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Wine and chocolate weekend

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It is an industry on the climb in Vermont -- Wine. And when you add chocolate to the equation -- it's a tradition that organizers say will keep the grape business growing across the state.

It's a classic combination -- Wine and Chocolate. And it was the center of attention this weekend across the state.

Hallery Brunet said Sunday, "We drove out from Williston to sample some wine and chocolate. What's not to like about wine and chocolate?!"

This marks the third annual Wine and Chocolate Weekend, hosted by the Vermont Grape and Wine Council. 15 wineries across the state opened their doors to visitors for free samples of local pairings.

David Boyden of Boyden Winery commented, "It's nice because it allows people to enjoy our products in a different way and that really helps."

For larger operations like Boyden Valley Winery in Cambridge owners say this time of year before Valentines day is always decent business. But the event has doubled their typical foot traffic this weekend.

Although the 2-day event focuses on Vermont's growing wine culture, the sweet stuff was a big hit. 12 chocolateers were featured at wineries across the state. At Boyden the company Cacoa Matteo created delicious morsels with spirits right from the vineyard.

Cacoa Matteo's Matteo Campbell said, "People love chocolate to begin with. People who like chocolate it speaks for itself. Then you add in the incredible flavors that you get from the wines here and the spirits, and it amplifies everything that those chocolates have within them."

For small scale operations like Hillis' Sugarbush Farm and Vineyard in Colchester. Owners Jim and Judy Hillis say the event brings in folks during a quiet time of the year.

"Well we definitely love having the extra people. Meeting new people, having new friends, and we've definitely this weekend got some new clientele that will definitely be back in the future," said Jim Hillis.

Vermont Grape and Wine Council members say that over the last decade the wine industry in Vermont has been on a steady climb. For the smaller up and coming businesses, Hillis says this event helps spread the word.

"People are definitely keeping more track of Vermont Wineries and everyone has their own winery that they love the most. And it's definitely increased the buzz and I think it will in the future," said Hillis.

A sweet tradition that keeps the grape business growing across the state.

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