Wine Diamonds – Uncorking America’s Heartland

Uncorking America’s Heartland is feature length documentary that examines the growing wine industry in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin

Runtime : 65 mins
Released : 2017

Film Synopsis:
Forget everything you thought you knew about wine! Wine Diamonds: Uncorking America’s Heartland explores the difficulties and excitement of creating a new wine region in the Heartland and rewrites winemaking history in the process.

Wine Diamonds: Uncorking America’s Heartland is a fun, informative and hopeful story that begins by tracing the historical significance of one the early grape breeding pioneers of the Midwest, Elmer Swenson and then explores the challenges of grape production, wine making and consumer acceptance in the upper Midwest.

Five winemaking families share their personal stories of struggle and success as they attempt to create a new wine region. World renowned wine authorities, Doug Frost (Master Sommelier and Master of Wine) and Tim Hanni (Master of Wine) answer the big questions about cold-hardy grapes and wine. The film ends on a high note as key figures in the wine industry imagine the future of this new nontraditional wine region.

Internationally recognized wine authorities and experts nod approvingly at the wines emerging from these new wines. Grapes such as Marquette, Frontenac, Brianna and La Crescent have captured the attention of wine fans from across the world.

Wine aficionados are often a little slow to recognize and accept new wine regions and grapes; however, the experts and fans agree something great is happening in the heartland. Traditional method sparkling wines are gaining appreciation and look to be very promising for this new wine region.

For the past year Wine Diamonds has gained attention across the United States earning acclaim in several film festivals, including being chosen a Gold Award Winner (Spotlight Documentary Film Festival), Semi-Finalist (Atlanta DocuFest), and earning five Official Selections in other film festivals.

Watch the Trailer:


The Filmmaker: Brad Johnson
“Most people, including wine experts don’t know this, said Brad Johnson director of the film, but less than 100 years ago Iowa was the sixth leading producer of grapes in the United States. The 1900 U.S. agricultural census shows Iowa produced 7,403,900 pounds of grapes and 76,301 gallons of farm-processed wine. Three historical events significantly altered the fate of this wine growing region: Prohibition, the advent of potent and highly volatized herbicides (e.g., Roundup or 2,4-D), and the improvement of cheaper and more efficient row-crop farming (e.g., corn and soy beans) and our film shares this story of struggle and rise of a new wine region.”

John Marshall, Winemaker, Lake Pepin Winery, Lake City, MN
Ray Winter, Owner, Indian Island Winery, Janesville, MN
Robin Partch, Winemaker, Northern Vineyards Winery, Stillwater, MN
Michael White, Iowa State University, Viticulture Field Specialist, Indianola, IA
Bob Foster, Director, Mid American Wine Competition, San Diego, CA
Mike Drash, Winemaker, Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery, Kasota, MN
Kent Schwickert, Owner, Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery, Kasota, MN
William Wyant & Rona Wyant, Co Owner, Fireside Winery, Marengo, IA
Lynita Delaney, Partner and Winemaker, Elmaro Vineyard, Trempealeau, WI
Mark Delaney, Partner and Viticulturalist, Elmaro Vineyard, Trempealeau, WI
Mark Wenzel, Co Owner and Winemaker, Illinois Sparkling Co., North Utica, IL
Nan Bailly, Owner and Winemaker, Alexis Bailly Vineyard, Hastings, MN
Cassie Bott, Marketing and Events Manager, Fireside Winery, Marengo, IA
Zach Bott, Winemaker, Fireside Winery, Marengo, IA
John Burns, Owner and Winemaker, Barrel Head Winery, Dubuque, IA
Mike Vincent, Owner and Winemaker, Wooden Wheel Vineyards, Keota, IA
Tracy Drash, Kasota, MN
Anne Zwink, Winemaker, Solider Creek Winery, Fort Dodge, IA
Bob Wersen, Owner, Tassel Ridge Winery, Leighton, IA
Laura Delaney Roessler, Partner and Winemaker, Elmaro Vineyard, Trempealeau, WI
Todd Roessler, Partner and Marketing Manager, Elmaro Vineyard, Trempealeau, WI
Dr. Paul Tabor, Owner and Winemaker, Tabor Home Vineyards and Winery, Baldwin, IA
Mary Hofmann, Co-Owner and Winemaker, White Oak Vineyards, Carlock, IL
Bill Secor Jr., Owner, Soldier Creek Winery, Fort Dodge, IA
Ellen Landis, Wine Director and Sommelier Landis Shores Oceanfront Inn, Half Moon Bay, CA
Lauren Chalupski – Cannon, Midwest Wine Expert, The Secret Cellar, Shueyville, IA
Josie Boyle, Assistant Winemaker, Chankaska Creek Ranch & Winery, Kasota, MN
Christine Lawlor, Winemaker, Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, Galena, WI



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