The Indiana General Assembly established the Indiana Wine Grape Council in 1989. The Council’s goal is to enhance economic development in the state by establishing a successful wine grape industry through research and marketing development.
Every gallon of wine sold in Indiana provides 5 cents in excise taxes to fund the Council and to support the salaries of members of the Purdue Wine Grape team. The team, which was founded in 1991, includes Purdue Extension specialists in enology (winemaking), viticulture (grape growing), and marketing who assist commercial and amateur grape growers and winemakers. Team members serve in the Purdue University departments of Food Science and Horticulture and Landscape Architecture.
That investment has paid off.
Indiana’s wine industry now contributes more than $2.4 billion to the state’s economy. Indiana wine sales have grown by more than 15 percent each year. Since 1989, the number of Indiana wineries has increased from nine to nearly 100. Those wineries grow grapes on more than 600 acres, a 300 percent since 1991. Today, Indiana wine production exceeds 1 million gallons a year (5 million bottles) — up from 40,000 gallons a year when the team began its efforts in 1991.
Alumni who have learned from the Purdue Wine Grape Team are employed throughout the country in the wine industry and academic institutions.