Lt. Governor Gregg Visits Tassel Ridge Winery

Bob Wersen (left) and Lt. Governor Adam Gregg (right) talk about the challenges the wine industry is facing in Iowa at this time.

Leighton, Iowa – Iowa’s Lieutenant Governor Adam Gregg made a stop at Tassel Ridge Winery this week, where he spoke with owner Bob Wersen.

Gregg and Wersen spoke about the challenges facing the wine industry today. Those challenges include a decline in native wine sales, totaling 6.54%. Tassel Ridge is the largest producer of native wines for Iowa.

Tassel Ridge is also subject to weather disruptions. The cold and wet spring delayed and disrupted the growth of grapes, and ultimately the harvest.

Tassel Ridge remains in good shape with ample inventory despite the weather woes.

Wersen and Gregg also spoke about regulatory issues alcohol producers like Wersen face with the State of Iowa.

Gregg was asked about the concerns, raised not only by Wersen but other business owners around the state, and how he helps to address those concerns, and what kinds of results could business owners see as a result.

“I think conversations like this demonstrate the value of doing the 99 counties tour every year. And one of the things that Governor Reynolds and I both emphasize, not only do we want to hear the good things that are going on in the state of Iowa, we want to hear about the barriers and the frustrations,” said Gregg.

“Bob Wersen, [the] owner of Tassel Ridge Winery, laid out some of those concerns today in this particular industry,” added Gregg. “We view state government as one team; it’s all one team in the in the Reynolds-Gregg administration. We want to make sure we communicate concerns that we hear, whether it’s in this particular industry or for on a tour of a manufacturing facility and hear a concern.”

Gregg referenced a speech earlier in the day to the Lee County Economic Development Group. There he listened to their concern about recruiting workforce, building a skilled workforce to fill the jobs available now in that area in manufacturing.

“Those are all things that we take back with us, and we learn. We work with our agencies to address it, or if it takes legislation to address the kind of thing that we put together in the legislative package during the next legislative session,” added Gregg of the questions being posed during the tours.

Wersen said he’s a realist, that there is going to be regulation of any business, “and particularly of a business that makes alcoholic beverages. We would like to see the regulation a little less gotcha type of regulation, and more of a let’s help you do it right the first time kind of regulation.”

“The laws regarding alcohol, especially wine in the state of Iowa, are very complex and convoluted in some cases,” added Wersen.

Wersen spoke about the agricultural challenges faced with this year’s growing season.

“Weather has been a real challenge. It was a long cold winter, so the grapes really didn’t start developing for the season until late. We’ve been two to two-and-a-half weeks behind what’s normal,” explained Wersen. “Then, we’ve had a lot of rain and frequently rain at the wrong time of the season. So we’ve ended up with conditions that haven’t been very easy to make progress.”

“So it’s been a very challenging year,” Wersen added. “We actually ended up with a harvest; it was between a third and a fourth what we would normally expect.”

Wersen said he was pleased with Lt. Governor Adam Gregg’s visit. “He’s doing a great job.”

Posted by on Oct 14 2019. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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