What's Up in Iowa? How to do a Business Plan for a Winery? Ask Michael White!

I like to read about Michael White's choices of "Neeto-Keeno WWW Stuff."  It is so refreshing!  Because...don't we all just get too darn much email?  Dozens of newsletters, press releases, wine club blitzes, specials, deals, new lots of this, old vintages of that?  Still, the one communication I look forward to every week -- and get this, I live and work in California! -- is the newsletter from Michael White, ag extension agent in Iowa.  I learn something from every issue.  Can't say that about everything that comes to my in-box... What makes Mike's newsletter different is that this guy really LOVES what he does.  And it shows.

He's the go-to man
for winebiz in Iowa:
Michael L. White

Last fall I spent a fascinating 10 minutes watching a home-made netting machine move down the vineyard rows and listened to the inventor talk about that.  Okay, I'm a nerd.  I'm also a former ag extension agent myself, so, I enjoy this stuff.  And if you are in the wine business, you probably secretly enjoy it too even though it doesn't make great dinner conversation.  At least, not for every dinner party group. 

I got to be on Mike's list when I went to a seminar in Des Moines a few years ago.  He's smart, no-nonsense and absolutely dedicated to the wine industry.  The newsletter is called Wine Grower News, and it emanates from the Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute that's part of the University of Iowa ag extension program.  So I've  cut-and-pasted it below, altho moving it from pdf to blog format is 'way too much work, so read as far as you want and then... quit.   In case you want to subscribe, here's how:  send an email to Mike at mlwhite@iastate.edu     You will not regret it.

AND, I also learned from Mike's efforts that it is possible to do a business plan for a winery without spending a fortune. Here's where you can get " Eleven Free Online Winery Business Plans to Check Out." CLICK

Wine-Grower-News #166 May 13, 2011

Midwest Grape & Wine Industry Institute: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Wine

Information in this issue includes:

  • 2011 IWGA Conference Presentations now available Online 4 members|
  • Iowa Wineries Do Well at Tasters Guild International in Michigan
  • IL Legislature Considers Cutting Viticulture, Enology & Tourism Funding
  • 5-21, Effective Vineyard Spraying Workshop – Ames, IA (a few openings left)\
  • 6-(7 & 8), Clark Smith's popular "Fundamentals of Wine Chemistry" at ISU
  • 6-18, Winemaking Tips & Techniques – Carbondale, IL
  • Notable Quotables
  • Marketing Tidbits
  • Show n Tell (Red Dog Vineyards & Nursery)
  • Articles of Interest
  • Videos of Interest
  • Neeto-Keeno WWW Stuff
  • Calendar of Events
2011 IWGA Conference Presentations now available Online 4 members

The conference presentations from the March 18 &19, 2011 Iowa Wine Growers Conference
have now been posted Online at http://iowawinegrowers.org/ While there, check
out the new web page designs. These presentations are available only to dues paying members.

A username and password will be needed. Please contact the IWGA office at 515.262.8323 or 800.383.1682 if you have any questions.

Iowa Wineries Do Well at Tasters Guild International in Michigan

TASTERS GUILD is a nationwide society of wine and food enthusiasts that was established in 1987. It consists of over 40 active chapters throughout the country that bring together consumers, wine, food and the wine and food service industries.

Tasters Guild conducts an Annual International Wine Judging each spring. The Tasters Guild International wine competition that is held in Grand Rapids, Michigan is considered to be one of the top wine competitions in the Nation. Toward the end of summer they also coordinate our Annual Convention & Consumer Wine Judging for members. The results of both events are reported in the Guild's official publication, the TASTERS GUILD JOURNAL, as well as other national periodicals.

Below shows a list of the Iowa wineries who won awards at this spring’s competition. Several wineries from our neighboring states also won awards at this event: IL - 2, KS – 1, MN – 1, MO – 5, NE – 3, SD – 1 and WI – 4. The full list of results can be found here: http://www.tastersguild.com/

Iowa Wineries at 2011 Tasters Guild International and their awards:

Ackerman Winery Blackberry 2010 Gold

Ackerman Winery Red Raspberry 2010 Gold

Ackerman Winery Cranberry 2010 Silver

Breezy Hills Vineyard Frontenac Rose 2009 Bronze

Breezy Hills Vineyard White St. Croix 2010 Bronze

Breezy Hills Vineyard Sassy Girl 2010 Gold

Breezy Hills Vineyard Cabana Boy 2010 Silver

Breezy Hills Vineyard Edelweiss 2010 Silver

Eagle City Winery Apple 2010 Bronze

Eagle City Winery Black Currant 2010 Bronze

Eagle City Winery Cranberry 2010 Gold

Eagles Landing Winery Blues Fest (Blueberry) 2010 Double Gold

Eagles Landing Winery Oktoberfest (Edelweiss) 2009 Gold

Eagles Landing Winery Summer Crush (Frontenac Gris) 2010 Gold

Eagles Landing Winery Campfire Hootch (Mixed Berry) 2010 Silver

Eagles Landing Winery Serenity (Rapsberry Dessert) 2010 Silver

Eagles Landing Winery Frog Hollow (Marechal Foch) 2009 Bronze

Prairie Moon Winery Blushing Moon 2010 Bronze

Prairie Moon Winery Honeymoon 2010 Silver

Prairie Moon Winery Vidal Blanc I.W. 2007 Silver

Wide River Winery Harvest Hurrah 2010 Bronze

Wide River Winery Ms Behavin 2010 Silver

Wide River Winery Ms D’Meanor White 2010 Silver

IL Legislature Considers Cutting Viticulture, Enology & Tourism Funding

5-13-11 “Dear Members

We could really use your help in contacting legislators in your area to ask them to support the House of Representative’s version (H.B.124) of the Department of Ag and DCEO budgets which include the important funding for our viticulturists and enologist and also marketing and tourism programs that provide jobs and bring in tourism dollars to the state.

The Senate’s current budget proposal has eliminated the funding for our viticulture specialists, enologist, and certain tourism programs. Therefore, we encourage them to support the House budget or reinstate funding for our industry in the Senate’s budget.

For your legislator’s contact information, please visit the State Board of Elections website at www.elections.il.gov and go to legislator lookup by address.

Thanks so much for your continued support!

Megan Pressnall, Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Association
megan@illinoiswine.com or (217) 726-8518

Save the date for two great upcoming Illinois wine festivals! The Art of Illinois Wine Festival will be held May 21 & 22 in downtown Springfield and the Two Rivers Wine and Jazz Festival is being held in Ottawa on June 4 & 5. For more information, please visit www.illinoiswine.com.

5-21, Effective Vineyard Spraying Workshop – Ames, IA

(A few openings left!)

When: 9a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Saturday, May 21st, 2011

(Registration desk opens at 8:30 a.m.)

Who: Dr. Andrew Landers of Cornell University who directs the Pesticide Application Technology Program at the State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva, NY.  Dr. Landers is the author of “Effective Vineyard Spraying – A Practical Guide for Growers”, 262 pp. Aug. 2010.

Where: ISU Horticulture Research Station, 55519 170th St. Ames IA 50010 (515-232-4786). 3 miles north of Ames on Hwy 69, turn east on 170th St. about 1.5 miles.

Cost: $60 each. (Maximum of 30 participants)

Participants are highly encouraged to bring the book, Effective Vineyard Spraying to this workshop. 
Copies of this book will be available for $44 at the workshop if ordered at pre-registration. This is a20%
discount from the regular price.

Pre-registration and payment required: Limited to the first 30 registration’s received.

Contact: Mike White to register here: mlwhite@iastate.edu    or 515-681-7286 

Learn: New spraying techniques
How to improve spray deposition
How to improve application timeliness
How to reduce off-target drift
How to modernize existing equipment
The latest developments in sprayer design
How one can reduce pesticide use by 30-40%

Sponsored by: ISU – Midwest Grape & Wine Industry Institute

ISU – Pest Management and the Environment

6-(7 & 8), Clark Smith's popular "Fundamentals of Wine Chemistry" at ISU
When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday & Wednesday June 7 & 8, 2011 Where: 1951 Food Sciences Building, Iowa State University, Ames, IA Who: Clark Smith, Winemaker, founder of the wine technology firm Vinovation, and adjunct Professor at CSU Fresno, CA. Clark writes “The Postmodern Winemaker," a monthly column for Wines and Vines Magazine and directs the Best-of Appellation panel for AppellationAmerica.com. "Smith teaches at Napa Valley College, UC Davis Extension, and CSU Fresno. - David Darlington, Wine and Spirits Magazine Cost: $95 per person. Additional registrants from same company $75 per person. Includes  a 450 page comprehensive handout, lunch plus morning and afternoon refreshments at breaks each day. Bonus: Mini workshop on pairing wine with music. Sponsored by: The Midwest Grape & Wine Industry Institute is sponsoring this event to make  it accessible to all wine professionals in the area. The normal cost of this workshop is $350. Online Registration and Details: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Wine/Events.htm (Space is limited. Registration by June 3 required.)

6-18, Winemaking Tips & Techniques – Carbondale, IL
When: 10 a.m to 4 p.m., Saturday June 18, 2011
Where: Kite Hill Vineyards, Carbondale, IL
Who: Domenic Carisetti, is a Winemaker and Winemaking Instructor in New York with over thirty years of professional experience.
Cost: $40 per person, $35 for VESTA students, lunch included
Registration Deadline: June 10, 2011

Notable Quotables

1. “almost two thirds of U.S. smartphone owners perceived their phone to be obsolete now or will be

obsolete before their contract runs out.”

From: Study Finds Consumers Stuck with Obsolete Cell Phones, 4-25-11 - Retrevo Blog

2. “Prior to Prohibition, Missouri was the second-largest wine-producing state in the nation. Now

reclaiming its rightful place as a driving force in viticulture and winemaking, an explosion of

growth is helping advance our quality and recognition. The future of Missouri Wine is very


From: Chris West in “The Smell of Bottling”, 5-8-11 – Winedustry

(Chris & wife Jen own and operate West Winery in Macon, MO)

Marketing Tidbits

1.” Let's start with the statistics that almost seem crazy: barcode scanning grew by a whopping 4549

percent in Q1 of this year, when compared to Q1 of the year before.”

From: QR Codes Gain Critical Mass, 5-13-11 – ClickZ

2. “Long thought of as the Baby Boomer search engine, the yellow pages industry has been

redefining itself in the digital age”……. As the original search engine, the yellow pages have

remained a reliable source for local information, with restaurants, physicians and auto repair

shops comprising 22.3% of all print usage. Although resistant at first, the report finds the industry

is continuing to evolve onto a digital platform, with restaurants, local government offices and food

products embodying 11.2% of all online usage.”……. “it is one of the few segments of the

advertising media market that is not suffering a market share decline, but, despite some ups and

downs over the past decade, actually holding the same share of 7.6% in 2000 and 2011."

From: Yellow Pages Market Forcast 2011, 4-7-11 – Simba Information

Show n Tell (Red Dog Vineyards & Nursery)

On Thursday this week I drove up to Johnston, Iowa (northwest side of Des Moines) to visit Jerry Dietz and his son Alex as they were working in their grape greenhouse. Jerry owns and operates Red Dog Vineyards & Grapevine Nursery. The vineyard and nursery is named after their 11 year old Irish Setter dog. Jerry told me that the dog controls the whole family! They are one of three grapevine nurseries doing business in Iowa. The other two are: Penoach Winery, Vineyard & Nursery owned by Stan & Joanie Olson of Adel, Iowa and Iowa Grape Vines Winery, Juicery & Nursery owned by Jim and Mary Kay Sorensen of Preston, Iowa.

Jerry opened Red Dog Vineyards & Grapevine Nursery in 2009 and the business has been growing. He also has 8 acres located at the intersection of Hwy 30 and Hwy 14 in Marshalltown, Iowa just to the east of McDonald's. This is where they are growing bare root vines of many different varieties that will be trained onto several different trellis systems. Jerry also uses tissue culture propagation methods which he presently does in his basement at home. He would later like to use his tissue culture techniques and sterile growing facilities to provide certified virus free stock to his customers. His near term goal is to move the entire operation into a larger facility on the outskirts of Des Moines, Iowa.

What makes Red Dog Vineyards and Grapevine Nursery somewhat unique to most other grapevine nurseries in the U.S. is not only their emphasis on growing the new cultivars available through Cornell University and the University of Minnesota breeding program, but also growing many unknown cultivars available through the USDA ARS Plant Genetics Research Unit at Geneva, NY. Jerry is looking at these unknown cultivars for both fruit production and their use as grafted rootstock material for cold climate cultivars. Many of these unknown cultivars originated from Russia,

Canada and Eastern Europe.

My first contact with Jerry came back in 2007 when he sent some soil samples into Iowa State University for vineyard fertilizer and lime recommendations. He was just thinking about starting a vineyard at that time. Jerry has come a long way since then. He and his son Alex both seem to have the passion and the plan to grow Red Dog Vineyards and Nursery into a successful and unique operation. I have included some pictures of my visit below:

(Above) Jerry Dietz(L) and son Alex(R) holding a flat of Teleka 5C, a cultivar from Hungary that is often used as a rootstock due to its adaptability to clay and clay loam soils. 5-12-11

(photo) Jerry pointed out the “ONE” Baltica grape plant he received from the USDA ARS Plant Genetics Research Unit at Geneva, NY. He will use tissue culture techniques to propagate this one stick into many. 5-12-11 
(photo) Red Dog Vineyards & Nursery uses cardboard planting containers to grow their rooted grape plants. These containers are produced and sold by Monarch Manufacturing of Salida, CO. The pot and plant can be planted directly into the vineyard. 5-12-11

(photo) Jerry Dietz shows the bag of PRO-MIX plant medium he uses in his plant containers. PRO-MIX is produced and sold by Premier Tech Horticulture. 5-12-11

(photo) Full length view of the Red Dog grapevine nursery. 5-12-11

(photo) Jerry Dietz holding a tray of rooted Regent grape plants.  5-12-11

Articles of Interest

1. Big Changes Coming to South Dakota‟s Extension. 4-18-11 – Dakota Farmer:


2. Researchers Develop Stink Bug Monitoring Tool, 5-4-11 – Growing Produce:


3. Agrotourism Project Gains National Attention, 5-6-11 - Journal Standard, Freeport, IL

(Learn about “Discover the Flavors of Jo Daviess County” & Massbach Ridge Winery.)

4. Pre-bloom zinc sprays can improve fruit set, 5-6-11 – UC Davis and UC County Extension Viticulture blog

5. The Big Picture: 10 Dynamic Forces Impacting the Consumer Wine World Pt. 1 of 2, 5-7-11 
Forbes Blog by Jeff Lefevere): http://blogs.forbes.com/jefflefevere/2011/05/07/21/

6. Petrol smell in Riesling „a mistake‟: Chapoutier, 5-10-11 – Decanter.com   http://www.decanter.com/news/wine-news/525144/petrol-smell-in-riesling-a-mistake-chapoutier

7. Wisconsin distillery aims to reuse liquor bottles, 5-7-11 – Milwaukee & Journal Sentinel:

8. B.C. Winery Ferments Water, 5-12-11 – Wines & Vines Magazine:

Videos of Interest

1. Check out the new WWW site and videos at Tucker’s Walk Vineyard & Winery in Garretson, SD:


Neeto-Keeno WWW Stuff

1. Great Lakes Distilling cocktail database: http://www.greatlakesdistillery.com/cocktails.htm

2. Corky‟s of Napa Valley Gives Corks New Life, 5-10-11 – Napa Valley Register:


3. 2000 year old wine unearthed in Henan province, 5-10-11 - People’s Dailey Online (English

version) : http://vinoenology.com/wine-news/read/2308/

Calendar of Events:

5-(20-21), WineMaker Magazine Conference, Fess Parker DoubleTree Resort – Santa Barbara, CA.

Full details and registration: http://www.winemakermag.com/conference

5-21, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Airblast Sprayer Workshop with Dr. Andrew Landers author of Effective Vineyard Spraying at the ISU Horticulture Research Station, Ames, IA. $60 each & $44 for the book. Max of 30 participants. Contact: Mike White at mlwhite@iastate.edu

6-4, 4-8 p.m., 5th Annual Swine Festival – where cork meets pork – Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) Details: http://www.swinefestival.com/

6-(4+5), Kothe Distilling Summer Workshop, Kothe Distilling Technologies, Chicago, IL.

Details: : http://www.kothe-distilling.com/en/component/content/article/15-workshop-information/75-kothe-summer-2011-workshop

6-7, Viticulture Field Day, Missouri Grape Growers Assn. (MGGA) & the Institute for Continental Climate Viticulture & Enology (ICCVE). Details here: http://www.missourigrapegrowers.org/

6-(7 & 8), Clark Smith's popular "Fundamentals of Wine Chemistry" short course, 1951 Food Sciences Building, Iowa State University, Ames, 6-3 registration deadline. Details: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/Wine/Events.htm

6-(9+10), Comprehensive Elderberry Workshop & Farm Tour, American Legion Hall and Eridu Farms in Hartsburg, MO. Details at http://www.riverhillsharvest.com or call 573-424-9693

6-18, Winemaking Tips & Techniques, Kite Hill Vineyards, Carbondale, IL. VESTA, Rend Lake Community College and Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Assn. Contact: Rachel Cristaudo, IL VESTA Coordinator Ph: 618) 437-5321 Ext. 1724 or cristaudor@rlc.edu

6-(20-24), American Society for Enology & Viticulture – Portola Hotel & Monterey Conference

Center, Monterey, CA: http://asev.org/national-conference-2011/,

7-(11-14), 36th American Society of Enology & Viticulture - Eastern Section Conference, 1 Sheraton Baltimore North Hotel Baltimore, Maryland. Details: http://www.asev-es.org/

8-24, Seedless Table Grape & Winegrape Field Day, Univ. of WI – Madison, West Madison Ag Rearch Station, Questions: Please check blog at: www.universitydisplaygardens.com for more information e-mail Judy at jreithrozell@wisc.edu or Rebecca at harbut@wisc.edu.

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Michael L. White,

ISU Extension Viticulture Specialist

909 East 2nd Ave. Suite E, Indianola, IA 50125-2892

ph: 515-961-6237, fax: 6017, cell: 515-681-7286


Iowa State University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, sex, marital status, disability, or status as a U.S. veteran. Inquiries can be directed to the Director of Equal Opportunity and Compliance, 3280 Beardshear Hall, (515) 294-7612.

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A little vineyard humor!  (cartoon)

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