Renee Threlfall, Research Scientist, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture
The Arkansas Quality Wine program, or AQW, will set quality standards for Arkansas-made wine, provide professional development for growers and winemakers and entice consumers to taste Arkansas wines. The program will be established in the fall of 2020 as part of a project funded by a specialty crop block grant from the Arkansas Department of Agriculture. Dr. Renee Threlfall, from the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture will serve as the AQW Director and work Amanda McWhirt, Extension Horticulture Crops Specialist for the Division of Agriculture and Amanda Fleming, a food science graduate student.
The AQW will include extension outreach, helping grape growers increase crop production, improving techniques for home and commercial, as well as creating marketing materials to raise consumer awareness of Arkansas wines. The program will establish quality standards for commercial wines made mostly from Arkansas-grown grapes. The commercial wines will be submitted and evaluated during an annual wine competition with additional chemical analysis. Wines that earn AQW status can use the AQW seal on each bottle of wine produced as well as receive recognition on AQW marketing materials. The AQW wines will help consumers identify and try Arkansas wines.