State Profiles: Iowa Wine Country

Like many states, Iowa produced grapes and wine far earlier than assumed (1857), even created a Grape Growers Association in 1893, and was the 6th largest producer until Prohibition wiped out the entire American wine industry.

The modern wine industry has been propelled by creation of the Iowa Wine Growers Association in 2000 to provide education, promotion and marketing, and legislative input; and then since 2006 by the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute at Iowa State University, providing education and support.

The state’s 40 different grape varieties are mostly the cold-hardy “Minnesota” varieties that can withstand the cold midwestern winters. The eight wine trails throughout the state are a major attraction for visitors and support for the industry’s continuing growth.

Great Grapes: Brianna

The cold-hardy Brianna vines can withstand temperatures down to 25 below zero, yielding greenish to golden berries that produce a luscious semi-sweet wine with pineapple, citrus and floral aromas accompanied by tastes reminiscent of apricot, peach, pineapple, and honey. Brianna wines are great sippers, and accompaniments to fruits and light cheeses, among other foods.