Iowa's wine industry growing - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Iowa's wine industry growing

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BANKSTON (KWWL) -- Heavy rainfall and extreme temperatures this summer hurt the wine grapes in some eastern Iowa vineyards.

However, weather isn't stopping the growth of Iowa's wine industry.

Dave Cushman and his family opened Park Farm Winery in Bankston about five years ago.

"I think we were the 18th bonded winery in the state," Cushman said. "Now we're talking over 70, 80. Actually, I've heard numbers as high as 90 bonded wineries in the state now."

Iowa wine grape growers are harvesting their fruit.

"The wine grapes are, as far as I can tell, pretty good," grape-grower Brian Nordschow said. "They look good on the vines this year. I'd say it's just a good, average crop."

That, however, is not every grower's story this season.

"I know of some growers that had some pretty catastrophic losses, either due to the Mother's Day frost, which affected a lot of vineyards, or just the heavy rains that kept them out from spraying," Cushman said.

Cushman said his vineyards at Park Farm Winery, such as Nordschow's, provided an average yield this season.

Despite other growers' losses, Cushman said Iowa's wine industry is slowly but surely branching out.

"I think we're in the infancy of it," Cushman said. "It's kind of one of those things: 'Which comes first: the chicken or the egg?' But I think that by wineries popping up, people start to check them out and see what it's all about."

Cushman said Park Farm Winery customers will start seeing some of the wine from this fall's grape harvest as early as spring.

Online Reporter: Becca Habegger

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