Grape-growing as an important part of Iowa agriculture is nothing new. Grapes were grown in the state as early as 1857 when a vineyard was planted in Council Bluffs. In fact, Iowa ranked eleventh in grape production in the United States in 1899. In 1919 just before Prohibition, Iowa was the 6th largest wine producer in the nation, with commercial vineyards and wineries established even before more well-known grape growing states in the U.S.! A movement toward the production of more row crops, developments of new herbicides coupled with a severe blizzard in 1940 all served to diminish the number of grapes grown in Iowa.
A resurgence in the industry occurred in 2000 when the Iowa Wine Growers Association was established to represent the wine grape growers and wine makers across the state of Iowa. In 2012, the Iowa Quality Wine Consortium was created to promote the making of quality wines and establish quality parameters to meet. Iowa wines must pass a rigorous testing process to be awarded this designation.
Today’s industry is vibrant and growing. We are well-positioned to take advantage of growth opportunities and become greater contributors to the agricultural and economic vibrancy of the state of Iowa.