Michael L. White, Crops/Viticulture Field Specialist, Central Area
Wine festivals are common ag-tourism events used in mature winegrape regions of the U.S. These unique events are used to promote the local grape and wine industry and stimulate local economic activity. Unfortunately no expertise was available in Iowa to organize wine festivals.
ISU Extension partnered with the Iowa Wine Growers Association to hold a "How to Organize a Wine Festival" workshop on 8-24-04 at Summerset Winery in Indianola, Iowa. Staff from the Indianola Chamber of Commerce along with 44 others attended. Mike White and staff from the Warren County ISU Extension office worked closely with the Indianola Chamber of Commerce over a period of 4 months to organize a wine festival and Warren County vineyard tour on 9-24-05.
The first ever Iowa Wine Festival was held in Indianola, Iowa on September 24, 2005. A "free" self guided 12-vineyard tour was held in conjunction with the festival. An ISU Extension information booth was set up on site. Approximately 1,000 people paid between $15 to $20 each to attend the festival. Over 120 vineyard visits were reported. Ten Iowa wineries participated. A week long media blitz led by the Des Moines Register, MediaCom TV, and several radio stations helped promote the event. Who Radio used interviews taken at this event to air five 3-minute Iowa wine industry infomercials each day, October 3-9th. The overall impact resulted in $75,000+ in local economic activity with increased statewide industry promotion, awareness and education.
October 26, 2005
121-- Adding Value and Enhancing Agricultural Products
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