Vintners Quality Alliance Program

Name:  Murli Dharmadhikari, Director and Extension Enologist, Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute

Fiscal Year Submitted: 
2010

POW Title and Number:
136 Midwest Gape & Wine Industry Institute

Title of Success Story: 
Vintners Quality Alliance Program

Situation: 
The wine industry in Iowa has grown tremendously over the last ten years. In 2000 there were 13 wineries, 5 commercial vineyards and 15 acres planted with grapes. As of June, 2010 there are 86 licensed wineries and 412+ commercial vineyards in the state covering over 1,200 acres. There is great potential for further growth. Many winegrowers are “self-starters” with little or no formal training in winemaking. This has resulted in inconsistent wine quality and a potentially poor reputation for IA produced wines.

Objective: 
Raising the quality of the wines produced in Iowa is vital to the growth of the industry. The winemakers need to produce quality wines to compete well in the market place, improve profit margin and make their business sustainable. To achieve these objectives we proposed the adoption of the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) plan to the Iowa grape and wine industry on a voluntary basis to serve as a standardizing entity to ensure quality wine production in IA.

Activities/output

The Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute (MGWII) worked in collaboration with the Iowa Wine Growers Association to form the Vintners Quality Alliance (VQA) program.
In year 2008, the organization was formed and VQA operation guidelines were established.  In order to establish the current status of wine quality a benchmark wine quality survey was performed. As a part of the quality evaluation survey, 107 wine samples were submitted.  These wines were subjected to both chemical and sensory analysis.

Survey Results
The results of the basic chemical and sensory analysis are shown in table 1 and 2.

Table 1: Basic Chemical Analysis

Category

# Samples

pH

TA (g/L)

VA (g/L)

OH (%)

FS O2 (ppm)

TSO2 (ppm)

All Wines

107

3.44

8.2

0.84

12.3

24

128

Red Wines

67

3.50

8.3

0.89

12.4

25

120

White Wines

40

3.35

8.0

0.77

12.1

22

143

Table 2: Sensory Analysis Results

 

#  Samples

Samples with Positive Comments

Samples with Negative Comments

Reds

64

36

54

Whites

40

19

39

The key results of survey indicated the following quality flaws in the wine samples submitted for the survey.

Major flaws:

Minor flaws:

Based on the survey results the industry has agreed to adopt the VQA plan
The quality standards have been established and the industry panel has been trained to evaluate the wines.

Following the 2010 vintage the VQA plan will be implemented and the wine institute will help with the wine quality evaluation.

Long-term results:
Adoption of the VQA plan will improve the quality of Iowa grown wines
 It will enhance the reputation of Iowa wines
 It will also increase market share of Iowa made wines and business profitability

Contact:
Dr. Murli R. Dharmadhikari
Director, Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute
2312 Food Science Building
Ames, IA 50011-1061
515-294-7211 or murli@iastate.edu

2010

136 Midwest Gape & Wine Industry Institute

Last updated: August 31, 2010
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