Farm Progress

State tallies 100 wineries and nearly 300 vineyards.

March 10, 2017

3 Min Read
WINNERS: Honored by the Iowa Wine Growers Association at its 2017 annual meeting are (from left) Rebecca Victor, Victor Rose Vineyards, Vineyard of the Year; Carrie Smith, Summerset Winery, Winemaker of the Year; Rae Ann King, Julie Bos and Jorene King, Wines of Iowa, Retail Partner of the Year; and Randall Vos, DMACC/Mid-American Wine Competition, Outstanding Industry Partner.

The Iowa Wine Growers Association recently presented awards to several industry members who have been integral to the success of the wine and grape industry in Iowa. Winners were honored at the IWGA’s 2017 annual conference in Ames.

Iowa has 100 wineries and nearly 300 vineyards operating across the state, contributing to a $420 million positive impact on the state’s economy. IWGA is dedicated to the growth and sustainability of the Iowa grape and wine industry through support of research and development, continuing education, legislative oversight and promotion of native wine and grapes.

• Victor Rose Vineyards was presented the 2017 Vineyard of the Year Award. Rebecca and Howard Victor own and operate Victor Rose Vineyards at Indianola. They began planting their vineyard in 2006 and today care for 4,000 vines of two cold-climate grape varieties, Swenson Red and Vignoles, covering 7 acres. In addition to being known for impressive yield at harvest, these varieties are widely recognized for quality of winegrapes produced year after year.

• Mid-American Wine Competition was presented the 2017 Outstanding Industry Partner of the Year Award. The Mid-American Wine Competition began in 2007 and is held annually in July at Des Moines Area Community College campus in Ankeny. The competition is open to commercial wineries from 18 different states. In 2016, more than 600 wines were judged, with 96 wineries receiving awards.

• Wines of Iowa was presented the 2017 Retail Partner of the Year Award. Sisters Jorene and Rae Ann King opened Wines of Iowa in 2012. Located in Valley Junction, this store specializes in selling Iowa-produced wines, wine accessories and gifts, and coordinates wine-related events and tours. The store sells wines from 37 wineries and carries nearly 400 varieties.

• Carrie Smith of Summerset Winery was presented the 2017 Winemaker of the Year Award. Smith worked at Summerset Winery in Indianola helping in all aspects before transitioning into the role of full-time winemaker in 2012. Summerset Winery produces 19 wine varieties, including white, red, rose, blush, dessert and sparkling wine. Summerset Winery has taken home many awards for Smith’s wine since that time, including the prestigious Dick Peterson Award twice at the Mid-American Wine Competition.

• Murli Dharmadhikari was presented the Distinguished Service Award. Professor Dharmadhikari began working for Iowa State University in 2005, and developed the Midwest Grape & Wine Industry Institute on the campus of ISU in 2006. He served as its director, has been instrumental in development and growth of the Iowa wine and grape industry, and is highly respected in the field of enology. In addition, he served on the Iowa Wine Growers Association board of directors in an advisory role and recently retired from ISU.

• Shelly Skahill of Wabash Wine Co. was recognized for her term as an Iowa Wine Growers Association board member. Skahill is the owner and winemaker at Shenandoah and served on the IWGA board since 2014. Wabash Wine is located in western Iowa’s Loess Hills American Viticulture Area, which is one of two AVAs in Iowa. She operates the winery, event center and restaurant with her son, Dusty.

“We are pleased to honor and recognize our award winners for their many contributions, leadership and dedication to the industry and to our association,” says IWGA President Cassie Bott. “The Iowa Wine Awards are nominated and voted on by industry members. Receiving one of these awards is quite an achievement. We thank each winner for their commitment to our industry in Iowa and wish them continued success.”

Established 17 years ago, the Iowa Wine Growers Association supports the industry through education, marketing, promotion and legislative efforts. To learn more, visit

Source: Iowa Wine Growers Association

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