Little Rock’s Rusty Tractor Vineyards to host Arkansas grape growers conference Nov. 4
Grape growers conference features wine experts from Arkansas, California, New York
Oct. 13, 2021
By Mary Hightower
U of A System Division of Agriculture
- Conference features wine experts from Arkansas, California, New York
- Vertical tasting of Arkansas wines open to public
(Newsrooms: with sidebar 10-13-2021-Ark-Wine-Tasting
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Using geographic information systems, improving vine quality, plus a public tasting of Arkansas wines, are on the agenda for the Nov. 4 Arkansas Association of Grape Growers conference to be hosted by Rusty Tractor Vineyards, 10 Rusty Tractor Lane, in Little Rock.
“The Arkansas Grape Growers Association has put together a stellar lineup of speakers for the annual conference that will appeal to those interested in many aspects of the Arkansas grape and wine industry,” said Renee Threlfall, a research scientist with the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture. Threlfall is director of the Arkansas Quality Wine program and the association’s vice-chair. “After the conference, wine lovers will have the opportunity to mix and mingle with grape growers and winemakers while enjoying Arkansas wines.”
The conference runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Conference registration is $50 for members of the Arkansas Grape Growers Association and University of Arkansas and U of A System Division of Agriculture employees or students. Registration is $100 for non-members and $200 for vendors.
“We want to promote the Arkansas grape growing industry in any and every way we can,” said Riley Mason of Rusty Tractor Vineyards. “Hosting the AAGG conference is one of the ways we can pay back a small portion of the generosity and knowledge shared with us.”
Conference registration includes lunch and the Experience a Taste of Arkansas Quality Wine event from 5-7:30 p.m. The wine tasting will feature those produced commercially under the auspices of the Arkansas Quality Wine program and made from 90 percent Arkansas-grown grapes. Attendees can sample Arkansas wines and appetizers.
Researchers from the U of A System Division of Agriculture will lead a vertical tasting
of AQW wines. The wine tasting is open to the public at $10 per person. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
- 9 a.m. — Registration
- 9:30 a.m. — AAGG Annual Business Meeting
- 10 a.m. — Identifying Arkansas Vineyard Sites using GIS, John Nowlin, assistant professor, Arkansas State University
- 11 a.m. — Using Quality Grapevines to Establish and Expand Vineyards, Dennis Rak, owner of Double A Vineyards, Fredonia, New York
- Noon — Lunch and awards
- 1:30 p.m. — Arkansas Agriculture Update, Wes Ward, Secretary of Agriculture for Arkansas
- 2:30 p.m. — Experiences with Growing Vinifera in the Ozark Mountain Region, Keith Striegler, grower outreach specialist, E & J Gallo Winery, Modesto, California
- 3:45 p.m. — Dazzle and Indulgence: New UA System Division of Agriculture Wine Grapes and Tasting, John Clark, distinguished professor, UA System Division of Agriculture; and Renee Threlfall, research scientist, UA System Division of Agriculture
- 4:45 p.m. — Update on Arkansas Quality Wine Program, Renee Threlfall, research scientist, UA System Division of Agriculture
- 5 p.m. — Experience a Taste of Arkansas Quality Wines
The Arkansas Quality Wine program was established last year as part of a project funded by a specialty crop block grant from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture.
AQW held its first competition in May. The silver and gold medal wines were featured at the AQW tasting held in September in Fort Smith that drew nearly four dozen people. Many hadn’t tried Arkansas wines before, and many were surprised at the quality.
“We were very pleased to see and hear the reactions of people who have a real interest in wine,” Threlfall said. “It was very encouraging to see the wine tasting participants discovering the quality being produced in their own state.”
To learn about extension programs in Arkansas, contact your local Cooperative Extension
Service agent or visit www.uaex.uada.edu. Follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @AR_Extension.
To learn more about Division of Agriculture research, visit the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station website: aaes.uada.edu. Follow on Twitter at @ArkAgResearch.
To learn more about the Division of Agriculture, visit https://uada.edu/. Follow us on Twitter at @AgInArk.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower