Two Rivers Grape & Wine Enhancing Agricultural Products

Michael White, Field Crops/Viticulture Specialist, Central Iowa

Problem

The Iowa grape and winery industry is very young. In 1999 there were 13 wineries and approximately 5 wine grape vineyards covering approximately 32 acres. Today there are 34 licensed wineries and approximately 236 commercial wine grape vineyards covering over 500+ acres.

A typical wine grape vineyard in Iowa can net around $1500/acre per year with an average yield of 3.5 tons/acre once the vineyard is at full production. Native wineries are currently paying around $1,000 for a ton of wine grapes. An average yield of 3.5 tons of wine grapes will produce 450 gallons of wine at a retail value of approximately $26,250. The money is in the wine!

Response

In October of 2001, Mike White Field Crops/Viticulture Specialist set up a cooperative informational meeting at Summerset Winery in Indianola. The intent was to determine if there were enough wine grape growers interested in forming a cooperative venture. Fifty two people attended this organization meeting. The decision was to move forward. Twelve steering committee members were selected. Mike White, ISU Extension Crops Specialist, Craig Tordsen and others at the ISU Extension Valued Added Agriculture group helped to guide this effort over a period of 3 years. Mike White acted as one of their advisors and ex-officio secretary through their 73 committee/board meetings. The ISU Extension Valued Added Agriculture group prepared the feasibility study and business plan. ISU Extension's support and input were absolutely essential in keeping this project moving forward to completion.

Impact

Two Rivers Grape and Wine Cooperative became a reality on January 15th, 2005. This cooperative broke escrow requirements to build a new $2.3 million Winery on the east side of I-35 across from of Lakeside Casino in Osceola, Iowa. The cooperative sold 130 shares to 86 members. Over $500,000 in grants, land, donations, tax credits and low interest loans were granted to this cooperative. Over 70% of the membership are growing or intend to grow wine grapes in the near future. The cooperative winery plans to be open in November of 2005. This cooperative winery will have a positive impact on this young industry.

 

Feb. 7, 2005
121 -- Adding Value and Enhancing Agricultural Products

Page last updated: July 9, 2006
Page maintained by Linda Schultz, lschultz@iastate.edu