Iowa’s Wine and Grape Advisory Council is recommending the State Ag Department hire an expert grape grower and expert wine maker. The council also wants the state to establish a wine development and marketing council. Ag Secretary Patty Judge says she’s giving real thought to the recommendations. Judge says there’s a history of the state helping growers of specific crops.Judge says selling the legislature on adding two new positions may be difficult with the tight budget. Judge says her staff is getting squeezed for information on growing grapes.Judge says the state could eventually see a significant return on its investment in grapes. An Iowa State University study predicts one thousand acres of grapes and 15 new wineries could result in an economic impact of 42-million dollars.Iowa currently has fewer than one thousand acres dedicated to grape productions and only two well-established wineries. Iowa once was among the top ten grape producers in the United States.
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