A brand new award is being added to the lineup of accolades named in the Missouri Governor’s Cup Wine Competition. This competition is the annual opportunity for local wineries to showcase their wines and see how they compare to others made in the state. The new addition is the Husmann-Jaeger Award for Best White Varietal Wine. It will be the top award for white wines made in the state that are single varietals. White wines are often overlooked as they’re considered less complex than their red counterparts. However, Missouri wine country is home to many fantastic white varietals such as Vidal Blanc, Vignoles, Seyval Blanc, Chardonel, Traminette, and Muscat; and the delicious wines these grapes produce deserve to be lauded.
To take home the Husmann-Jaeger Award, a white wine will need to first be deemed gold medal worthy, then it will move on to be judged alongside the other gold medal white varietal wines. Only one will rise to the top and be named the winner of this new honor. The Missouri Governor’s Cup Wine Competition is judged blind, meaning the esteemed judges do not know the name of the wine or the winery when they taste and score the entries. This allows for a fair and unbiased result.
This new award draws its name from two men who were integral in the early development of the Missouri wine industry, grape cultivation in the United States, and saving the French wine industry from the devastating blight, phylloxera… George Husmann and Hermann Jaeger.
George Husmann, born in Prussia, lived in Hermann, Missouri much of his life and gained fame as a viticulturist throughout the state. While initially successful with Norton, he introduced Concord to Missouri in 1855. He helped found the Missouri Fruit Grower’s Association, which later became the Missouri Horticulture Society and published many works on grape growing. He continued to be integral in the agriculture industry of the state, and in the 1870s and 1880s he and other Missouri grape growers helped save French vineyards from a devastating louse called phylloxera by shipping resistant American root stock to France for grafting. This effort garnered him international renown. Find out more about George Husmann in the Missouri Encyclopedia here.
Hermann Jaeger, born in Switzerland, immigrated to the United States in 1864, settling near Neosho, Missouri. He planted his first vines in 1866 from East Coast varieties he’d brought with him. His initial experiments were successful in the end, but nearly led to disaster due to a blight called downy mildew. Ultimately he discovered a concoction that combated the mildew. His experiments were pioneering in the practice of spraying to control crop disease, a tactic still used today. He was one of the primary figures in the efforts to save the French wine industry in the late 1800s, earning him the accolade of the cross of the Legion of Honor in 1889. He disappeared in 1895 and there is speculation about his final days. Learn more about Herman Jaeger in the Missouri Encyclopedia here.
The 2023 Missouri Governor’s Cup Wine Competition takes place July 12 and 13. Stay tuned to find out which wine will be the first to win this new honor.
Resources for this blog:
Heiming, Carol. “Herman Jaeger (1844–?).” Missouri Encyclopedia, 14 Sept. 2021, missouriencyclopedia.org/people/jaeger-herman.
Heming , Carol. “George Husmann (1827–1902).” Missouri Encyclopedia, 4 Apr. 2022, missouriencyclopedia.org/people/husmann-george.