earliest known production within the state was by European homesteaders
who established small vineyards on their farms. Grape production
in Iowa grew steadily as the state was settled.
By 1900, in
Iowa County grapes were said to be be found almost anywhere growing
along the sides of houses and in communal gardens.
and winemaking was at its height when in 1920 Prohibition laws
took it toll. In the post-war years weather conditions, and battles against disease
and vine pests further decreased commercial production.
was only the 1980's that efforts were put forth to reestablish the grape industry in Iowa, and today the state currently has many acres of grapes in production -- in vineyards and wineries that the Iowa Grape Growers Association reports numbers more than 100 -- and counting. (Above, the Tabor Home Vineyards and Winery near Baldwin, Iowa.)
Iowa wine trails
Organized into distinct geographic wine trails, you can follow easily sign-posted routes to spend a day (or more) sampling a taste of the grape all over the state. Among the largest are the Heart of Iowa Wine Trail including 15 wineries in central Iowa, followed by the Iowa Wine Trail featuring nine wineries (in Anamosa, Baldwin, Bankston, Clinton, Decorah, Lisbon, Marquette, and West Branch).
Next comes the Scenic Rivers Wine Trail in southeastern Iowa with a total of seven wineries to tour, along with an equal number found within the I-80 Wine Trail all within minutes of Interstate 80 running east to west in central Iowa.
Finally, head toward the Nebraska border for more than a half-dozen Iowa wineries along the Western Iowa Wine Trail.
In addition to soybeans and corn, add wine to the list of products successfully grown in the fertile soil of America's heartland.
More information about Iowa wineries around the Web:
The Wines of Iowa - The reviews are in -- in this detailed look at Iowa's wine industry including its triumphs and growing pains.