Wine Lovers Calendar

January 07, 2021

A new year has begun and there are many things to look forward to in Missouri wine country. With this calendar, you’ll find several months dedicated to the promotion of our Show-Me State’s 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! 

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Norton: Rooted in History, Aged to Perfection

December 30, 2020

This January, discover the red wine that has a longstanding history and has been aged to perfection. Norton is a bold, yet approachable, dry red wine that is a product of pride and longevity.

Although Norton was first discovered in Virginia, the roots of this varietal’s history took hold in Missouri. German settlers in Hermann began growing Norton vines in the 1840s and were soon taking the world by storm with this hardy varietal, including winning a gold medal at the 1873 World’s Fair in Vienna. Today, Norton continues to win national and international wine competition awards, and receives special recognition at the annual Missouri Wine Competition. The C.V. Riley award, named in honor of the state’s first entomologist who was credited with helping save the French wine industry, distinguishes outstanding Missouri Norton wines.

Norton, the state grape of Missouri, is the most widely grown grape in the Show-Me State. This all-American varietal accounts for 20% of grapes grown across Missouri, and there are more than 300 bearing acres of Norton being harvested to produce this foundational Missouri wine. Norton can be found at many wineries not only in its true varietal form, but also in a variety of red blends and dessert wines.

Norton is a full-bodied, dry red wine that boasts spicy oak and dark fruit flavors, complemented by aromas of dark berries and cherries. This versatile varietal is stellar to enjoy by the glass, in a winetail or in your favorite recipe. The versatility of Norton extends into its pairing possibilities, from beef to smoked cheeses, even Doritos or pistachios. Want to see more Norton and food pairings to excite your taste buds? Head over to our infographic gallery!

Hoping to save your prized bottle of Norton for a special occasion? This must-have wine has been recognized as cellar-worthy, meaning that it can be stored and aged if desired. Whether you choose to enjoy Norton shortly after purchasing, or decide to let this bold wine age, make sure this staple Missouri wine has a place on your wine rack or in your cellar.

Experience the terroir of Missouri Norton and learn from the expert winemakers who have perfected this varietal at the Feast Virtual Vine wine tasting. On January 28th, sip along as host Cat Neville leads an exclusive tasting and discussion with featured Missouri winemakers. If you’re around the St. Louis area, be sure to claim your ticket and receive four bottles of award-winning wine, along with perfectly paired snacks and swag. For wine lovers across the state, you can tune in for free and discover what makes Norton so unique.

During January, discover the foundational Missouri wine that has a rich history and endless possibilities. Discover Norton, rooted in history, aged to perfection.

Happy Holidays, Honey Winetail

December 29, 2020








Serve up something sweet this holiday season with Missouri sparkling wine. Light and effervescent sparkling wine pairs with honey and fresh berries to create a festive, bright beverage perfect for raising a toast. Feel free to adjust the sweetness of this sipper based on your taste preferences! Check out this quick video to see how to recreate this simple and delicious treat.

Happy Holidays, Honey Winetail Recipe

Prep Time: 5 minutes | Serves: 1


For Rim Garnish:

Granulated sugar

Local honey (supplied by Missouri Grown)

For Beverage:

15-20 raspberries (plus more for garnish)

½ teaspoon granulated sugar

1 ounce local honey (supplied by Missouri Grown)

1 ½ ounce vodka


Missouri sparkling wine (we used Demi-Sec sparkling)


Dip a fluted glass in local honey and granulated sugar to create a sweet, festive rim and set aside. Combine raspberries and sugar in a food processor and puree until well blended. In a cocktail shaker, combine one ounce of the berry puree with honey, vodka and ice. Shake well and strain into rimmed glass. Top off with sparkling wine and add a few raspberries to the glass for an extra garnish. Enjoy!



Wine-Themed Gift Tags are Cheers-Worthy

December 21, 2020

Whether you’re wrapping a delicious bottle of Missouri wine, a unique gift from a Missouri winery gift shop or you snagged one of these awesome wine-lovers gifts, our unique gift tags will add an extra special touch!

Blank gift tags to use for presents - downloadable

Right click and click Save As!

Ladoga Ridge Winery: Rich in History, Rich in Community Pride

December 16, 2020

Smithville, a community rich with history and beaming with community pride, is where you will find Ladoga Ridge Winery. Ladoga Ridge is a family-owned, boutique winery surrounded by beautiful vineyards, trees as far as the eye can see, pastures and so much more. It has a sense of serenity that only nature can yield. The residents of Smithville are proud of its heritage, residents and merchants are inspired by its past, and it’s a place where all are committed to the future.

Longtime Smithville residents Galen and Leinda Haddock invested thought, time and hard physical labor to grow this business and they did so from the ground up. The couple planted the grapevines themselves. With the help of their friends, and most importantly their children, the Haddocks brought their dream to life. Their mission is clear - “Offer each of our guests an inviting and fun atmosphere where they can relax and reflect while enjoying high quality, affordable, hand crafted wines, surrounded by the natural beauty of our vineyards and unsurpassed service of our staff!”


The Haddocks knew the importance of involvement and today Ladoga Ridge is a member of the Smithville Area Chamber of Commerce, Northwest Missouri Wine Trail, Missouri Grape Growers Association, Missouri Vintners Association and more! Leinda became a member of the Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, started a city beautification day, and even received a "Key to the City."

Sadly, Leinda passed away in May of this year. Leinda was a very big part of the winery’s operations, an active member in the Northwest Missouri Wine Trail and in the community. Friends and family remember her kindness, impeccable work ethic, beautiful smile and so much more. Galen, her husband of 37 years, is continuing the push through.

Not only is Galen the winery owner, he is also the winemaker. He is currently bottling delicious blackberry wine and noted the success of Galen’s Red – now with the title of most popular wine! In addition to Galen’s Red, Ladoga Ridge offers four white wines ranging from sweet to dry, a semi-sweet rosé, four addition reds ranging from sweet to dry, fruit wines including Peach, Strawberry Rhubarb and Blackberry, and finally a sweet Chambourcin Port.


Free tastings, delicious food, unique gift shop items, indoor and outdoor seating, music and tours are just a few things you can expect to experience when visiting this winery. It will be a place you want to bring your friends and family to, and for special occasions you can rent out tent space or the breathtaking Hearth Room.

A beautiful place, relaxing, truly great tasting wine, amazing hospitality are just some of the things Ladoga Ridge customers have to say about their visits. You too can escape the stresses of the week with an evening of wine tasting. Bring your friends, family or come alone. The Ladoga Ridge staff is always glad to see you and pour you a glass of award-winning wine.



Spice Up the Holiday Season with Sangria

December 16, 2020

Looking for a new and different way to enjoy Missouri wines at home this holiday season? Try mixing up a pitcher of delicious sangria to share!

Sangria is a mixed beverage originating from Spain and Portugal, although the exact history of how sangria came to be is a bit of a mystery. This summertime sipper’s name actually comes from the Spanish word for “blood” (sangre) and pays homage to the rich red wine that serves as the base. Want to change things up? While red wine is traditionally used in Spanish sangria, other Missouri wines make an excellent base, including Vidal Blanc featured in our Missouri Winter White Sangria recipe.

The beauty of sangria, besides its vibrant color, lies in its ability to be customized based upon your taste preferences. Do you like a sweeter or more tart taste? Are you a fan of tropical flavors, or do you prefer more spicy notes? The possibilities are endless with sangria! Once you know the basic building blocks, you can mix, match and create sangria for nearly every occasion and palate.

Creating your masterpiece is easy – all it takes is 4 easy components to build your perfect sangria (check out our handy infographic for building your best sangria).

  1. Wine: Red, white, rosé – choose based on your taste preferences.
  2. Sweetener: Common sweeteners include honey, sugar, simple syrup, fruit juice or sweet wine.
  3. Fruit: Fresh or frozen fruit is commonly found in sangria recipes. Experiment and add spices or fresh herbs!
  4. Liqueur: Brandy is used in traditional Spanish sangria, but any liqueur that pairs with your ingredients will work.

Need some inspiration for a fun and festive sangria to serve? Check out the recipe below!

Merry Mead Sangria Recipe

This colorful concoction is sure to be a hit at your next holiday gathering. Rich, spicy Norton and mellow, slightly sweet mead mix with fresh fruits and baking spices in this festive and flavorful sangria. We left the traditional fourth component of a sangria (liqueur) out of this recipe, but feel free to add your favorite liqueur that pairs with the following ingredients.

Prep Time: 15 minutes (not including chilling time)

Yield: 6-8 servings


2 – Oranges (one for sangria and one for garnish)

½ – Honeycrisp Apple

½ – Granny Smith Apple

1 cup – Cranberries (add more/less depending on desired taste)

3 – Cinnamon Sticks (add more/less depending on desired taste)

2 tsp. – Cloves (whole)

1 cup – Orange Juice

½ bottle – Missouri Mead

1 bottle – Missouri Norton



Slice one orange into thin slices. Chop apples and slice cranberries in half. Place all fruit in a large serving pitcher or bowl. Add cinnamon sticks and whole cloves. Pour orange juice over fruit, followed by mead and Norton. Stir, chill and enjoy in glasses topped with an orange slice garnish!

Quick tip – want to easily remove your cloves and cinnamon sticks before enjoying a glass? Place them in a cheesecloth pouch or use a mesh strainer to retrieve them before serving.

Behind the Label: Balducci Vineyards' 4310

December 08, 2020

Nestled on a hillside in historic Augusta, Balducci Vineyards has been producing wine since 2001. While the Balducci family has been making and selling award-winning wine for nearly 20 years, the family’s history in the food and beverage industry goes back several generations. This deep-rooted connection to family and heritage is an integral part of not only the winery’s success, but of their recognizable branding and inspiration for the lineup of wines Balducci offers.

Balducci Vineyards tasting room

The Balducci family migrated from Italy to the United States in 1906. Louis Balducci spent time working in California vineyards and started the Balducci Wine Company in 1946. In 1975, Rick Balducci, son to Louis, and two business partners opened Balducci’s Restaurant in St. Louis. Rick and his wife, Carol, purchased the winery property from a family member in 1987 with a vision to build a successful winery program. The Balduccis have continued to make the wine business a family affair. Carol and Rick handle many aspects of events and day-to-day operations at the winery and Nic, their son, is the chief winemaker.

Balducci Vineyards ties in a strong connection between family and history. The winery gives subtle nods to their heritage and history in many aspects of their business, including the packaging of their award-winning wines. A hallmark of the Balducci wine label is the silhouette of a barn, which pays tribute to the original barn on the winery property that has been standing since the 1800s.

Balducci Vineyards Norton Limited wine bottle label

The significance and story behind the Balducci label is as unique as the wine inside. Each wine’s name references various aspects of the Balducci family’s heritage and interests. Natalia, a Vidal Blanc and Vignoles blend, was named after Rick and Carol’s daughter, Natalie. Sonata and Aria (currently sold out) reflect Rick’s interest in music as both names are terms used in musical composition. The latest wine to be added to the Balducci Vineyards lineup is 43o10o, which has its own unique story and connection to the family.

Balducci Vineyards' 4310 wine label

Nic and his wife gave birth to a son nearly two years ago and named him Lucca. This name was of particular significance because the Balducci family came to the United States from the northern Italian city of Lucca. Lucca’s GPS coordinates are 43 degrees north latitude and 10 degrees west longitude, the exact combination that grace the label. Other elements of the 43o10o packaging also pay homage to the family’s heritage. A golden wax seal adorns the label and is reminiscent of traditional Italian wine labels. The stamp showcases the same outline of the historic barn as the other wines in the Balducci Vineyards lineup. The thick paper and metallic gold lettering were carefully selected to incorporate elements of traditional wine labels as well. These features are combined elegantly to create a label doesn’t overpower the beautiful wine inside and piques the interest of the curious customer. Balducci Vineyards’ 43o10o is a rich, fortified white wine made from 100% Vignoles grapes and aged new French oak barrels for 30 months. While 43o10o is a dessert wine that pairs well with dark chocolate and dried fruits, it can be enjoyed at any occasion.

Balducci Vineyards' 4310 wine label close-up

Stop by Balducci Vineyards during your next visit to Augusta and toast to family and heritage with 43o10o. To learn more about Balducci Vineyards and to find their contact information, check out their listing on our website.

Give the Perfect Wine-Related Gift on Any Budget

December 02, 2020

Are you having a hard time finding the right gift for the wine lover on your list that seems to have everything? In addition to Missouri wine of course, here are some one-of-kind gift ideas for that special someone in your life. Don’t forget, many Missouri wineries have gift shops that house items like these and much more!

1. Wine Rocks keep your wine chilled.

2. Take your wine’s temperature with the Alltemp Select Infrared Wine ThermometerWine Thermometer.jpg


3. Jewelry definitely says “I love you” and with this wine necklace, it’ll also say, “I know you.”

4. Wine glass pens or wine glass charms help you personalize your wine glass.

5. Devoted wine loving ladies may enjoy this Wine Accessories Gift Box Set for women by LePrene.

6. Let your wine breath with the Vintorio Wine Aerating Pourer.

7. The True Wall-Mounted Wine Rack is a unique way to store wine against the wall.

8. Keep those toes warm with these Wine Crew Socks

9. This pine display box is a cute way to cover and gift wine.

10. Mix functionality and fabulous décor with this marble wine cooler.

11. Protect open wine bottles and glasses while spending time outdoors with this wine holder kit

12. Picnic anywhere with this personalized picnic table that doubles as a wine holder.

13. Never forget your wine tasting favorites with this wine journal complete with tabbed sections for all types of wines.

14. Keep your wine at the perfect temperature for 24 hours with this Winesulator set.

15. A touch control wine cellar? What will they think of next?

16. We all make messes from time to time, this emergency wine stain remover will be much appreciated.

17. Give the gift of relaxation with this bath caddy featuring a special wine glass holder.

18. Keep things cool with the Corkcicle Air. It chills and aerates!

19. If novelty gifts are your thing, check out this jumbo wine glass

20. In the St. Louis area? Grab tickets to a Feast Magazine Virtual Vine wine tasting event sponsored by Missouri Wines. You’ll receive four bottles of wine delivered right to your door and during the event you will get to meet the winemakers.

We hope this list left you with one less (or more) person to shop for. All of us at Missouri Wines wish you a wonderful wine-filled holiday season!



Missouri Wine Country – Wintertime’s Hidden Gem

December 01, 2020

The leaves of autumn have fallen, temperatures have dropped and the holidays are quickly approaching. Winter has arrived in the Show-Me State. While any time of year is perfect for visiting Missouri wineries, this season is particularly ideal for wine lovers to explore all that the state has to offer. This winter, discover the hidden gem that is Missouri wine country.

Serene Sips

Missouri wineries are the perfect place to take in wintertime’s peaceful beauty. Perched on blufftops, nestled on hillsides or tucked away in the trees, visitors can gaze upon snow-speckled vines and icy rivers trickling from cozy spots near tasting room fireplaces or outdoor seating with portable heaters.

Want to learn more about Missouri’s grape varietals or the state’s rich wine history? Winter’s slightly slower pace allows for more casual conversation with winery staff and the potential to expand your Missouri wine knowledge. When planning your next visit, call ahead and see what learning experiences are currently being offered at the winery.

Looking to get away for more than a day? Missouri wine country is the perfect place to recharge and rejuvenate. Some wineries offer lodging options where guests can wine, dine and relax – find them using our interactive map. Besides award-winning wine, visitors can find stellar food, shopping and attractions across the state to fill up your itinerary.

Seasonal Releases and Pairings to Delight

Although grapes have been harvested and vines are bare, wineries are still bustling with activity as winemakers prepare the next vintages of your favorite award-winning varietals. During this time of year, wineries across the state offer seasonal wine releases and festively-themed sips to celebrate the holidays. Now is the perfect opportunity to stock up on your favorites or try a new seasonal beverage during your visit.

Are you a foodie at heart? Warm and savory dishes make their way onto on our tables and onto the menus of restaurants in wine country during the winter season. While you’re visiting wineries, make sure to save time (and room) for a meal paired perfectly with Missouri wine. After your visit, our wine and food pairing resources can guide you in selecting and serving holiday foods with your new favorite bottles of vino.

Holiday Shopping and Events

What would winter be without holiday shopping? Missouri wineries are your one-stop shop for nearly everyone on your list, even those loved ones who are hard to shop for. Apparel, drinkware, gift certificates from tasting rooms and, of course, Missouri wines make excellent gifts. Be on the lookout for specials and exclusive deals offered by your favorite winery and shop small businesses this season.

Besides sipping and shopping winery retail spaces, wintertime in wine country often means special seasonal events. Take a look at our online calendar and check out your favorite winery’s website or social media platforms to stay up-to-date on events. In addition to individual wineries, Missouri’s 11 unique wine trails offer opportunities for wine lovers to enjoy exclusive pairings, live music and holiday celebrations.

Get Ready to Explore!

Ready to plan your winter wine excursion? From our detailed trip planners that outline must-see spots in several wine areas, to our wine trail list and all-new winery guide, Missouri Wines has all the resources you need to create the perfect wine itinerary.

While you’re exploring Missouri’s 125+ wineries, make sure you’re getting rewarded for it. The Missouri Winery Visitors Program (MVP) offers exciting and exclusive opportunities just for visiting wineries. It’s as easy as visiting one of the 100+ participating wineries and grabbing an MVP ticket before departing, entering the ticket’s code online and watching your points rack up. Besides the physical rewards, MVP offers rewarding friendships and unforgettable memories in scenic Missouri wine country. Ready to get started? Sign up today!


#ShopLocal at Missouri Winery Gift Shops

November 25, 2020

It’s the time of year when we scramble to find gifts for our friends and family members. Sometimes it is hard to think outside the box and find the perfect gift year after year. 

Missouri wineries are here to help! What better way to spread holiday cheer than shopping local? Now more than ever, they need your support.

Many wineries have unique gift options for that wine lover in your life. Of course, you can find a great selection of Missouri wines, but retail items may also include:

The best tip we have to give when it comes to Christmas shopping? When in doubt, a bottle of wine always does the trick… especially when it’s Missouri wine!  

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