Chances are getting better that if you’re a wine lover the bottle you get for Christmas could be made right here in the state of Iowa. Lynn Walding, the administrator of the Iowa Alcoholic Beverages Division, says excise taxes collected show that wine sales are up seven-and-a-half percent. Walding says some of that is due to Iowa wines.

Walding says we’re up to 67 native wineries in Iowa, and they’re adding wine trails and new wineries. Walding says Iowa’s wines are also getting attention outside the state. Walding says the Sunday New York Times had an article about Iowa wines as did the London Times. Walding says the wine industry goes beyond alcohol sales.

Walding says the wineries represent rural economic development and provide another crop for Iowa. The industry continues to grow and with that Walding’s division is holding some hearings to discuss how native wines are classified. He says they’re particularly talking about whether they’re going to allow wine to be imported and mixed with native wine and still qualify for the benefits given to native wine growers to state growers.

Walding says they hope to be able to make some recommendations on that to the Iowa Legislature. The Alcoholic Beverages Division has already held two forums on native wines, and will hold the third and final forum January 12th at the Whispering Hills Vineyard in Carson.