Norton Missouri Wine Meatballs

January 22, 2019

Attention: we just brought meatballs to a whole new level.

You’re in for a treat with this homestyle meatball recipe – it even includes wine! These hearty meatballs are the perfect choice for any event, gathering or even a comfy night in. 

So go ahead, take some time to whip up these juicy, mouthwatering, flavorful, cheesy meatballs featuring Missouri’s norton.

Yields: 4 servings | Prep Time: 45 minutes | Total Time: ~120 minutes



1 Ib      Ground beef
1 ½ tspMinced garlic
½ c       Shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ c       Parmesan
2 tbsp  Parsley
1          Large egg        
1 tsp    Salt
½ tsp   Black paper
2 tbsp  Extra virgin olive oil 


½         Small yellow onion
½ tsp   Minced garlic
Extra virgin olive oil 
1 tbsp  Tomato paste
1 c       Dry red wine – Missouri Norton
½ c      Beef broth
1 can   (15 oz.) Whole plum tomato
½         Sprig of rosemary
¼ tsp   Salt
            Black pepper to taste


Make the meatballs
In a large bowl, combine beef, garlic, mozzarella, parmesan, parsley, egg, salt and pepper.  Form into 12-16 meatballs. 

In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat oil. Add meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, until golden on all sides, about 30 minutes. Remove from skillet and place on a paper towel-lined plate. Drain grease from pan if necessary. 

Make the sauce

Dice the onion. In the same large skillet, over medium heat, sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil until very soft, about 10 minutes. (Turn the skillet down if necessary.) 

Stir in the tomato paste and fry for a minute or two, stirring until well-incorporated. Pour in the wine and broth and bring to a simmer, then add the tomatoes, salt and a generous amount of black pepper. Place the rosemary sprig on top, bring to a simmer and cook for 30 - 60 minutes, covered. When the sauce develops a deep, rich flavor, turn off the heat and stir.  (If necessary, put sauce in a blender to get a finer consistency. However, if you like chunkier meatball sauce, a blender is not necessary.) 

Next, combine the wine sauce and meatballs in the skillet and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.  

  Enjoy our signature style! 

Tips from the Tasting Room

January 17, 2019

Exploring Missouri wine country is an exciting adventure. From breathtaking views to delicious wines, each winery offers its visitors a unique experience. One of the highlights during any winery visit is the opportunity to try a variety of wines and even discover a new favorite. Before you enter a winery and step up to the tasting bar, here are suggestions to help you get the most out of your winery visit.

You’re always welcome at Missouri wineries, but you might want to plan ahead.

Contact a winery for its hours. While spontaneity is great, you run the risk of arriving at a winery only to find that it’s closed for a special event or not opening until later in the day. Some wineries have limited hours during the winter season.

Choose your destination based on your group’s needs. Want to bring your family pet with you? Before you grab the leash, make sure the winery you plan to visit allows outside animals. Visit our website and sort wineries by their amenities, including but not limited to whether they have an on-site restaurant, offer tours and are pet friendly. If a winery offers tours, don't pass up the opportunity. Tours are a great way to learn more about a winery, their wines and history. Of course, it’s always a good idea to contact a winery before your visit to check on their policies and special features.

Give advanced notice for large groups. Some wineries require advance notice; others don’t. Wineries with smaller tasting rooms like KC Wineworks may require reservations for larger groups. Some wineries have limited or no parking available for large vehicles like buses or RVs.

Before the wine tasting

Dress appropriately: While Missouri wineries offer outdoor, indoor seating or both, wine tastings are usually done standing. Wear comfortable shoes. Consider bringing a sweater or jacket if you plan to tour the winery's cellars as they tend to be a little on the cool side.

Avoid chewing mint gum or consuming coffee. Both are palate killers and will impact your wine tasting experience.

Skip the smelly stuff: Scents can affect your ability to smell the wonderful aromas in the wine so avoid wearing overly fragrant perfume or cologne.

Military member? Rodney Toombs, Tasting Bar Manager at Chaumette Vineyards and Winery, encourages you to ask winery staff if they offer a military discount. Toombs, an Air Force veteran, says you might be surprised how many Missouri wineries provide special offers to veterans or active members of the military.

Put your cell phone away. Be respectful to the person behind the bar and to others around you who are enjoying a wine tasting. Unless it’s an emergency, stay off your phone.

During the wine tasting

The 5 S’s of Wine Tasting: See, Swirl, Smell, Sip and Savor. Visit our website to discover how each of these Ss can help enhance your wine tasting experience.


Sip, bite, sip. If you are offered a food item like an oyster cracker or chocolate to pair with your wine, always taste the wine before the food. “You want to taste the wine on its own to know whether you enjoy it,” advises Stephen O’Brien, Wine Club Manager at Van Till Family Farm Winery. Once you discover a favorite wine, explore all of the amazing food pairing possibilities with our helpful wine and food pairing graphic. Wine trail events are also great opportunities to experience the impact that delicious Missouri wine can have on a variety of foods. Visit our website to discover our state’s 11 wine trails.

Be honest with the person doing your tasting. It’s okay to admit that you don’t know much about wine. They will help guide you throughout your experience.

Taste in the correct order. When tasting a variety of wines, it’s always best to start with dry wines and move towards the winery’s sweeter selection. If you start with a sweet wine, the dry wines will taste too acidic. 

Let winery staff know which wines you prefer but don’t be afraid to try new things. Whether you’re on the sweeter end of the winetasting scale, prefer dry, or a wine style that’s in between, this is a great opportunity to try new wines. Keep your mind open and you may just discover a new favorite. 

You do not have to like everything you taste. Everyone’s palate is different. However, avoid being insulting. Just because you don’t like a wine, doesn’t mean that the wine is bad.

Rosé wines are not always sweet. You can also find semi-sweet and dry rosé wines at Missouri wineries. Whatever your preference on the sweetness scale, you’re likely to find a rosé that you enjoy during your excursions in Missouri wine country.


Trust the person behind the bar. He or she knows the wine they are pouring inside and out.

It is okay to not finish your tasting pour. Use the dump buckets provided by the winery.

Record what you like. Make notes of your favorite wines and take a photo of the bottle. This will make it easier to remember which delicious wines to take home with you.

Have fun! Immerse yourself in the experience. Can’t pick out a wine’s flavor notes or aromas? Ask the winery’s friendly staff.

Although it may be tempting to squeeze as many wine tastings as possible into a single day, it’s best to take your time and enjoy the experience. With more than 130 wineries in the state, the trickiest part will be deciding where to start. See you in Missouri wine country!     

Behind the Label: Chaumette Vineyards and Winery's Shumate

January 15, 2019

Chaumette Vineyards and Winery is located in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, the site of the first French colonial settlement on the west side of the Mississippi River. It may seem only natural that a man of French descent would start a winery in the town’s beautiful rolling hills, but that was not owner Hank Johnson’s intention when he and his wife Jackie originally purchased land in the area. They were simply looking for a weekend retreat for their family. Still, Hank had a passion for wine and viticulture, so what started out as 3 acres of grapes soon grew to 30. The Johnsons opened their winery in 1990 and named it in honor of Hank’s ancestors, the Chaumettes.

The boutique winery specializes in handcrafting wines of distinction, with a diverse portfolio of wine, including two styles of their special release, Shumate. Shumate Blanc is a dry, white wine with a strong stone fruit profile and a welcoming floral bouquet. Shumate Rouge is a medium-bodied, dry, red wine with red currant and oak throughout the profile with hints of plum and nutmeg.


“I chose the name Shumate because it is the anglicized version of ‘Chaumette,'’" explains Henry Johnson, winemaker and son of the winery’s owners. “Jean de la Chaumette and his ancestors changed their last name after they arrived in America.” (You can read a brief story of the family’s history on the winery’s website.) Johnson also chose the name due to his own personal interest in the Shumate Cutlery Co. His great-grandfather, Joseph Shumate, ran the company in Austin, Texas and later in St. Louis, Missouri.“The stylized font used in our label is directly taken from a razor ad I found from the cutlery company,” explains Johnson. “The label was an attempt to show a more modern flair to the wine and allow me to be flexible as the winemaker.”


While history inspired the wine’s name and font, a contemporary artist designed the label. Hank’s sister, Joann Truss, created the illustration, featuring the winery and its cozy chapel in her drawing. The gifted artist also designed Chaumette’s logo.


The next time you travel to Ste. Genevieve, stop by Chaumette Vineyards and Winery. Try the winery’s delicious Shumate wines, listen to the family’s history and watch it unfold on the beautiful mural before you in their tasting room. The mural is a depiction of Jean de la Chaumette’s life, from his early beginnings in France to his settlement in the British colony of Stafford County, Virginia.

À votre santé!

Norton: Try our Signature Style

January 10, 2019

During the month of January, we proudly celebrate the norton grape. This grape varietal is extremely important to the state of Missouri; in fact, it’s our state grape. When it comes to norton, there are so many things to love. 

Norton is many things – it’s the most prominent red wine grape in Missouri, its clusters are small and blue-black in color, its extremely hardy and vigorous, resistant to most diseases, Missouri’s latest grape to ripen and is fermented on the skins. Missouri’s norton is big, bold, red and most importantly, delicious! 

You might have also heard this grape called cynthiana. There is some controversy over the name, but most consider norton and cynthiana one in the same. Nonetheless, this grape accounts for nearly 21% of all grapes grown in Missouri. 

There are more than 350 bearing acres of norton in Missouri that often craft this grape into dry and dessert wines. Norton pairs perfectly with smoked meat, wild game, BBQ, lamb, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, carmelized onions, garlic sauce, dark chocolate, black cherries and spice cake. 

So now what? Try our signature style and possibly make Missouri’s norton your go-to red this winter season! 

Missouri Wine 2019 Bucket List

January 08, 2019

The year is full of possibility with many great opportunities to explore Missouri wine country. Not sure where to start? We invite you to take our 2019 Bucket List challenge. See how many of these wonderful experiences you can mark off your list. Make 2019 a year to remember!

Experiences you won’t want to miss this year:

  • Enjoy the many Missouri Wine Trails – Did you know there are 11 wine trails across the state? 
  • Capture the perfect selfie – with the breathtaking views of valleys and rivers across the state, the chances of capturing the perfect selfie with great lighting are likely!
  • Get your band fix while listening to live music – many Missouri wineries feature live music throughout the year. 
  • Break a sweat in the vineyard – or don’t! But seriously, enjoy yoga in the vineyard at several wineries across the Show Me State. Watch our calendar for upcoming yoga events. 
  • Stay and play – there are 21 wineries that have on-site lodging for you, your friends and family.
  • Get the behind-the-scenes scoop – 63 wineries across the state offer tours of their facilities. 
  • Deepen your appreciation for the winemaking business – experience harvest season by traveling to harvest festivals across the state. Many wineries have a lot of fun with this time of year and thoroughly enjoy getting to share this time with folks from all over. 
  • Channel your inner explorer self – get out and see the eight things you never thought you’d find in Missouri wine country.
  • Be on the lookout for special events year ‘round – like special Valentine’s Day events, Mother’s Day outings and even fireworks on Independence Day. 
  • Worried that not everyone in your group enjoys wine? – Don’t fret, there are many wineries in the state that also brew their own beer

There are so many things to see and do across Missouri wine country that we recommend visiting in 2019. As you’re out and about and checking items off of your bucket list, get rewarded for your visits! Become a Missouri Wine MVP member today!


Wine Lovers’ Calendar

January 03, 2019

The new year is here and there are many things to look forward to. On our calendar, you’ll find several months dedicated to the promotion of Missouri grape varietals as well as important dates in the wine industry. As you enjoy the upcoming seasons, keep these Missouri wine-centric holidays in mind and celebrate accordingly – with a glass of Missouri wine, of course! 

Celebrate the Season: Be Inspired this Winter

December 27, 2018


When the days are cold and Jack Frost nips at your nose, it’s tempting to stay home, snuggled under a cozy blanket. Add a glass of Missouri wine and the perfect scene is set. But if the long days linger and you crave a little break from all that downtime, an activity or two may be just what you need to recharge your batteries. Brighten up your day with these great suggestions on how to make the most out of the winter season.

Visit Missouri wineries. There is no off season when it comes to the Missouri wine industry. Missouri wineries are busy and many of them are open year round, although some may have limited hours during the winter. More than 100 wineries across the state offer indoor, weather-proof seating so there is no reason to stay home. You can enjoy the beautiful winter views while relaxing in the welcoming atmosphere of Missouri’s wineries. And, if there are fewer people at the winery, you may get a little more one-on-one time with staff and even the winemaker. Because some wineries have seasonal hours, we recommend you contact the winery and check their hours before you set off on your journey. 


Attend a Missouri wine trail event. Shake off those winter blues at signature wine trail events. Enjoy delicious Missouri wines and delightful treats at Meramec River Wine Trail's Be Mine With Wine event, February 9 - 10, 2019, Hermann Wine Trail’s Chocolate Wine Trail event, February 16 – 17, 2019 and Mississippi’s River Wine Trail’s Taste of an Italian Romance event, February 23, 2019.

Get Creative. Turn your impressive collection of wine corks into unique décor. You’ll find a variety of craft projects on our website, including an ombré cork heart. Homemade gifts are always a hit with loved ones.

Be the perfect host. Whether you’re planning a New Year’s Eve get-together or waiting until after the craze of the holidays to host a gathering with family and friends, Missouri wines are the perfect addition to any winter festivity. Visit our website for tips on how to plan the perfect party from what type of wine and how much to buy to the proper place settings at the dinner table. With a little proper wine etiquette know-how, your party will leave a lasting impression on your guests.


Be the perfect guest. On the other hand, if you’ve been invited to a shindig, you may feel a little intimidated about navigating the social scene. These eight tips will help you be a great guest.

Try a twist on your favorite wine. Missouri wine is delightful on its own but you can also make a variety of festive drinks incorporating your favorite wines. Visit our website for easy recipes on how to make Missouri Winter White Sangria, Mulled Wine and Red Wine Hot Chocolate.



Make delicious Missouri wine bread. Add a dry red Missouri wine such as Norton to your next batch of homemade bread. You can also use a sweeter wine but Norton adds a nice, strong flavor and aroma. This Missouri Wine Quick Bread recipe is easy and delicious!

Soup’s on! When there’s a chill in the air, nothing sounds better than a bowl of steaming soup. Visit our website to see which wines pair perfectly with your favorite soups.  

With these great suggestions, you’ll never experience a dull moment this winter. We hope you enjoy the season as you make lasting memories with family and friends. 



Holiday Missouri Wine-tail

December 20, 2018

Another year has come and gone and we are already running head first into the Christmas holiday! As time flies and everyone grows older, we realize how important it is to stop and take a look around. The holiday season is a great time to be thankful for our loved ones and all that we have. 

Allow Missouri Wines to be a part of your celebrations this year. In addition to the many great pairings that we share all year-round, we also want to supply you with a tasty holiday wine-tail that will be a delight at any gathering this season. 

Cheers to being thankful, grateful and blessed! 

Missouri Cranberry Rosemary Cocktail​

Prep Time: 10 minutes | Freeze Time: 8 hours | Serving Size: 10 glasses

Cocktail Ingredients:

1 ½ cup          Water
1 sprig            Fresh rosemary
2 cups            Cranberry juice
1 cup              Triple Sec
1 bottle           Missouri sparkling wine, chilled


Heat water to boil in microwave – depending on your microwave, this could take 2-5 minutes. Once your water begins boiling, remove from the microwave and add a rosemary sprig to the water, let it steep for 10 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprig. 

In a 1-quart freezer container, combine cranberry juice, rosemary water and Triple Sec. Cover and freeze for 8 hours or until ready to use. 

To serve, scoop frozen cranberry mixture into your glass of choice – champagne flutes, wine glasses, etc. Fill the glass about ½ full. Top the glass with your Missouri sparkling wine of choice. Garnish with sprigs of fresh rosemary. 


Behind the Label: Viandel Vineyard's Jack's Frost

December 18, 2018

Every wine label has a story. 
When John and Johnna Swineford were looking for the perfect couple to portray Santa and Mrs. Claus on the label for their seasonal cranberry wine, they knew exactly who they wanted to fill those legendary shoes; however, turning their vision into reality came with a few challenges.
Johnna’s parents, Jack and Donna Deck, were the natural choice, but Jack had passed away last November. Donna had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease two years prior to that. And there were no pictures of the couple dressed up like Mr. and Mrs. C.
To create the holiday scene, the Swinefords commissioned Kelsey McMullen, a Kansas City artist who grew up in Mountain View, the town where Viandel Vineyard is located. Johnna provided McMullen with several candid photos of her parents. In addition to memorializing her parents, the label features Jake, the family’s chocolate lab and the fireplace located in the winery’s tasting room. If you look closely at the label, you can make out the names of the Swineford family on the stockings and on the list in Santa’s hand. Of course, Santa is holding a glass of wine from the winery. The wine, named in honor of Johnna’s late father, is a special tribute to a remarkable couple who cherished the holidays.


Although Johnna’s mother Donna struggles with dementia, she recognized her husband the instant she saw the label. “She was overcome with emotion,” recalls Johnna who made a print to hang in her mom’s room.  “She loves it and shows it to everyone.”

There’s another reason why Jack’s Frost is so special to the Swineford family. It’s the first wine that John and Johnna have produced at the winery. The couple purchased Viandel Vineyard on February 23, 2018. The winery’s seasonal wine has a rich color and crisp cranberry flavor with a smooth finish. Jack’s Frost’s semi-sweet nature has the perfect balance of tartness and tastes like Christmas in a glass.



Defiance Ridge Vineyards

Rooted in the rolling hills of historic Missouri wine country, the 42 acre property boasts a vineyard, tranquil lake and lush garden landscape. Breathtaking views of the Missouri River Valley are captured year round from the terraces and veranda surrounding the winery's historic farmhouse.

Defiance Ridge can be your first and last stop in wine country as the winery is close to St. Louis and easily accessible from Highway 94 as you enter the Missouri wine country corridor.


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