Debut of the Iowa Vintners Quality Alliance Certification Program

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension
Iowa State University

Title of Success Story

Debut of the Iowa Vintners Quality Alliance Certification Program

Public Value (now or future)
(Impact:  Who benefits beyond participants and how?  What conditions changed?)

Establishing the integrity and enhancing the reputation of Iowa wines while bolstering consumer confidence will increase the market share of Iowa wines and give local wineries the opportunity to sell their premium wines at a premium price. Thus, helping to grow the Iowa wine industry as a whole.

This will increase the economic impact and job growth of the wine and associated industries within the state.  Example – A 2008 Iowa wine economic impact study conducted by MKF Research showed that for each $1 spent on Iowa wine created another $30.83 in economic activity.  Approximately 93% of wine consumed in Iowa comes from other states and countries.  A shift to purchasing Iowa wines will not only positively impact the state economy but will have the added benefit of a much lower environmental impact.

(Why is it important to address this issue with education?  What are the desired changes?)

The Iowa winegrape industry is still relatively young (approximately 12 years old). Experience and knowledge levels remain below the more mature wine regions in the U.S.   The two main goals of the Iowa Vintners Quality Alliance are to increase the overall quality of Iowa wines and increase the market share of wine produced in the state of Iowa.

(Outputs: activities, numbers reached, publications, products)

The Iowa Vintners Quality Alliance (IVQA) started with the establishment of the Midwest Grape & Wine Industry Institute that was approved by the Iowa Board of Regents in September of 2006.   Beginning at that time, Dr. Murli Dharmadhikari (Director of this Institute) and his staff have been involved with many wine quality training activities and have participated in many Iowa Wine Growers Association (IWGA) board meetings and conferences with a goal to help the IWGA develop an IVQA program. Well over 1,000+ industry members have participated in these training events over the last several years.  A commercial wine analysis lab has been created at Iowa State in the Food Sciences building to perform the IVQA chemical wine analysis.  More than 20 people have been trained to perform the IVQA sensory analysis.

RESULTS (Outcomes:  specific changes that occurred in Learning, Actions, Conditions; how outcomes were measured)

The first lot of 43 commercial wines was submitted for IVQA certification in December of 2011.  Thirty five of these wines (81%) passed both the chemical and sensory analysis and qualified for the IVQA bottle seal. The first five Iowa wineries to have their wines qualify for this certification were:

          Park Farm Winery – Bankston, IA
          Santa Maria Winery – Carroll, IA
          Summerset Winery – Indianola, IA
          Tassel Ridge Winery – Leighton, IA
          The Winery at Kirkwood – Cedar Rapids, IA

The IVQA wines from these wineries will start to show up on Iowa store shelves in January of 2012. 

Iowa wineries can now submit commercial wine samples on a monthly basis to be tested for this certification.

Desired Changes

The intent of the IVQA program is to:

  1. Improve wine making practices in Iowa
  2. Increase the overall quality of Iowa wines
  3. Increase the overall sales of Iowa wines

Extension Lead(s)
(name, position, counties served, contact information)

Dr. Murli Dharmadhikari and staff at the Iowa State University Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute.

Dr. Murli Dharmadhikari, Director
Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute
2563 Food Science Bldg.
Ames, IA 50011-1061

Your Position

­­­­­_____Field                                        __X__Campus                         _____Both

POW # and Team

 ­­­­­_____100 Corn and Soybean Production and Protection
­­­­­_____ 110 Dairy
­­­­­_____ 120 Farm and Business Management
­­­­­__X__ 130 Horticulture: Commercial and Consumer
­­­­­_____ 140 Iowa Beef Center
­­­­­_____ 150 Iowa Pork Industry Center
­­­­­_____ 160 Natural Resources and Stewardship

ANR Priority (select all that apply)

­­­­­_____Global Food Security and Hunger
­­­­­__X__Regional Food Systems
­­­­­_____Natural Resources & Environmental Stewardship
­­­­­_____Food Safety
­­­­­_____Sustainable Energy – Biofuels & Biobased Products
­­­­­_____Climate Change

Knowledge Areas: (USDA categories)


Continuing Story

__X___ No                _____ Yes (If continuing, what story?)

Major Partners or Collaborators

ISU Midwest Grape & Wine Industry Institute
Iowa Wine Growers Association

Where story took place
(Region, campus, multi-regional)

Statewide program

Fiscal Year


Multi-state or Integrated (Ext + Research)


Funding Source

The IVQA program is funded by IVQA members of the Iowa Wine Growers Association.


Iowa Vintners Quality Alliance, IVQA, Wine, Dharmadhikari, Iowa Wine Growers Association


Page last updated: January 10, 2012
Page maintained by Julie Honeick,