Workbooks for Developing Sound Business Plans in Establishing and Operating a Vineyard

Paul Domoto, Faculty, Horticulture Department and Craig Tordsen, P&S, Ag Marketing Resource Center


Establishing and operating a successful vineyard requires a substantial capital investment as well as sound management decisions from the initial planning stages through the sale or use of the harvested crop.  As Iowa began to experience a rapid growth of its viticulture industry in the early 2000s, a fixed vineyard establishment and operating budget was developed.  However, with all the variables growers face in regard in the cost of vines, vine spacing, training system and trellis construction, field dimensions, and alternative cultural practices it was quickly realized that the fixed budget was inadequate in providing them with adequate information for developing a sound business plan. 


Develop interactive vineyard establishment and operating budgets to assist potential grape growers to project expenses and income associated with new vineyard plantings.


In 2005, with support from the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and Agricultural Marketing Resource Center (Ag MRC), three downloadable, interactive workbooks were built using Microsoft Office Excel 2003 based upon the high trellis, single curtain, bi-lateral cordon; vertical shoot positioning (VSP); and the Geneva double curtain training systems.  Each workbook contains options for vine spacing, row length, post spacing, end-post anchoring, alternative cultural practices, and allow users to change the cost of various materials, labor, crop yield, and crop value.  The workbooks were designed with budget sheets extending from pre-plant to 13 years and accumulate expenses and returns from year to year.


Since going online in October 2005, the workbooks have been downloaded 3,371 times.  In so many hands, the workbooks are serving their purpose as educational tools and are allowing potential growers to develop sounder business plans for establishing and operating a vineyard.  In 2006, there were an estimated 325 vineyards in Iowa which strongly suggests that the use of workbooks extends well beyond Iowas borders. 

September 2006

106 Greenhouse Industry (Commercial Horticulture and Forestry

Page last updated: October 4, 2006
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