Michael L. White, Extension Viticulture Specialist, Central Area
The Iowa grape and wine industry has grown dramatically over the last 8 years. The number of licensed wineries in the state has grown from 13 to 71 since the beginning of 2000 and the number of winegrape vineyards has increased from 5 to 384 covering 875+ acres during this same time. Most of this growth has occurred in the Central, Eastern and Western regions of Iowa due to population demographics and the proximity to educational training and technical assistance. Potential growers and vineyards in extreme northern and southwest Iowa have not had ready access to these same educational opportunities.
ISU County extension directors in Clay County (Spencer), Cerro Gordo County (Mason City) and Page County (Clarinda) each offered a 4-night series of Winegrape 101 classes during the winter of 2007/08. Mike White, ISU Extension Viticulture Specialist taught each one of these classes. A local winery owner was brought into the final session of each of these classes to discuss establishing a winery.
An average of 25 very enthusiastic people attended the classes held at each location, 75 in total. Thirty of these attendees indicated that they will be planting an average of 1.5 acres each (45 acres total) in 2008. A typical 3.5 ton/acre producing vineyard has the potential of producing 525 gallons of wine with a retail value of $26,000 acre at $10 per 750 ml bottle. Thirty-one attendees indicated that they were considering establishing a winery sometime in the future. The cost of establishing a small native winery will often fall between $250,000 - $500,000 minimum.
The overall end of workshop evaluation from these three classes was 4.91 (1 poor 5 excellent). 100% of the respondents would recommend this workshop to someone else.
131 Commercial Horticulture Production Methods & Systems
Page last updated:
April 11, 2008
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