Thomas Jefferson Loved Wine Too

April 12, 2016

Did you know Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States? Okay, you probably knew that, but did you also know that he was a total wine geek? No, really. Here are some fun facts about our fellow wine-lover. 

  1. He took a little break (a few months) while serving as a diplomat in France to tour the wine regions. He traveled anonymously and changed horses a few times throughout his journey to keep it that way. 
  2. His taste for fine wines didn’t go away during his presidency. While in the White House, he racked up a $10,000 wine bill in his first term alone. That would be around $190,000 today. 
  3. Even after his presidency came to an end, he still had a hand in wines at the White House. He served as wine advisor to Presidents Adams, Madison, and Monroe. 
  4. Not too surprisingly, he wanted taxes on wine to stay low. He’s quoted saying, “No nation is drunken where wine is cheap; and none sober, where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as the common beverage.”
  5. He experimented for many years to grow his own grapes and make wine. He had two vineyards at Monticello. 

Cheers to Thomas Jefferson; he may have been the third president, but he was one of America’s first wine geeks!

Bud Break in Missouri Vineyards

April 07, 2016

Bud BreakSpring is a time of awakening. In the vineyards of Missouri wine country this means bud break. During the winter, a grapevine’s buds are isolated from the vine’s vascular system to protect them from the cold. As the temperatures rise in the spring and the buds are rehydrated, they begin to swell and break through the outer layer of the cane, i.e. bud break. 

The weather plays a huge role in the health of grapevines and the crop they will yield. While we can’t predict what Mother Nature will do, grape-growers have some control over how the vines will produce through pruning. The buds that will swell, break free and turn into shoots are left carefully in place by pruners; two buds on each spur. These buds will provide all of the new year’s growth, and eventually its bounty. 

Welcome back spring and the vines in Missouri wine country. We’ll see you soon! 

Chardonel: Missouri’s Classic White Wine

April 04, 2016

Chardonel is a hybrid grape with two well-known parents, Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc, but this grape doesn’t hide in the shadows. Missouri’s classic white wine, Chardonel, is the perfect pairing for spring weather, food, and fun. That’s why April has been named Chardonel Month! 

Pronounced shar-doe-nel, this white grape embodies the best characteristics of both Chardonnay and Seyval Blanc, producing quality wines that have a classic white wine profile and pair well with a wide variety of foods. Maybe that’s why it has been a long-time favorite with winemakers and consumers alike. Chardonel grapes account for eight percent of all the grapes grown in the “Show Me” State. 

Chardonel wines can vary depending on the winemaker’s style. If a winemaker chooses to age their Chardonel in oak, the wine has a rich, creamy character with notes of oak, apple and subtle spice. Chardonel wines made in an un-oaked style feature more citrus and apple notes with a light, crisp finish. Chardonel pairs particularly well with creamy white cheese, grilled chicken, mushrooms and apple dishes. It’s the ideal wine to have on hand for dinners, entertaining or simply sipping on the patio this spring season.

As the weather warms up, head out to Missouri wine country and celebrate Chardonel with us. Cheers to Missouri’s classic white wine! 

One-Day Getaways in Missouri Wine Country

March 31, 2016

Exploring Missouri wine country for a week (or two) sounds like the perfect getaway, but what if you don’t have that much time to dedicate to your wine adventure? Don’t worry: with 10 wine trails and more than 130 wineries in the “Show Me” State, there’s a wine region closer than you might think. Spring is a great time to visit Missouri wine country, and these one-day getaways are sure to fit into even the busiest of schedules. So take a day and get away to Missouri wine country! 

Hermann, Missouri
Hermann’s long history of producing fine wines started in the 1830s when German immigrants established themselves and developed prosperous vineyards on the banks of the Missouri River. Today this area still celebrates rich culture through German traditions, festivals, museums and award-winning wines. Hermann is sure to provide the perfect day of wine, food & fun! 

Augusta, Missouri 
Only a 35 mile drive west of St. Louis, the Augusta region offers a quaint historic town and beautiful countryside that is home to several award-winning wineries. Augusta was named the first federally designated wine grape-growing region, American Viticultural Area (AVA), in the United States. Augusta’s long history as one of America’s oldest and foremost grape and wine districts is apparent the moment you arrive. Explore the rolling hillsides, bluff top views, and history Augusta has to offer one glass of Missouri wine at a time! 

Ste. Genevieve, Missouri 
The charming community of Ste. Genevieve is nestled on the west bank of the Mississippi River just 60 miles south of St. Louis. French settlers began growing grapes in this area in the early 1700s. Today, their impact is apparent in the region’s architecture, museums and wineries. Whether you’re looking to explore history, a quaint downtown or journey into the countryside, Ste. Genevieve has the perfect Missouri wine to pair with your adventure! 

Kansas City, Missouri 
The grand parks, boulevards, public squares and fountains of Kansas City, Missouri have earned it the nickname, “Paris of the Plains.” Kansas City offers rich history, soulful music, famous barbecue and its very own scenic wine country. With two wine trails in and around Kansas City, there are several options for your one day getaway in the KC area

Springfield + Branson, Missouri
Situated only 50 miles apart in southwest Missouri, Springfield and Branson create the heart of the Ozarks. These cities are known for attractions, shopping, entertainment, and of course wineries! With a wine trail connecting Springfield and Branson the one-day wine getaway options in this area are endless. 

Use these wine-tinerary suggestions, or create your own one-day adventure to Missouri wine country. There’s always time for Missouri wine and Spring is the perfect time to explore!

Join Missouri Wines at 417 Fashionation

March 29, 2016

Southwest Missouri’s premiere fashion event and 10th annual fashion show is bigger, bolder and better than ever… just like the local wines bringing home award after award. This exciting event, being held on Saturday, April 9th at the Springfield Expo Center, features a VIP party, runway show with the area’s best retailers and salons, live music by Pearl Nation, and appearances by 417 Magazine’s Best Dressed. Plus there is an after party with a live DJ and more fabulousness. 

You can get your tickets here, but the VIP tickets are already sold out. As a proud sponsor of the VIP Party, we do have a pair of VIP Runway Seats to give away (a $100 value!). Enter to win through our Instagram giveaway. Missouri wine is the perfect accessory to any outfit. Post a photo of your favorite fashion item (outfit, accessory, etc.) with the hashtags #MOwine and #417fashionation to be entered to win these exclusive tickets!

Giveaway rules: 

How to enter to win these VIP Runway Seats: (It’s super easy!)

  1. Follow Missouri Wines on Instagram @MissouriWine
  2. Post a photo of your favorite fashion item (outfit, accessory, etc.) with the hashtags #MOwine and #417fashionation in the caption no later than 5pm CST on Monday, April 4th, 2016.

KC Wineworks

KC Wineworks is a family owned and operated winery newly located in the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City.  Our winemaker, James Lowery, couples Old World wine-making methods with leading-edge techniques to transform regional grapes into innovative wines for our customers.  We aim to delight your senses and bring the best of the vineyard to you in a glass.

We offer wine tastings, event space for meetings and celebrations, and winery tours, all in a relaxing, fun atmosphere.  Check our website for more information and stop by when you are in Kansas City.


9 Tips for Spotless Wine Glasses

March 24, 2016

Cleaning wine glassQuality wine glasses are beautiful and impressive. They enhance our experience of enjoying delicious, award-winning Missouri wines but can be a bit of a bother to clean. Here are some tips for making your wine glasses sparkle, easily.

  1. Ditch the dishwasher. When you wash wine glasses in the dishwasher you increase the risk of breaking them. The heat bakes the detergent into the glass or crystal, and you end up with spotty glassware. Hand-washing your wine glasses is ideal.
  2. Does this wine smell like soap? It might be if you’re using a dish soap with fragrance. Opt for an odorless soap and use it sparingly, so you can get the most out of your wine’s aromas.
  3. Hand wash with warm soapy water. Sometimes the old-school solutions are the best. With a soft, clean sponge, gently wash the glass paying particular attention to the rim (lipstick stains) and the base of the bowl (finger, hand prints). Rinse with warm water.
  4. Sanitize for your soiree. If you entertain often, consider adding a sanitization step. Simply make a weak vinegar/water solution (1/2 cup vinegar to 8 cups of water) and rinse the glasses in the sanitizer in between the washing and rinsing steps.
  5. Drying is really important. You can wash wine glasses correctly all day, but if you don’t dry them properly you’ll still end up with unsightly water spots.
  6. Use a soft, lint-free towel to hand dry.  Microfiber towels work well, but you can also use a flour sack. They are inexpensive, large and usually come in packs so you can recruit a helper.
  7. Avoid snapping the stem. It seems intuitive to hold a wine glass by the base and do a twisting method while you use the towel to dry the bowl. Fight this urge! The tension you create can easily snap a wine glass’s delicate stem. Use the towel to hold the glass by the bowl or carefully by the stem while drying the rest of the glass.
  8. Water spots, now what?  If you still end up with water spots on your wine glasses, put a pot of water on the stove and get it simmering. Carefully (don’t burn yourself) place the bowl of the wine glass over the steam for a few moments until it has fogged up. Use a soft, lint-free towel to polish the water spots away. Easy as 1-2-3 (simmer, steam, polish).
  9. Washing can wait if you rinse. You’re tired after cooking dinner or cleaning up after an event, and this hand-washing business sounds like a lot of work. The washing can absolutely wait until the morning on one condition… rinse the glasses immediately. If you rinse the glasses in warm water, your cleaning will go a lot smoother the next day.

Now that we’ve cleaned the glassware, it’s time to pop the cork, right? Cheers! 

Easter Candy and Missouri Wine

March 22, 2016

Treat yourself to a delicious decadence this Easter… candy and wine pairing! Whether you love Peeps or wait all year for Cadbury Crème Eggs, these match ups with local wines and your favorite Easter candies will not disappoint. 


If you’re looking for pairing ideas for your Easter meal, this post is perfect for you.

St. Patrick’s Day Sangria

March 11, 2016

St. Patrick’s Day makes us think about luck, and how we’re all pretty lucky to be experiencing this exciting time in Missouri wine country. The industry has a $1.76 billion dollar impact on the state. That’s a big deal! The 125+ wineries in the state are making more and more delicious wines and winning impressive awards for them. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and local wine with this delicious sangria. Sláinte! (Cheers!) 

St. Patrick’s Day Sangria Recipe
Active Prep: 10 min, Passive Prep: 2 hours
Serves 4-6 


  • 1 bottle (750ml) Missouri Vidal Blanc (crisp, dry white wine) 
  • 4 oz Midori Liqueur 
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • 1 cup Honeydew Melon, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 Kiwi Fruits, sliced
  • 1 Lime, sliced
  • 1 Granny Smith Apple, diced into 1 inch cubes
  • 12 oz Club Soda 


  • Slice, chop fruit and combine in a large pitcher. 
  • Add Vidal Blanc wine, Midori, and lime juice, and stir well. 
  • Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours or overnight to let the flavors combine. 
  • Add club soda just before serving.

Wine Colors Decoded

March 10, 2016

Different wine colors decodedThere’s an age old saying that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but that doesn’t exactly apply to wine. We’ll let you in on a little secret. Even before you smell or taste it, there’s a lot you can learn by just looking at a wine. The color you see in wine comes primarily from contact with the grape skin; the juice itself is clear. Components that affect a wine’s color: grape varietal, oak vs. stainless steel, and age.

If you skinned a grape and then juiced it, the liquid would be almost clear. Prolonged contact with the grape skin imparts color. The longer the contact, the more color. White wine doesn’t usually get much (if any) contact with the grape skins, but there is still variation in the shade of yellow/gold of white wines based on which grapes they come from. Rosé wines get their lighter, pink hues from limited contact with the grape skins, sometimes as little as a few hours.

The longer the contact and the darker the grape itself, the deeper and darker the resulting wine’s color will be. For example, Concord wines are usually much lighter in color than Norton, even though they are both made from red grapes.

The vessel a wine is made/aged in also affects the color, particularly when it comes to white wine. Aging a white wine in oak makes it a darker, deeper yellow hue. While white wines made in stainless steel can be light, almost clear. Red wines aged in oak also get darker and deeper when they’ve spent more time in oak barrels.

As wine ages, its color changes. White wines become darker, more golden. Red wines lose some of their brilliance, turning more of a brick, brown color.

Next time you’re tasting wine, remember you can learn a lot from just looking at it. Here’s a little tip … hold your glass up to a white background (wall or paper) for even better contrast. Happy tasting!

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