2019 Iowa Wine Award Winners Announced

DES MOINES, IA — The Iowa Wine Growers Association presented awards to several industry members who have been integral to the success of the wine and grape industry in Iowa. Winners were presented with their awards at the 2019 Iowa Wine Awards Banquet on Sunday, February 17, 2019 at The District Venue in Ankeny, Iowa. The banquet was held in conjunction with the 2019 Iowa Wine Growers Association Annual Conference, which took place Feb. 17 & 18 at the FFA Enrichment Center in Ankeny.

Doug Bakker, Madison County Winery in St. Charles, was presented with the 2019 Winemaker of the Year Award. This award honors an Iowa winemaker who has served as a leader in the wine industry by crafting superior Iowa wines utilizing locally sourced products when possible, adhering to best practices of winemaking, and demonstrating a willingness to experiment and try new techniques while positively contributing to the industry as a whole.  
Madison County Winery is owned and operated by Doug and his wife Cheryl. They planted the vineyard in 2001 and established the winery in 2005. Doug has been very involved with the Iowa wine and grape industry since 2000 when he became a member of the Iowa Grape Growers Association (now IWGA). He has been a past president of the IWGA and is actively involved with legislative efforts of the industry. Doug is a member of the IWGA Apprenticeship Committee and is currently enrolled in the program. He is a Certified Specialist of Wine through the Society of Wine Educators.

Compass Hill Vineyard, located near Winterset, was presented with the 2019 Vineyard of the Year Award. This award honors an Iowa vineyard positively contributing to the industry through demonstrated superior viticulture practices, adhering to viticulture best practices to provide high quality produce for Iowa wineries, while continually seeking to improve their business through education and advancement.  Chris Larsen and his wife Erin own Compass Hill Vineyard and are growing excellent quality grapes in Iowa and have developed their vineyard as a high quality producer in the state. They are dedicated to improving the quality of Iowa's grapes and wine, as well as seeing the association succeed. Chris has served on the Iowa Wine Growers Association's Board of Directors since the beginning of 2018. 

Jeremy & Tara Kohlhaas of The Wijn House in Pella, were presented with the 2019 Retail Partner of the Year Award. This award honors an Iowa retailer who has supported the wine and grape industry growth in Iowa through partnership with Iowa wineries and vineyards and demonstrating willingness to showcase Iowa wines in the retail setting. The Wijn House is an all-Iowa wine shop and tasting room, and features a different Iowa winery each week to educate the public to the wide variety of wines available across our state. They work closely with nearly 40 wineries to ensure they are accurately representing their products and all of the hard work that goes into producing them. This is the second year in a row that The Wijn House has been presented with this award.

Terry Bockenstedt, Nutrien Ag Solutions in Dyersville, was presented with the 2019 Outstanding Industry Partner Award. This award honors an individual or organization that has supported the growth of the wine and grape industry in Iowa, served as an advocate for the industry and has positively impacted the quality of the Iowa grape and wine industry. Terry has worked with many vineyards throughout the state, going above and beyond for his customers to provide outstanding expertise and willingness to consult in order to continually improve the quality of Iowa vineyards.  

Mike White, ISU Extension & Outreach, was presented with the 2019 Jean Gerrath Award. The Iowa Wine Growers Association announced this new annual award, which is named after Jean Gerrath, who helped establish the association and served as the founding president. The award recipient is determined by the IWGA Board for their work for the industry and within the association. Mike is the viticulture specialist for Iowa State University, commonly referred to as the “Iowa Grape Guy”, and serves as Ex-Officio on the IWGA Board of Directors. Mike has been integral to the start-up and success of the grape and wine industry, working with the Iowa and Midwest grape & wine industry for the last 20 years providing grape growing, marketing and general wine industry technical support.  Mike continues to help educate industry members through workshops and his widely popular multi-state/multi-country ISU Wine Growers News since 2007.

 In addition, two IWGA Board Members; Doug Lewis, Cedar Valley Winery, and Steve Larson, Train Wreck Winery, were presented with service awards for completion of their terms on the Board. Mike Vincent, Wooden Wheel Vineyards, was presented with the Outgoing Presidential Award for his service as the Board President.

“The Iowa Wine Growers Association is thrilled to present another round of awards this year and it couldn’t be given to a more deserving group. The Iowa Wine Awards are nominated and voted on by peers within the industry, so receiving one of these awards is quite an achievement. We would like to thank each of the award winners for their contributions to the growth of our industry thus far and look forward to their continued success,” said Andy Hrasky, president of the Iowa Wine Growers Association.


The Iowa Wine Growers Association (IWGA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the growth of the wine and grape industry in Iowa. Established in 2000, the Iowa Wine Growers Association (IWGA) supports the industry through education, marketing/promotion and legislative support.