Growing, Processing and Selling Organic Grape Vinegar and Verjus

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2012: $7,391.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2012
Grant Recipient: Three Heart Farm
Region: North Central
State: South Dakota
Project Coordinator:
Steven Hauff
Three Heart Farm

Annual Reports

Information Products


  • Fruits: grapes


  • Crop Production: no-till
  • Education and Training: workshop, youth education
  • Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, value added
  • Production Systems: organic agriculture
  • Sustainable Communities: sustainability measures

    Proposal summary:

    Our family owns and operates 80 acres northeast of the Black Hills of South Dakota.  Our organic vineyard consists of over 1000 cold hardy grape varietals, including Frontenac Gris, Marechal Foch, Frontenac, Valiant, Brianna, Kay Gray, LaCrosse and LaCrescent.  We also have fruit trees.  For the first six years of operation, our goal was to maintain organic principles while allowing the vines time to mature.  The wholesale market for cold hardy organic grapes is nonexistant.  Without proper processing equipment, the harvest profitability is limited to the sale price of non-organic bulk grapes or to our current products of pure grape juice and grape powder.  Since there is no added wholesale value for organic grapes in our region, we would like to pursue innovative product development by converting our own grapes into organic vinegar and verjus.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Improve the quality of our grape harvest through vine netting
    2. Use appropriate processing equipment to obtain highest quality yields
    3. Determine the best technique for converting grape juice into verjus and vinegar at a sustainable level
    4. Provide outreach to the community and farmers who are considering organic vineyards

    Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.