Official Nebraska Government Website

Board Strategic Plan


This Strategic Plan marks the second plan developed by the Nebraska Grape and Winery Board (NGWB) since its inception in 2000. The Board of Directors, in collaboration with the Nebraska Department of Agriculture, developed this Strategic Plan. It provides the NGWB with a three to five year road map, guiding the board’s decision and prioritization of issues upon which to focus efforts and resources. This Plan is intended to be a living, dynamic document subject to change or modification with new and/or additional input and the evolution of the industry and, thus, the board’s vision. The board will review progress and update the plan annually or as needed. It is the intention of the board to, on an annual basis, identify priority items, actions, or objectives from each of the sections of this Strategic Plan to formulate the board’s “Business Plan” for the year. This annual plan becomes the roadmap to guide and focus the board’s efforts in the development of annual goals for implementation.


The board began by revisiting and reaffirming their belief in the Mission of the NGWB, which was first developed in the 2010 Strategic Planning process.

The Mission is followed by major areas of emphasis (Goals), which the board has identified. When it comes to prioritization, all five of these Goals are concurrently considered with equal and continuous focus of this board. However, when it involves board- funding allocation, the board has committed to Goal #1 as its highest priority. Additionally, each goal contains one or more specific action items or objectives. It was determined by the board that these objectives would not be prioritized. Instead, these objectives will be reviewed annually and potentially expanded upon to be considered in the board’s annual prioritization process.

This document is not intended to be a stand-alone document nor is it a one-time effort. Once action strategies have been developed and implemented, commitment will be maintained, progress monitored, and adjustments made until the objectives have been reached. This plan demonstrates the commitment that is needed to provide an excellent standard of programs and budget allocations designed to continuously meet the needs of the industry.

Finally, this document functions within the greater context of additional entities and initiatives that impact the Nebraska grape and wine industry. This framework may be reflected in future Appendices attached to this document. Examples include, but are not limited to, the Nebraska Winery and Grape Growers Association’s (NWGGA) Strategic Plan (2016), the most recent Industry Economic Impact Study (2015), and the Nebraska Grape Growers Survey.


The NGWB’s Mission statement is to work collaboratively towards a profitable, sustainable future that advances the interests of Nebraska’s grape and wine industry through advocacy and education.

The purpose of the NGWB is to further the growth and economic development of the grape-growing and winemaking industry in the state of Nebraska to a maximum level as supported by the favorable soil and climatic conditions existing in Nebraska and to satisfy the market demand for grapes and wine inside and outside of Nebraska. The end objective is to create an economically viable value-added alternative farm crop and wine industry in Nebraska that will enhance the economic condition of the farm industry and the state of Nebraska.

The duties and responsibilities of the NGWB include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Establish a public forum whereby any producer of wine, grapes, or other wine-producing agricultural products has the opportunity, at least once annually, to discuss with the board its policy and procedures;
  2. Keep minutes of its meetings and other books and records which will clearly reflect all of the acts and transactions of the board and to make these records available for examination upon request by members of the public;
  3. Authorize and approve the Department of Agriculture’s (NDA) expenditure of funds collected pursuant to section 53-304;
  4. Serve as an advisory panel to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission in all matters pertaining to the wine industry; and
  5. Adopt and promulgate rules and regulations to carry out sections 53-301 to 53-305.


  1. Industry leadership/management
    Several goals of this Strategic Plan are dependent upon a strong collaborative relationship between the NGWB and the “action arm” of the state industry. This includes the NWGGA, which is the association that exclusively represents the Nebraska wine and grape industry. The accomplishment of these goals is not feasible without the continuity and consistency of vision across years of changing leadership of the state’s industry. Supporting and funding NWGGA’s Executive Director position is the board’s highest priority.

  2. Promotion of Nebraska wines
    Promotion aims to establish a significant and differentiated presence in the market that attracts and retains loyal customers. It is the process involved in creating a unique name and image for a product in the consumer’s mind, mainly through advertising campaigns with a consistent theme. This is accomplished by raising the Nebraska wine industry, and, thus, Nebraska wines, to a level of becoming knowable, likable and trustable.
    1. Increasing the Marketability, Awareness and Accessibility of Nebraska Grapes and Wines
      1. Serve as an advocate for the industry.
      2. Develop brand recognition for Nebraska wines.
      3. Cooperation with the NWGGA to conduct intensive marketing strategies to promote the quality and value of Nebraska wines.
    2. Encourage Wine Tourism
      1. Encourage wine related tourism developments by working with the Nebraska Tourism Commission.

  3. Sustainability
    This goal is all about assuring the capacity of the grape and wine industry to remain vibrant and robust through the enology and viticulture components. Sustainable development of the industry is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (UN World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987). Sustainability in the vineyard encompasses a whole host of topics including, but not limited to, cold climate grape cultivars, plant science, soil type, soil amendments, pest and weed control, irrigation, trade enhancements, food safety, best management practices, crop research, and conservation methods. Sustainability also pertains to wine quality. Winemakers will tell you that outstanding wine is made on the vine. However, when it comes to getting the “wine into your glass, it’s all about the winery” (Borg, 2013).
    1. Enhancing the Quality of Wines
      1. Implement measures aimed at building a strong, vibrant industry that includes the production of world-class wines made from world-class grapes.
      2. Develop a Quality Assurance process based on industry standards to identify quality wine, improve winemaking practices and continue to raise the quality of wine across the entire state industry.
      3. Identify exceptional wines to create awareness of the quality of Nebraska wines with consumers while promoting the best of the Nebraska wine industry.
      4. Support education opportunities to improve winemaking skills and processes.
    2. Enhancing the Quality of Grapes
      1. Address threats to the grape growing industry (e.g., herbicide drift, resistant pesticides, climate conditions, etc.).
      2. Support education opportunities to improve cold climate cultivar selection, growing techniques, and management practices.
      3. Identify cost-effective strategies to improve the value/benefits of Nebraska grapes and wines.
      4. Survey growers and winemakers to determine which grapevine cultivars appear to be most profitable and successful.
      5. Determine hardy grape cultivars adaptive to Nebraska’s soils and climate extremes.
    3. Education: Promote the creation and discovery of new production practices by funding various projects and activities.
      1. Attend educational conferences.
      2. Fund research projects.
      3. Disseminate research findings to the public.
      4. Support and partially fund grower field day and conferences.
      5. Solicit and fund proposals to enable industry partners to enhance programs and the industry.
      6. Continue as an active partner with the NWGGA, which works to develop and organize the annual Association Education Conference.
    4. Develop a culture of continuous improvement:
      1. Engage the board to develop and annually review and renew the Strategic Plan every three years (or more frequently as needed).
      2. Gain industry feedback and advice and identify areas for constructive improvement.
      3. Analyze other state-based farmer organizations and non-profit membership associations.

  4. Maintaining Financial Viability and Revenue of the Grape and Winery Board
    Crushed juice fees, grape excise taxes, and shipper license fees are the three primary sources from which the board obtains its revenue. For administrative purposes, these funds are located in NDA. All revenue credited to the fund pursuant to the charge imposed by this section and excise taxes collected pursuant to section 2-5603 and any funds received as gifts, grants, or bequests and credited to the fund is used by NDA at the direction of and in cooperation with the board, to develop and maintain programs for the research and advancement of the growing, selling, marketing, and promotion of grapes, fruits, berries, honey, and other agricultural products and their byproducts grown and produced in Nebraska for use in the wine industry. Such expenditures may include, but are not limited to, all necessary funding for the employment of experts in the fields of viticulture and enology, as deemed necessary by the board, and programs aimed at improving the promotion of all varieties of wines, grapes, fruits, berries, honey, and other agricultural products and their byproducts grown and produced in Nebraska for use in the wine industry.
    Funds credited to the fund shall be used for no other purposes than those stated in this section and any transfers authorized pursuant to section 2-5604. Any funds not expended during a fiscal year may be maintained in the fund for distribution or expenditure during subsequent fiscal years. Any money in the fund available for investment shall be invested by the state investment officer pursuant to the Nebraska Capital Expansion Act and the Nebraska State Funds Investment Act.
    The responsibilities of the board have increased largely due in part to the number of projects funded each year. In an effort to enhance the accountability and reporting requirements of board-funded projects, the board allocates money to pay the salary of a part-time clerical assistant to assist with board duties. This individual is under the direction of the NDA.
    1. Investigate and implement programs utilizing diversified funding sources that continue to build and grow Nebraska’s grape and wine industry.
      1. Develop a financial plan.
      2. Formalize, enhance and evaluate board-funded projects from one year to the next.
      3. Review income performance on a monthly basis and develop a strategy to enhance financial relationships and secure board revenue.
      4. Review existing financial processes and identify new and improved approaches to identify and explore cost savings.
      5. Prepare and position NGWB to fund ideas towards new research and different marketing strategies that will benefit the entire grape and wine industry, in general, and not a particular business venture.
      6. Expend approximately 70 percent of NGWB annual revenue on meaningful projects aimed at improving grape and wine research and promoting the entire industry.
      7. Collect and compile final reports in a timely manner from board-funded projects.
      8. Evaluate the efficacy of final reports as to how they relate to the Strategic Plan.

  5. Collaboration/Communication
    Today, global success is won not by firms acting alone, but by partnerships that promote joint planning, information sharing, open communication, collaboration and cooperation. A central challenge for the Nebraska wine industry is to continue cooperation and financial support to the NWGGA, which has been a pillar of strength for Nebraska’s grape and wine industry. This partnership entails balancing individual mandates with the opportunities for promotion and research. This goal involves the board advocating for the industry, with entities both within the industry and those external to the industry.
    1. Encouraging Wine Tourism
      1. Encourage wine related tourism developments by working with the Nebraska Tourism Commission and the NWGGA.
    2. Stay abreast of recent legislation and recent developments affecting Nebraska’s grape and wine industry.
      1. Maintain, increase and improve relationships with local, state, and federal lawmakers.
    3. Maintain and increase NGWB agricultural partnerships
      1. Define industry needs and develop cost-effective strategies to improve value/benefits across all members.
      2. Survey, evaluate, and develop a database of Nebraska grape growers and wineries.
      3. Establish, maintain and update a list recording the total grape acreage and number of vines (variety specific) planted in Nebraska.
      4. Engage into close working relationships with NDA, UNL, NWGGA and other entities or organizations that impact Nebraska’s agricultural industry, (grape and wine industry in particular).
    4. Advocacy
      1. Increase awareness of the Nebraska grape/wine industry with entities both within the industry and those external to the industry.
      2. Monitor and review the efficacy of the NGWB website on a monthly basis.
    5. Make and publish an annual report on or before January 1 of each year, which sets forth, in detail, several items:
      1. The name and address of each board member and a copy of all rules and regulations adopted and promulgated by the board.
      2. A detailed explanation of all programs for which the board approved funding that fiscal year, pursuant to section 53-304, for the research, discovery, promotion, and development of programs for the growing, production and marketing of Nebraska wines, grapes,, fruits, berries, honey and other agricultural product and their byproducts grown and produced in Nebraska for use in the wine industry.
      3. Present the report to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission within 30 days after its publication and made available also to any persons who request a copy.


This strategic framework is a plan of optimism and opportunity for all stakeholders in the industry, and is grounded in the realities facing the industry today. It identifies how the grape and wine industry can maximize long-term profitable growth in the industry, reinvent consumer’s total experience with Nebraska wines, and increase tourism. The success of this plan hinges on industry partners embracing and sharing this vision and transforming the above strategies into key deliverables.

Consequently, each participant in the vision must assume responsibility, which includes assigning the resources needed to fulfill the promise that is shared by this board. Nebraska wines are a source of passion and pride, and perhaps the most important indicator of success is positive feedback from grape growers, wineries, scientists, and wine enthusiasts. Positive feedback from consumers and the growing reputation of Nebraska wines is sure to soar the industry to new heights.

This strategic framework provides the foundation stones for achieving long-term profitable growth. This document is subject to change with new and/or additional input. Commitment will be maintained, progress will be monitored, and adjustments will be made until the objectives are reached.


The appointed leaders of the NGWB agree to the above stated principles and actions to accomplish the objective of keeping the industry strong, vibrant, and productive. The board accepts these responsibilities and roles of proactive leaders with a common goal and vision to secure the future of the board. All five board members and the two ex-officio members have a copy of this plan. Copies are also available to industry stakeholders, upon request.


The grape and wine industry in Nebraska is poised for greatness. The destination is clear. People at every level in the industry including growers, winemakers, academia, government, and marketers have assembled together ready to adapt this focused plan with the concerted, cooperative action needed to win a prosperous future for Nebraska wines.