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Family Blends Local Grapes into Social Experiences

July 5, 2023

Glyn Mawr Winery-The Local in Mount Vernon is a finalist in Iowa's 2023 Open 4 Business Contest competing for a $20,000 grant to support business expansion.

Anna Wilson, owner of Glyn Mawr-The Local, and mother at the vineyard
Dreams were planted when Anna Wilson and her mother converted 2.5 acres of land into a grape vineyard on the family acreage in Eastern Iowa in 2009.

They have a passion for promoting all things Iowa – including its grapes. “We are super dedicated to only putting Iowa grapes in our wine,” Anna said. “Our wine industry in Iowa is still relatively new compared to other parts of the world, but there’s still a lot of people who don’t know who don’t know what grapes grow here and continue to support our local wine industry.” 

Glyn Mawr Winery got its commercial winery license in 2015 and debuted their inaugural wine in Spring 2016. “And so we built our business going around to tastings and markets and county fairs and to the Quad Cities and Des Moines,” Anna said. “We sold our wine with samples.” 
The Local in downtown Mount Vernon
They embarked on a two-year building renovation in Mount Vernon after winning a Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant in 2017. In February 2019 they opened their brick-and-mortar local hangout, Glyn Mawr Winery-The Local.

“That was always the goal,” Anna said. “Once we got open in Mount Vernon, we started running with all of the different ways to bring in multiple streams of income.” 

They rent out the lower level for celebratory events, including birthdays, retirements, graduations, and rehearsal dinners. They hosted over 50 private events in 2022 alone.

“We have become a hub for social experiences in our community,” Anna said. That includes monthly bingo night, trivia night, book club and other special events that often coincide with Mount Vernon festivals and celebrations. Mount Vernon’s Magical Night, for example.

“We put our best foot forward and dive in,” Anna said. They pulled out all the stops for their Christmas movie theme, Elf. 

They’ve also added retail space for selling local goods, T-shirts, home décor, candles and functional gift items.

“We are changing out our space a lot and changing retail displays to make it a whole experience when you walk in,” she added.

Competing in Iowa's Open 4 Business Pitch Contest
Glyn Mawr Winery-The Local is among five finalists competing for a $20,000 grant in the 2023 Open 4 Business Pitch Contest. The Open 4 Business contest, hosted by Main Street Iowa, is a statewide entrepreneurial contest that provides funding for business expansion projects to small businesses located within a designated main street district in Iowa. The winner will be named after the pitch contest, taking place in Sioux City on August 1 and held in conjunction with the Iowa Downtown Conference. The event is a celebration of small businesses and includes short business pitches, business videos and check presentations to the winners. The five finalists were selected in June by a panel of judges after interviews with all applicants.

If named winner of the 2023 Open 4 Business contest, The Local would purchase a custom 12-foot food truck to be permanently located on their new patio, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner options almost year-round. Anna would also use the funds for a pager system to alert customers when their food is ready.