Commercial Vineyard Workshop Makes Inroads into Northern Iowa

Name and Position/Title:
Michael L. White; Extension Viticulture Specialist

Fiscal Year Submitted:

POW Number & Title:
136 Midwest Grape & Wine Industry Institute

Commercial Vineyard Workshop Makes Inroads into Northern Iowa

The Iowa native winery business has grown exponentially over the last 10 years.  Iowa now has 82 federally licensed wineries and over 400 commercial vineyards covering approximately 1,200 acres.  A recent (February of 2010) economic impact study completed by MKF Research in California showed that the 74 wineries and 400+ commercial winegrape vineyards provided at $234 million economic impact to Iowa in 2007.   Much of this industry growth has occurred in the southern half and eastern third of Iowa.  The predominant corn/soybean area of north central Iowa has dramatically lagged behind the rest of the state in the establishment of vineyards and wineries in Iowa.

What Did You Do?:
Mike White, Viticulture Specialist with ISU Extension’s Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute partnered with Dennis Johnson, Worth County Extension Education Specialist and Dan & Julie Robb, owners of a newly established vineyard sponsored an introductory Iowa commercial winegrape and grape pruning workshop at the Comfort Inn & Suites on I-35 near Northwood, Iowa.  This workshop was held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 10, 2010.

Forty two people attended this workshop, with most staying an additional 1.5 hours after the scheduled adjourn time to ask questions of Mike White while standing in Dan & Julie Robb’s vineyard.   An after meeting evaluation showed that over 80% of the attendees did not have a commercial vineyard.  Four individuals were considering a winery.  Several others were considering planting a vineyard in the near future.   An average overall meeting evaluation score of 4.73 and an average perceived economic value score of 4.50 resulted from this workshop (1 = poor, 5 = excellent).    Hopefully this introductory workshop will plant the seed for the establishment of a few more wineries and commercial vineyards in this part of the state.

White - Robb Vineyard


2010 136 Midwest Grape & Wine Industry Institute

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