The grape industry has started to expand again in Iowa — leading to some new challenges for growers. A University of Northern Iowa biology professor hopes to solve one of the grape growing problems with a grape handbook. Jean Gerrath joined with Emily Lehman to create “A Midwesterner’s Handbook to Grapevine Varieties.”She says she kept getting requests from growers in the state to identify the varieties they’d bought that didn’t look the way they were supposed to. She says she found there wasn’t a handbook to identify grapes grown here. Gerrath says up to five percent of Iowa grape varieties are misidentified and she says that hurts the industry. She says if you don’t know what you’re growing, then it’s hard to sell it for top price. She says it’s also hard to manage them if you don’t know what they are. Gerrath says the put together the first guide by photographing varieties and putting them in the book. She says it was small and they’ve now extended the guide and put in a flow chart like a field guide to plants and animals so that people can follow through and identify their grape varieties. Gerrath says the guide is available to anyone who requests it.She says the cost is the 10 dollars for printing and one dollar for shipping. You can request it by sending the money to: Jean Gerrath, U-N-I Department of Biology, Cedar Falls, Iowa 50614-0421. In 199 there were only two wineries and five vineyards in the state. In 2005 there were 42 licensed wineries and 275 vineyards.
You are here: / / New guide helps identify grapes