#187 - December 30, 2011

Consider building some bat houses this winter

(Left) Bat box located at UC-Davis research vineyard 7-16-09

Why a bat house? Bats are essential for maintaining healthy ecosystems. Most bats eat huge amounts of insects, including crop pests and many of the nasty bugs that harass outdoor gatherings. According to Bat Conservation International, a single bat can eat 500 to 1,000 mosquitoes in a single hour.

Eight species of bats are found in the state of Iowa. The Indiana bat, is a federally endangered species and is vary rare. Five species -- the northern myotis, the silver-haired, the eastern pipistrelle, the red, and the hoary bat are either solitary or are found primarily in dense woodland areas near water. The big brown and little brown are the two bats that are commonly use buildings in the summer for colonies. The big brown bat can also be found in buildings in winter.

Attracting some insect eaters around your yard, vineyard or winery by building a bat house(s) might make a good winter project before the pruning season starts. There are some helpful hints on building bat houses from Bat Conservation International (BCI). This organization promotes understanding and protection of bats through publications and products. BCI offers some plans for do-it-yourself bat houses, or you can also check with your local county conservation board office. Many county conservationists also have bat house plans on hand.

PS: I have a bat house on my property. It warms my heart knowing that these little guys are eating mosquitoes all night long FREE OF CHARGE! mlw

Further Resources:

  1. Bat Conservation International: http://www.batcon.org/
  2. Flying Animals Driving You Batty, 7-1-11, ISU Extension News Release:
  3. Bat Conservation International bat house plan: http://www.nwf.org/~/media/Content/Specialty%20Programs/Garden%20for%20Wildlife/SingleChamberBHPlans.ashx
  4. How to Build a Bat House – National Wildlife Foundation:
  5. Bats of Missouri, Univ. of MO Extension Publication (bat house design plan included): http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g9460


1st Five Wineries to Receive “Iowa Vintners Quality Alliance” Seals

The Iowa Vintners Quality Alliance (IVQA) program is off to a good start. After several years of hard work by the Iowa Wine Growers Association and the ISU Midwest Grape & Wine Industry Institute these five Iowa wineries are first to qualify their quality wines to carry the VQA seal:

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

The Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute's Wine Lab is still asking for Iowa wine samples to be submitted by the 1st week of each coming month. If you are not currently an Iowa VQA member, you can become a member by contacting Joan O’Brien at the Iowa Wine Growers Association at joano@agribiz.org or 515-262-8323.

Further details about the Iowa VQA program can be found in Wine Grower News #186 here:


Free: Northern Grapes Webinar Series – 2nd Tuesday of Each Month

When: 2nd Tuesday of each month starting in January 2012

Where: On the WWW. Presentations will be archived for later

This series of monthly, one-hour webinars will cover special topics on growing, producing, and marketing wines made from coldhardy Northern winegrape cultivars. Webinars will feature speakers from the Northeast and Midwest sharing their expertise and recent research on topics essential to cold-climate growers, winemakers, and winery owners. The webinar format will allow you to view the program over the internet, ask questions, and interact with the speakers from the privacy of your home desktop (Some bandwidth requirements apply). The series will begin with:

Managing Acidity in the Winery
January 10, 2012
12:00 Noon Eastern (11:00 AM Central)
7:00 PM Eastern (6:00 PM Central)

Cold-hardy cultivars such as Frontenac, St. Croix, La Crescent and Marquette are known for retaining acidity at ripeness, and managing it in the winery can present challenges for winemakers. Dr. Murli Dharmadhikari, Enologist and Director of the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute at Iowa State University, and Dr. Anna Katharine Mansfield, assistant professor of enology at Cornell University, will discuss chemical and biological methods for reducing acidity in wines made from Northern cultivars. Dr Tim Martinson, director of the Northern Grapes Project, will provide an orientation to the webinar series, and a brief overview of the USDA-funded Northern Grapes Project.

Registration is free, but required prior to each monthly session: To attend, please fill out the online registration form posted at: https://cornell.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_5pEmyXKrP6YODn6
One week before the webinar, those who register will be sent the web address (URL) for the Adobe Connect session. PLEASE NOTE: Only those who have completed the online registration form will receive connection details to participate in the webinar.

Next Webinar: February 14, 2012. Nuts and Bolts of Canopy Management, with Michael White (Iowa State) and Tim Martinson (Cornell).


Reminder - 26th Annual Kansas Grape Growers and Winemakers Conference

When: Friday & Saturday, January 6 & 7th, 2012
Where: Holiday Inn Holidome – Topeka, KS
Cost: Conference Registration - $130
Friday Wine Judging Buffet - $30
Saturday Reception & Banquet - $65
Sponsored by: Kansas Grape Growers and Winemakers Association
Full Details: http://kansasgrapesandwines.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=99&Itemid=169
Contact Person: Mike Steinert at steinmic@ksmail.net


Midwest Grape & Wine Conference Early Bird Registration Ends Dec 31

What: 27th Midwest Grape & Wine Conference and Trade Show
When: Conference: February 9-12, 2012 and Trade Show: February 10-11, 2012
Where: St. Charles Convention Center, St. Charles, MO
Full Details & Registration: http://www.midwestgrapeandwineconference.com/

FYI: A Noiret wine from Two Saints Winery – St. Charles, IA was selected to be served at the Wine & Dine held at this event on February 11, 2012.


MN Cold Climate Conference Early Bird Registration Ends Dec. 31

Complete Details Here:


Great River Vineyard/Nursery 15th Annual Learn to Grow Grapes Seminar

When: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, January 21, 2012

Where: VFW Post 8729 - 115 N Franklin St. Lake City, MN 55041-1067 (651-345-2646)

Topics Covered: Site Selection, Soil Preparation and Planting Weed Control, Vineyard Layout and Trellising, Spray Program, Pruning, Vineyard Pests, Cold Hardy Varieties, Markets and Marketing

Cost: $65 each, $40 for additional people in party

Pre-registration: prior to January 10th is requested.

Sponsored by: Great River Vineyard & Nursery

Register here: http://www.greatrivervineyard.com/

More info: ph: 877-345-3531 or grv@mchsi.com


Energy Use in Breweries and Wineries – Webinar

What: FREE Webinar - Cheers, A Toast to Renewable Energy Use in Breweries and Wineries
When: Tue, Jan 24, 2012 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM CST
Sponsored by: Center for Sustainable Tourism, East Carolina University

This free webinar will focus on ways to plan and implement the use of renewable energy at wineries and breweries. These methods include Sierra Nevada Brewing Company's usage of solar power, energy generation through biogas, and the implementation of hydrogen fuel cells. Details of Cogenra Solar's combination of photovoltaic electricity with hot water generation will comprise the second half of the webinar.

The webinar will feature two guest experts:

  • Mandi McKay, Assistant Sustainability Director, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company. Ms. McKay is one of two full-time coordinators that directly manage the brewery's environmental programs including energy generation, recycling, composting, conservation and efficiency, and employee education. Sierra Nevada Brewing Co has been recognized as an environmental leader and strives to be an example of a sustainable business model which successfully balances social, environmental, and economic goals. The Sustainability team’s principle philosophy is to “Close the Loop” on as many processes as possible within the brewery’s operations.
  • Kate Sherwood, Vice President of Sales, Cogenra Solar. Ms. Sherwood has a proven sales and project development track record in the solar industry. Prior to joining Cogenra as the vice president of U.S. sales, Ms. Sherwood held leadership positions at SunPower (SPWRA) and Recurrent Energy. Throughout the course of her career, she’s developed more than $150 million in distributed solar projects for high-profile clients including Kaiser Permanente, Macy’s and Applied Materials. She previously gained marketing, finance and consulting experience at Accenture (ACN), Sun Microsystems (ORCL) and the U.S. Department of Justice.

Register here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/522203561


2nd Annual Sustainable Viticulture Conference – Asheville, NC


What: The Sustainable Appalachian Viticulture Institute and Jewel of the Blue Ridge Vineyard, in conjunction with Warren Wilson College in Asheville NC, will host the 2nd Annual North Carolina Conference on Sustainable Viticulture. This all-day conference will feature speakers
from around the USA who will share information on how to grow grapes organically or biodynamically, which grapes are best for our steep mountain slopes and climate conditions, how to market your vineyard and winery, practical aspects of using various cover crops between rows of grapes, some of the many ways to generate value-added products from grapes including neutraceuticals, and how to make wines from organically/biodynmically
grown grapes.

Where: Warren Wilson College - Asheville, NC

Phillip Hart, owner/winemaker of AmByth Estate – Templeton, CA
Chuck Blethen, owner of Jewel of the Blue Ridge Vineyard

Cost: $40 paid in advance, $50 walk-in

Details and registration here: http://www.JeweloftheBlueRidge.com/ - click on the link near the Warren Wilson College logo.

Further info: Chuck Blethen, Jewel of the Blue Ridge Vineyard, 828-606-3130, Chuck@JeweloftheBlueRidge.com


Notable Quotables

“Let food be your medicine”
~ Hippocrates

“Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

“I think it is a great error to consider a heavy tax on wines as a tax on luxury.
On the contrary, it is a tax on the health of our citizens.”
~ Thomas Jefferson


Marketing Tidbits

  1. Harvard Study: Social Networks Do Little To Influence Taste And Interests, 12-20-11 – Tech Crunch: http://techcrunch.com/2011/12/20/harvard-study-social-networks-do-little-to-influence-taste-and-interests/


Articles of Interest

  1. Using Fungi-Treated Oak Chips to Increase the Extraction of Oak Character into Aging Wines, 12-20-11, The Academic Wino: http://www.academicwino.com/2011/12/using-fungi-treated-oak-chips-to.html
  2. NY: Wine on Tap Thriving in US, 12-21-11 – the Drinks Business:
  3. IA: Iowa Wines to Debut VQA Seal, 12-21-11 Wines & Vines Magazine: http://www.winesandvines.com/template.cfm?section=news&content=95621&htitle=Iowa%20Wines%20to%20Debut%20VQA%20Seal&
  4. Grape seed proanthocyanidins prevent spread of skin cancer in vitro, 12-22-11 – the Examiner: http://www.examiner.com/holistic-health-in-salt-lake-city/grape-seed-proanthocyanidins-prevent-spread-of-skin-cancer-vitro
  5. SD: SD Wine Pavilion On Wastebook, 12-22-11 – Keloland TV:
  6. IA: Algona Winery’s on Track, 12-26-11 – Mason City Globe Gazette:
  7. IL: USDA plans census of Illinois wineries, 12-28-11 – State Journal Register: http://www.sj-r.com/top-stories/x1282429477/USDA-to-census-Illinois-wineries


Neeto-Keeno WWW Stuff

  1. French wine industry magazine - Vitisphere.com: http://www.vitisphere.com
    Convert to English here: http://babelfish.yahoo.com/
  2. National Extension Engine (searches 992 Extension sites):


Show n Tell

(Above) Each blue dot represents 1,000 acres of grapes. We need to work on the Midwest a little more! From: USDA – NASS


Videos of Interest

  1. Top 10 Wine Videos of 2011 from Wine Spectator, 12-28-11:
  2. Nebraska Wines Put to the Test, 11-24-11, KETV7 – Omaha, 4:13 min.:
  3. State Fair Wine Growers, 8-23-11 - The AgriBusiness Report, 1:47 min.:
  4. Cooper Tours – 2011 MN Wineries, posted 12-12-11, 1:40 min.:


Calendar of Events

1-(5-7), Great Plains Fruit & Vegetable Growers Conference, Fulkerson Conference Center, Missouri Western State University, 4525 Downs Drive, St. Joseph, MO: http://www.greatplainsgrowers.org/

1-(6-7), Kansas Grape Growers & Winemakers Annual Conference, Topeka, KS. Details here: http://kansasgrapesandwines.com/

1-(15-17), WI Fresh Fruit & Vegetable Conference - : The Wilderness Resort, Wisconsin Dells. Details: http://wigrapes.org/events-schedule

1-(18-19), Direct to Consumer Wine Symposium – San Francisco, CA. Full Details & Registration: http://www.dtcwinesymposium.com/registration.html

1-21, Great River Vineyard/Nursery 15th Annual Learn to Grow Grapes Seminar – Lake City, MN. Details here: http://www.greatrivervineyard.com/

1-(24-26), Unified Grape & Wine Symposium, Sacramento Convention Center • Sacramento, CA: Details here: http://www.unifiedsymposium.org/

2-(2-4), Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Association (IGGVA) Annual Conference – Crown Plaza Hotel, Springfield, IL. Details here: http://www.illinoiswine.org/conference.html

2-(9-12), 27th Midwest Grape & Wine Conference and Trade Show - St. Charles Convention Center, St. Charles, MO. Full Details & Registration: http://www.midwestgrapeandwineconference.com/

2-22, 2nd Annual Sustainable Viticulture Conference – Warren Wilson College, Asheville, NC. Details and registration here: http://www.JeweloftheBlueRidge.com/ - click on the link near the Warren Wilson College logo.

2-(23-25), Minnesota Grape Growers Association’s Cold Climate Conference - Crown Plaza, St. Paul, MN. Details here: http://mngrapegrowers.com/conference

3-(1-3), Nebraska Winery & Grape Growers Forum - Holiday Inn, Kearney, NE. http://agronomy.unl.edu/viticulture

3-(16 & 17), Iowa Wine Growers Association’s Annual Conference – Hotel at Kirkwood, Kirkwood Community College, Cedar Rapids, IA. Details later here: http://www.iowawinegrowers.org

3-(26-29), UC Davis Wine Executive Program, Maurice J. Gallager Jr - Hall, Davis, CA: Details: http://www.wineexecutiveprogram.com/

3-(27-29), Wineries Unlimited, Greater Richmond Convention Center, Richmond, VA. Details here: http://www.wineriesunlimited.com/

4-(17-19), License to Steal at the Lodge at Geneva, Ohio. Details here: http://nationalwinemarketing.com/

5-28 thru 6-2, French/Italian Mediterranean chartered wine cruise, Washington State Viticulture & Enology Program. Pricing starts at $2,450 per person: http://cahnrsalumni.wsu.edu/cruise/

6-(1-2), WineMaker Magazine Annual Conference, Ithaca, NY.
Details: http://www.winemakermag.com/conference

6-(7-10), 6th Annual Conference of the American Association of Wine Economists (AAWE), Princeton, New Jersey. Hosted by Princeton University and Rutgers University. Details will be posted at www.wine-economics.org .

6-(18-22), 63rd American Society for Enology & Viticulture (ASEV) National Conference, Portland Marriott Downtown Waterfront – Portland, OR: http://asev.org/national-conference-2012/

7-(15-19), 37th American Society of Enology ASEV-Eastern Section (ASEV-ES) Annual Conference - Traverse City, MI: http://www.asev-es.org/


Total Circulation of 1,350+ recipients in AZ, CA, CO, FL, OH, IA, IN, IL, KS, KY, MI, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NM, NV, NY, OK, OR, PA, SD, VA, VT, WA, WA DC, WI, Australia, Canada, Israel, Norway, Pakistan & Turkey

Michael L. White
ISU Extension Viticulture Specialist
909 East 2nd Ave. Suite E, Indianola, IA 50125-2892
ph: 515-961-6237, fax: 6017, cell: 515-681-7286

Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran. Inquiries can be directed to the Director of Equal Opportunity and Compliance, 3280 Beardshear Hall, (515) 294-7612.

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