That communion wine you take on Sunday could one day come from Iowa. A new study by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University looked at the market for grape juice from Iowa-grown grapes. Rich Pirog conducted the study and found interest from groups that buy locally grown foods. He says about 90-percent of the buying groups said they’d be interested in buying a grape juice product, or a sparkling grape juice. Pirog says they also survey several churches about their interest in grape juice. He says they had a lot of interest from churches, but he says they have less leeway in their finances, but still would be interested in purchasing a local product as part of their community mission. Pirog conducted the survey in response to an increased emphasis on grape growing in Iowa.He says a lot of the grapes are going toward wine production, but he says the grape juice could be a niche market within a niche market for grape producers. Pirog says producers need to plan ahead so the state doesn’t all of a sudden find itself with a glut of grapes and no market. He says more and more wineries are popping up, and he says it’s important that the people who’re getting into growing grapes have a business plan before they plant their acres. Pirog says the study shows there’s enough interest in Iowa grape juice that it has the potential to be another market for Iowa grown grapes.
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