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RALEIGH, NC (AP) — A study finds North Carolina’s once-fledgling wine industry, grape growers and related businesses are directly responsible for employing about 3,800 and those workers generate another 3,700 jobs.

Gov. Bev Perdue’s office said Wednesday the state’s wine and grape industry generated an impact of $1.28 billion on the state’s economy in 2009, an increase of almost 60 percent since 2005. More than half the jobs directly tied to the industry come from tourism, as people visit the 106 wineries now operating in nearly half the state’s counties.

North Carolina ranks ninth in wine and grape production in the United States.

The study, done for the state Commerce Department, is being released as the state celebrates September as Wine Appreciation Month.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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