OZARK – Wine has a major impact on the Arkansas economy and the industry is growing in the state, according to a news release.

The Arkansas Association of Grape Growers will hold its annual conference from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 3, at Arkansas Tech University in Ozark.

The conference will bring Arkansas grape producers and those who are interested in the field together to discuss the latest in the growing industry.

“We’ve doubled the number of wineries in the last 10 years,” said Renee Threlfall, research scientist at the University of Arkansas Institute of Food Science and Engineering and Arkansas Association of Grape Growers board member.

Attendees will hear from experts in the field of wine and grape growing discussing everything from business promotion to vineyard cover crops.

John Clark, U of A System Division of Agriculture distinguished professor of horticulture and fruit breeder, will introduce the new table grape, Passion. Amanda McWhirt, extension horticulture specialist, will discuss vineyard site selection and maintenance.

“Attendees are going to learn about growing grapes in Arkansas and network with other grape growers,” Threlfall said.

After the conference, there will be a wine reception and banquet at the Fraternal Order of Eagles at Altus.

At the banquet, AAGG will give the 2017 Outstanding Achievement Award to Robert Cowie, of Paris, vintner and CEO of Cowie Wine Cellars and Vineyards for his contributions to the viticulture and enology industry in Arkansas.

“We select award winners that have played a critical role in shaping Arkansas as a grape and wine producing state,” Threlfall said.

AAGG will also award this year’s scholarship recipients — Molly Felts, from the University of Arkansas, and Mary Burkes, from Arkansas Tech University—Ozark.

According to WineAmerica, the National Association of American Wineries, the wine industry generated about $600 million in economic activity and created more than 5,000 jobs in Arkansas in 2017. Nationally, the industry contributed $219.9 billion to the economy and created more than one million jobs. (See: http://wineamerica.org/wp-content/themes/wineamerica/pdfs/impact/reports/Arkansas-Report.pdf)

To register for the conference visit http://argrapegrowers.org. To learn more about the University System Division of Agriculture, visit https://www.uaex.edu.

The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without discrimination.