About the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute
The Midwest Grape & Wine Industry Institute at Iowa State University was approved by the Iowa Board of Regents in September 2006.The Institute is the first of its kind in Iowa. The formation of the Institute is a result of the state’s evolving grape & wine industry.
Goals of the Institute include:
- Conducting research to evaluate cold-hardy grape varieties that can thrive in the Midwest
- Conducting enology (the science of wine & winemaking) research
- Establishing an outreach program to the industry by training a team of specialists
- Creating an educational and hands-on skills apprenticeship program to supply the needs of the wine industry throughout Iowa and the Midwest
- Provide a service laboratory for Iowa and surrounding state wineries for testing and wine quality evaluation
Analytical and Service Labs
Our research lab uses separation instrumentation such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) to analyze the chemical composition of grape and wine samples. Our service laboratory uses industry-standard bench chemistry methods for common winemaking parameters. These two adjoining lab spaces are located on the second floor of the Food Sciences Building.
In addition to a food-grade lab space for preparing sensory samples, we use the Sensory Evaluation Labs in the Food Sciences Building to provide a controlled tasting environment.
In 2019, we began the construction of a winery space in the Food Science Building here at Iowa State University. We plan to use this space to conduct winemaking research, for workshops and trainings, and produce limited quantities of commercial wines. We will be using grapes grown and harvested from the ISU Horticulture Station. Our first wine production will be Fall of 2021.
Horticulture Research Station
The Horticulture Research Station, located North of Ames, is comprised of 235 acres. It is home to an average of 90 different research projects per year investigated by various faculty and staff from the University. The station houses the NE-1720 cold-hardy wine grape cultivar plot as well as two vineyard blocks of La Crescent and Marquette wine grapes on two trellis systems.
In early 2007, an advisory board was established for the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute. The role of the board is to serve as an advisory panel to the director. The board’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to: advising the director on establishing program (research, education, outreach and service) priorities; providing input in work planning; advising on structure of operations, policies and procedures; assisting in fundraising and budget allocations; and assisting with program evaluation. The board includes representatives from Iowa State University and other educational institutions, Iowa grape and wine industry members, the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, and the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Officers are elected annually.