When you think about wine the state of Iowa most likely isn’t your first correlation. According to the Iowa Wine and Beer Promotion Board, Iowa wine and Iowa vineyards created $234.3 million in annual revenue in 2008. This money is the result of:
74 Iowa Wineries
400 Grape Growers
1000 Grape Bearing Acres
186,700 Gallons of Wine
1777 Full Time Jobs
The economic impact of wine in Iowa is a combination of wages paid, retail amounts of wine sold, wine related tourism expenditures and local, state and federal taxes paid.
Although winemaking in Iowa dates back a few hundred years, half of the state’s vineyards and wineries were established in the past five years. Iowa growers and wine makers face several challenges, making a profitable wine business difficult in the area.
The largest problems this industry faces in Iowa are developing a sustainable infrastructure, limited knowledge in Iowa winery business planning, limited number of trained workers, and unfavorable climate.
Since the wine industry in Iowa is very recently developed, building it from scratch is difficult and wineries and vineyards are still struggling to figure out how to profit from their businesses. The newly developing industry still need a significant amount to time and money put into it before it’s structure is solid and is able to grow. The business is still figuring out how to use it’s resources to grow, sell, and distribute the product.
Given that the industry is new, the business aspect of growing and selling wine in Iowa is still not being figured out as business owners figure out how to compete in the complex wine industry.
Another challenge the developing industry has is lack of knowledgeable workers. Iowa has a shortage of trained viticulture and enology professionals. This causes the growing of grapes to be less successful than possible and causes the grape quality to be lower. Without being able to produce the best possible product it is difficult to compete in the wine industry.
The harsh weather of the Midwest makes vineyards a challenge to run to Iowa. The grapes are exposed to low temperatures that cause the grapes to go bad when they freeze. The grapes are also exposed to humid and wet conditions during the growing season that cause rot and a variety of mildews. In addition to weather challenges, crops are also ruined by some of the insects and wildlife that are abundant in Iowa. Only certain species of grapes, mostly American, can make it in these conditions.
Further research needs to be done before Iowa vineyards are able to figure out what variations are best and what cultivation techniques are the most effective for this area.
Although the wine industry in Iowa is struggling to create a successful business model the industry is gradually becoming profitable and has had rising sales. It has recently been recognized in the national media for its improving quality.
Along with growing sales, the number of wineries and wine events in Iowa is adding to the state’s tourism, which is a major industry in Iowa.
Visit a Local Winery for a Wine Tasting or Enjoy Some Iowa Wine at Home
Wineries often offer fun events to sample their products and promote their wines. Some enhance your wine tasting experience by offering parties, concerts or educational experiences. These events are a good way to sample many kinds of local wine before you buy a whole bottle and can be an enjoyable outing with friends. To find a winery near you click here.
In addition to visiting a winery to get some locally made wine, many grocery stores, co-ops and businesses sell bottles. To find a distributer near you and find out what wine you would prefer click here.