. “The question is, can it get bigger and can the government do something to help it get bigger?”

Dombrosky said that the role of the study in potentially shaping public policy sets it apart from a lot of academic research.

Far from being an excuse to go winery-hopping, Dombrosky’s portion of the research will involve conducting one-on-one and focus group interviews with industry experts, winery operators, grape growers and other stakeholders.

As part of the study, the two professors will compare practices and results in Pennsylvania with those in New York, Ohio, Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Texas, Arizona and Colorado.

Gajanan will look at existing data that can inform policy on production and expansion.

“Are Pennsylvania wineries efficient right now?” he asked. “Is it possible for them to increase production without incurring too much additional cost? Right now nobody knows if there are advantages to greater production.”

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

oh yeah now this is a waste of money! the study of wine ... yes this is very important... lets give money to such a wonderful cause. But will cut your insurance..