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Grape News For Iowa Wineries

SWISHER, IA (CBS2/FOX28) - The worst wine shortage in 40 years is about to hit the states, but that could be a grape thing for Iowa wineries.


The latest blast of cold air is a reminder of whats coming and its the time of year some people in the corridor like to curl up by the fire with a good glass of wine.  But what if you cant find that vintage or at least not at a reasonable price. Horrible weather in Europe has some connoisseurs and growers predicting the most significant wine shortage in four decades. Amid the light covering of snow on ten acres of vineyards at Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery in Swisher theyre hearing the news through the grapevine.  G.M. Jamie Siefken says grapes need heat and sun and not much rain to make the best wine.  Hes not toasting Europes bad luck, but as his crew bottles this years vintage of Marechal Foch its crossed his mind this could be just what Iowa wineries need.  A shortage of international grapes should mean more sampling of Iowa wines.   Its a great opportunity.  The Iowa wine industry is a young wine industry and were growing every single year with the number of vineyards and wineries as well as the amount of gallons we produce.  So yes its a great opportunity for us to make more wine and hopefully sell more wine in the state and wherever.


In the back room of Cedar Ridge shelves are stacked high with big oak barrels that hold some of the 16-thousand gallons that will age here this year.  No shortage, its just a matter of getting people to uncork a bottle.  But some wine lovers who have been particular about their reds coming from France and their whites from Tuscany are finding fine wine right in their own backyard.  Elizabeth Ann Blann says she has shopped for sweet, white varieties from Napa to Naples and whether its sweet or dry she believes Iowa wines make the grade.  Every time we come here we end up with a bottle of the same .. I just like what I like.


Many also like their wine at a reasonable price and that may be the wildcard for Iowas vineyards and wineries.  Right now nearly 96-percent of all wine consumed by Iowans is imported.  If the shortage of European wines causes prices to rise dramatically, that number could change in a hurry.  Siefken says thats the kind of change that gives new customers a reason to try something new.  If it means paying a little bit more for something coming from overseas and they can find just as high of quality wine locally, I think theyll definitely be willing to buy more local wines.


The 102 wineries and vineyards in Iowa could begin to notice a difference as soon has the holiday shopping and party season.


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