Investigating the Biodynamic Production of American Heritage Grapes

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2020: $18,000.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2022
Grant Recipient: Vox Vineyards, Inc.
Region: North Central
State: Missouri
Project Coordinator:
Gerard Eisterhold
Vox Vineyards, Inc.

Information Products


  • Fruits: grapes


  • Natural Resources/Environment: biodiversity
  • Production Systems: Biodynamic

    Proposal summary:

            Vox Vineyards, Inc. (Kansas City, Missouri), grows over 40 different grape varietals bred from grapes native to North America. Compared to European varietals, these American Heritage grapes are better suited to production in the Midwest and Southeast United States. Cuttings from the vineyard's unique grapes have been planted in other vineyards in the region, including operations owned by Jim Borth, Brad Bergman and Powell Gardens.
    In 2019, Vox Vineyards began exploring biodynamic production practices for its 13-acre vineyard. Conversion to biodynamic production is a multistep process that includes modification of both grape production and processing practices. As a first step to biodynamic conversion, Vox is evaluating biodynamic soil amendments and cover crops. Our hypothesis is that these soil management practices will improve overall soil health and productivity, and hence vine health, resistance to disease and insect threats, and thus quality.
            This project evaluates the impact of biodynamic management practices on the production of two different American Heritage grape varietals, Norton and Wetumpka. Vox Vineyards and three collaborating vineyards are requesting $18,000 in funds for this research. Incorporating biodynamic production practices in the infancy of the expanding native grape industry could be critical for the industry's growth in the Midwest.

    Project objectives from proposal:

    1. Evaluate the impact of biodynamic soil amendments on soil health and grape yield.
    2. Evaluate the impact of two different annual cover crops on soil health and grape yield.
    3. Review overall viability of conversion to biodynamic grape production for native grapes with input from partner vineyards.
    4. Share results through industry presentations and posters.


    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.