By Nick Starling firstname.lastname@example.org
In Nebraska agriculture you hear about corn, soybeans, wheat and cattle...but what about grapes?
One couple from Arapahoe opened up a vineyard a few couple years ago and is harvesting for the first time ever.
At the crack of dawn the Old Cellar Vineyard in Arapahoe is harvesting their first crop.
"After that first bin was loaded up, it kind of made things feel better I tell ya," said owner Gary Thompson.
After retiring from working at a bank late last year Gary Thompson wanted a new challenge.
"When I did that I wanted something to keep me busy. This might be more than I expected," said Thompson.
"He's always out here everyday. Even in the winter," said Gary's wife, Judith Thompson.
The Thompson's own 1,900 Brianna grape plants that they harvested Tuesday morning. This plant takes 3 years to fully develop. Now they are seeing the fruits of their labor turn into wine.
"It's probably more labor intensive and busier then I thought but that's because we're establishing a vineyard," said Thompson.
Many people may not think about vineyards when they talk about Nebraska agriculture but it's a growing industry in the state.
"There are a lot of vineyards in Nebraska. You wouldn't think that but there are," said Judith Thompson.
The number of wineries in Nebraska rose from 20 in 2007 to 28 now. And according to a study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the economic impact is rapidly expanding to an over $5 million dollar industry.
Thompson's neighbor says traffic on the road where the vineyard is has seen in increase.
The vineyard also has a side effect.
"My neighbor to the north thanked me for putting this here because they figured it would improve the value of their home having a vineyard built," said Thompson.
Gary Thompson says he plans on expanding his vineyard to fill the full 10 acres.