Iowa Grape Vines Winery & Juicery with Jim & Mary Kay Sorensen

How did your winery get started?
My husband ran a body shop for over 20 years and wanted a change and a healthier work environment. In 2001, we started a vineyard and grapevine nursery, then In 2006 we started our Juicery making 100% pure grape juice (no added sugars, water, flavors or preservatives). Jim tried wine-making and enjoyed that, so in 2009, we got our winery license. We moved from our Preston location in 2013 to our present location in Maquoketa.

What makes your winery unique?
We have 15 different wines from dry to sweet grape and fruit wines. Our winery recently won International medals on four of our wines: one double gold, two silver and one bronze medal. We are the only Iowa winery bottling 100% real grape juice. Our kitchen is almost finished so we plan to start making more wine jellies and juice again.

What are your most popular wines?
The Blue Diamond has been our most popular wine. It is our double gold winner from the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition in 2015. Our Iowa Blend, Iowa Blend Blush, and Cranberry Twist are also very popular.

How have your grapes been doing the past few seasons? What is the impact of rainfall fluctuations on your grape harvest and quality of the grapes?
We had moved from Preston where we had a 2-acre vineyard to our new location so our new vineyard in Maquoketa was just planted last spring. Rainfall is especially important the first several years when establishing a vineyard, but once the vineyard is established they can make it through a drought year fine. If you have a real rainy season you have more mildew issues or a rainy August your grapes will be less sweet.

What other types of products do you have at market aside from wine?
We have 100% real grape juices, wine jellies, my sister’s soaps made with cow milk cream and other oils. We may also have small amounts of garden produce.

Do you have tours and wine tastings at your winery?
Yes, we have both tours and wine tastings at our location at 18345 55th St. (corner of Hwy 61 & Caves Rd), Maquoketa, IA. We are planning to build a deck to offer an outdoor seating area also.

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