When I lived in Moscow, Idaho about a decade ago I had a neighbor, Heidi, who brewed her own beer, root beer, and made fruit wine from wild plums. Me, immersed in the quagmire of a PhD program, thought to myself “wouldn’t that be wonderful to do”? I even purchased a how-to book from the local bookstore and promptly placed it on my bookshelf, where it remained as I sank deeper into an academic black hole.
Fall 2005 arrived with me and my family settling in to our new home in Iowa. And on a late autumn day, my wife, left for a weekend science educators conference somewhere in western Iowa. Not knowing anyone in my new, little town, I picked up and dusted off that same book which five years ago intrigued me (and to be honest, kind of intimated me). It wasn’t necessarily a page-turner, but I couldn’t stop reading – I was hooked!
Since then, I’ve immersed myself in wine: wine making, wine growing, wine history, wine regions, oh, and let’s not forget wine tasting and drinking!
Shortly after my epiphany, or whatever you want to call it, I began making wine and not long after that I found others with similar interests.
- 2005 – Read home wine making book
- 2006 – Began making wine at home. First batch explodes in bottle.
- 2007 – With four others, established the Eastern Iowa Wine Club, an amateur winemakers group. Our group has grown to more than 100 followers and about 25 regular participants.
- 2007 – Started “Two Wine Brothers” as a way to stay connected with my brother, Terry.
- 2008 – Began taking wine science classes at Des Moines Area Community College. Also began volunteering at Fireside Winery. Fantasized about owning a winery.
- 2009 – Conducted market research for Iowa wine trail under Johnson Research Studio.
- 2009 – Started working part-time at Fireside helping out as winemaker assistant.
- 2010 – Launched Winedustry: wine news for the “other” grapes -- An online wine industry news, information and collaboration website for makers and growers living in nontraditional areas.
- 2011 – Launched Midwest Wine Review: An online wine review website for Midwestern wines.
- 2011 – Hired by Fireside Winery to serve as their External Relations guy. Will be working to maintain, build and expand wholesale program, and manage and grow public relations and social media.
What began as a hobby, grew into a passion, and continues to evolve deeper into the wine industry. I am thrilled and excited to be a part of this booming Midwestern wine industry and look forward to seeing how the next few years unfolds.