Behind the Label: Pirtle Winery’s Mellow Red

For 45 years, Pirtle Winery’s Mellow Red has been a crowd favorite. This unique winery, housed in an old Lutheran Evangelical Church, has attracted loyal patrons from coast to coast. It is even reflected on TripAdvisor, as the #1 thing to do in Weston and totes a five-star rating backed by hundreds of reviews. All these great experiences started with the foundation set by Elbert and Pat Pirtle when they opened in 1978.

Pirtle Winery Founders

Elbert started making wine in the late 60s with a suggestion from a work colleague. When a local church was scheduled to be demolished into a parking lot, the Pirtle family leaned into the opportunity. Pat became the sales lead in the tasting room. Elbert worked on winemaking. It became a family affair for their children as well, Charles, Ross, Denise and Scott.

Scott and Ross purchased the winery in 2005, and it very much remains a family owned and operated business. Friends and family help harvest grapes every year.

Mellow Red is made 100% with Concord grapes. Although it is a sweet varietal, it is a staple that both sweet and dry wine enthusiasts come to enjoy. They ferment it slow and cold to keep the grape-forward flavor of the Concord varietal.

“It is our most popular wine,” says Scott. “It is definitely a crowd pleaser, and has been for a very long time.”

 Mellow Red Pirtle Wine   Pirtle Winery Sign

The wine bottle label features art that mimics a grape cluster, in a cascading, soft manner. This artwork is also featured on the signage outside the winery. Just as grapes mirror their terroir and environment, this wine, and label, mirror the pleasant experience found at the winery.

Pirtle Mellow Red in cansMellow Red can also be enjoyed by the can. With alternative packaging on the rise in the wine industry, the Pirtles wanted to expand their products to suit their customers’ needs. Mellow Red can be well-enjoyed with other “mellow” activities such as relaxing at the pool or enjoying time at the lake. Light, refreshing and recyclable, with the same quality found in the glass bottle. The can is a soft red color, reflecting the wine’s name. The dynamic P logo circles in a 360 that grabs the interest of your eye immediately.

The winery has been canning wines and ciders for three years, and last year purchased their own canner that fills, seams and labels. They are excited to can a larger variety of products.Pirtle Mead Bottles


The Pirtles reinvigorated the church space and kept it a haven for all who enjoy great wine. In addition to a great selection of wine and hard ciders, they also have internationally award-winning Meads that are official beverages of both the Kansas City and St. Louis Renaissance Festivals. Experience a variety of their wines at Weston Winefest on May 20.

Pirtle Winery’s products and personalized experience evoke emotions that are sought out for by many wine enthusiasts alike. Perhaps, this is why their loyal and vast following is so strong. That, and their family ideals that have remained the foundation for their operation.

Pat Pirtle says that “hospitality is the main creator of any good business.”

Elbert, agrees. “Hospitality, and quality.”

Tag us in your visit to Pirtle Winery in Weston, MO with @missouriwine and #missouriwine.

Trip Planner: Augusta

Explore the new and improved version of the Augusta trip planner. Wine, dine, stay and explore the locations listed on this clickable PDF. Download to save and utilize this tool to enjoy these highlights of Missouri wine country!

Valentine’s Events You’ll Love

Whether you’re searching for a romantic evening or a fun night out for “Galentine’s Day” you’ll be sure to find an event you love at a Missouri winery. Here is a sampling of events in Missouri wine country.

Adam Puchta Winery Valentine’s Dinner

Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11

Tickets: $75/person

Adam Puchta Winery is hosting the perfect dinner to treat your sweetheart this Valentine’s Day. This dinner will feature four courses from their 1855 Cellar Bistro paired perfectly with their award-winning wines.

Chaumette Vineyards & Winery – Weekend Getaway Special

Friday, Feb. 10 and Saturday, Feb. 11

Prices available online.

Stay with Chaumette for Valentine’s Day. Get two adjacent nights for only $100 more when you book a two-night stay on Friday and Saturday. Valentine’s Villa add-on packages available (for additional cost) which include: a bouquet of roses, chocolates, a bottle of wine and a festive balloon. The Executive Chef is offering special features in addition to our regular menu, including Pork Ossu Buco, Prime Grade Filet of Beef Tenderloin, Baked French Brie and more.

Cave Vineyards Romancing the Grape, Vine to Wine Experience.

Saturday, Feb. 11, 11 a.m.-noon or 12:30 p.m.

Tickets: $35/person
Learn more about wine in a relaxed environment with this tasting experience. Staff will walk guests through growing Missouri grapes, winemaking and tasting wine. This experience also includes cheese and chocolate samples to help understand how food and wine complement each other.

Chandler Hill – Wine Club Valentine’s Dinner 

Saturday. Feb. 11, 7 p.m.

$50 deposit required with reservation

These exclusive events are another reason to join a wine club. Chandler Hill is presenting a romantic dinner pairing everyone's two favorite things: wine and chocolate. This year Chef Michael Brewer will be crafting a delicious chocolate inspired menu that will pair elegantly with a sommelier selected wine for each course.

Defiance Ridge Vineyards Valentine’s Day Dinner

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 6-9 p.m.

Reservations only; menu and prices available online

Join Defiance Ridge Vineyards this Valentine’s Day for a wonderful dining experience with your loved one. Reservations will be taken in time slots of: 6 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7 p.m., and 7:30 p.m.

Valentines/Galentines Days at Edg-Clif Winery

Friday, Feb. 10, Saturday, Feb. 11 and Sunday, Feb. 12, 11 a.m.-5 p.m.

Tickets: $5-20/person

Make a reservation for special wine tastings with chocolate treats and souvenir glasses to take home.

Edg-Clif is offered a weekend special, "Wine Lovers Bouquet of Rose Wines", buy a dozen pink wines and get two free (includes Rose, Sunset and Twilight). Call ahead and just drive up for car-side delivery. Romantic couples or party friends can also buy a gift certificate for a VIP Tours and tastings.

Fence Stile Vineyards, Winery & Distillery – Four Valentine’s Events

Friday, Feb. 11, Saturday, Feb. 12, and Tuesday, Feb. 14, various times

Tickets: $28-59/person

Fence Stile offers candlelit wine, cheese and chocolate pairings all weekend (Feb. 11-12) in the wine cave. They also have a special wine cave tour and candlelit tasting on Valentine's Day with chocolates and sparkling wine.

Self Love Pop-up Event - KC Wineworks

Friday, Feb. 10, 6-9 pm

Treat yourself to an evening of self-care with local vendors. Get linked with jewelry, have your tarot cards read or pick up a bath bomb for later all while enjoying a glass to Missouri wine.

KC Wineworks – Wine is my Valentine

All February long
For the entire month of February enjoy a Valentine’s themes cocktail alongside their regular wine tastings. No reservations required.  

Les Bourgeois Vineyards/The Blufftop at Rocheport – Couples Wine + Chocolate Pairing

All February long, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Tickets: $25/couple

Enjoy a sample of four distinct wines, each expertly paired with artisan chocolates.

Les Bourgeois Vineyards/The Blufftop at Rocheport - Wine Lover's Tasting and Tour for Two

Wednesday, Feb. 1 – Thursday, Feb. 16, Contact tasting room for times

Tickets: $40/couple

Romantic candle lit tour of the cellar and winery with a Port and artisan chocolate tasting.

Les Bourgeois Vineyards/The Blufftop at Rocheport – Romantic Four Course Dinner

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 5-9 p.m.

Tickets: $95/person, reservations and payments required in advance

Special prix fixe four course meal with a complementary glass of Brut with live harp music in our Bistro dining room that has magnificent views of the Missouri River.

McKelvey Vineyards  — Adult Cookie Decorating Class – Valentine’s edition

Thursday, Feb. 9, 6-8:30 p.m.

Tickets $45/person

Decorate six shortbread cookies with Heidi Ramspott from Birdie’s Bakeshop. The bar will be open and food is available to sip and snack while you decorate.

Valentine's Date Night at McKelvey Vineyards

Tuesday, Feb. 14, 6-9 p.m.

Tickets: $65/person

Wine, dine and dance with a two-course meal (steak, chicken and vegetarian options) while listening to some live jazz and blues music. Arrive at 6 p.m. to kick off your romantic evening with light appetizers and a cash bar.

Shawnee Bluff Winery Valentine’s Paint & Pour

Friday, Feb. 10, 5-7pm
Tickets: $35/person, includes all materials and 1 glass of wine
Enjoy an evening painting at Shawnee Bluff Winery 2430 Bagnell Dam Blvd. Email for tickets.

St. James Winery Progressive Valentine’s Day Dinner

Saturday, Feb. 11, 6-9p.m.

Tickets: $60/person

Meet at St. James Winery Tasting Room to do something fun and unique with your special someone for Valentine’s Day. The Progressive Valentine’s Dinner is a gourmet four-course dinner, wine and beer pairings throughout the evening, and guided tours of the winery and brewery.

Terravox Art & Wine at the Mansion

Tuesday, Feb. 14, Check-in at 4 p.m., festivities begin at 6 p.m. and check-out is 10 a.m. Feb. 15

Tickets: $400/package for two

TerraVox will be pairing their wines to the Kansas City Art Institute's current display of artwork at the historic Oak Street Mansion. Join them for a coursed dinner, wine pairings, the presentation and a stay for two at the hotel.

Valentine’s Day at TerraVox Winery - Couples Taste & Tours

Multiple dates

Tickets: $95/package of two

TerraVox Winery and Christopher Elbow are teaming up to bring you an unforgettable afternoon exploring the delectable world of Port wine and chocolate!

Weston Wine Company - Tarot Readings by Veil and Vow

Sunday, Feb. 12, Noon-5 p.m.

Readings: $20, reservations can be made online

Grab a glass of wine from Weston Wine company to sip during your reading, which is perfect whether you want to know what’s going on in your love life, get guidance about your career or look deeper into what is holding you back.

Willow Springs Mercantile – Valentine’s Four Course Wine Dinner

Friday, Feb. 17, 7-10 p.m.

Tickets: $85/person

An intimate dinner in a wine cellar enjoying wines from around the region that is paired perfectly with culinary fare to showcase the best flavors of the food and wine together. This dinner includes a delicious dinner with Missouri's Norton wine.  Dessert will include a delectable chocolate decadence paired with award winning Port.


If you don’t see an event listed with your favorite winery, contact them for their Valentine’s plans. This list was compiled using survey results, so not all Missouri wine events are listed.


Grapes to Glass

The process that occurs after grapes are harvested and before wine is enjoyed in your glass is quite extensive. From ripening grapes to bottling and labeling finished wines, here is a simplified visual to illustrate the many steps that take place throughout the winemaking process. We appreciate the hard work winemakers put in to bring fabulous Missouri wines to the table.

Grapes to glass process



Roasted vegetables with Norton reduction

Cook with color and add a burst of flavor to your favorite mix of fresh vegetables with this wine reduction sauce made with Missouri Norton. Change up this combination of vegetables to suit your palate.

For the roasted vegetables:

We used the following ingredients, but feel free to switch things up and use your favorite fresh veggies.

  • ½ large red onion
  • 2 bell peppers
  • 3 small zucchinis
  • 3 yellow squash
  • 3 – 5 potatoes
  • 2 shallots
  • 6 – 10 plum tomatoes
  • 5 tbsp avocado oil
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Norton Wine Reduction:

  • 1 tsp unsalted butter
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1 c Norton
  • 1 c vegetable stock or broth


  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Prep vegetables to desired size based on your preferred taste and texture. Place in a large bowl and drizzle with avocado oil, add salt, pepper and rosemary.
  3. Spread vegetables evenly over 2 large baking sheets and avoid crowding.
  4. Roast for 20 minutes, tossing vegetables and rotating pans once. Remove rosemary once complete. Transfer vegetables to desired dish and set aside.
  5. Begin wine reduction while vegetables are roasting. Over medium heat, melt butter in a small saucepan and add shallots.
  6. Sauté shallots for several minutes until aromatic. Add Norton and vegetable stock.
  7. Bring pan to a boil and reduce by half. Simmer until desired consistency is achieved.
  8. Carefully pour reduction over vegetables. Add seasoning to taste and enjoy!

Add some color and Norton to the dinner table with this recipe. Start cooking with Missouri wine and share with us on social media @missouriwine.

A pair of all pairs – Popcorn & Wine

It’s no secret that popcorn and wine make a dynamic duo. Elevate your pairing experience when you enjoy these Missouri Grown popcorns with the following Missouri wines.

Choose from this list of popcorn flavors that includes everything from classic butter kettle to spicy buffalo ranch all selected from local Missouri businesses: Osage River Popcorn (Osage Beach and Hannibal), GOPO Gourmet Popcorn (Fulton) and Ready Popped (Jefferson City).

Movie Theater Butter + Chardonel

Imagine the smooth and buttery taste of classic movie theater popcorn when it meets the smooth and buttery notes of Missouri Chardonel.

White Cheddar + Catawba

This sharp and salty cheddar flavored popcorn delectably meets the fruity notes of Catawba wine.

Butter Kettle + Sparkling

Try a traditional butter kettle popcorn with a sparkling dry to off-dry wine and be ‘wowed’ with the enhanced experience of both.

Signature Cheddar + Concord

Cheddar and Concord pair up nicely, yet again. The smooth and sweet jamminess of Concord wine is sure to delight your taste buds when it meets the boldness of this signature cheddar popcorn.

Loaded Baked Potato + Chambourcin or Seyval Blanc

If you like the smokey bacon flavors that are offered by a loaded baked potato, then try this popcorn with Chambourcin. Become amazed by a totally different sensation when you pair this same popcorn with a Seyval Blanc and pick up strong notes of the green onion and chives.

Bacon Cheddar + Chardonel

The rich flavors of bacon and cheddar together are mingled perfectly with a sip of rich Chardonel.

Caramel + Traminette

The floral notes of Traminette are a match made to please with a traditional caramel popcorn.

Cookies n’ Cream + Port Style

The popcorn alone is delicious, but give it a try with a rich and smooth red Port style wine for a heightened appreciation of the two together.

Chocolate Caramel + Chambourcin

Caramel coated popcorn drizzled with milk chocolate and accompanied by a glass of Chambourcin is a pair hard to beat. Give it a try with other dry reds and see how it changes the strength of the chocolate versus the caramel.

Peanut Butter + Blackberry

Salty meets sweet with this savory popcorn and blackberry wine.

Caramel Apple + Vidal Blanc

A taste of this caramel apple popcorn followed by a sip of Vidal Blanc will have you questioning how a wine can transform a food to this extent. The crisp Vidal Blanc melds the flavors together.

Buffalo Ranch + Chardonel

Bring on the heat of this spicy buffalo ranch popcorn and follow it with a taste of smooth Chardonel.

Garlic Parmesan + Traminette

Pick up on the herbaceous notes from this popcorn when you enjoy it with a side of Traminette.

Cajun + Seyval Blanc

Smooth the heat from the spices of chili and paprika with a light Seyval Blanc.


Elevate your wine pairing experience when you try these combinations. Let us know which pair stands out above the rest by tagging us on social media @missouriwine or #MissouriWine.

Traminette Ginger Spritz

Traminette is a hybrid of a beloved German varietal called Gewurztraminer. It’s known for its floral aromas and is often made in a semi-dry style here in Missouri. It’s delicious on its own or paired with bold foods such as curry and gorgonzola cheese. However, the unique characteristics of Traminette also make it ideal for creating delicious cocktails with complex flavor and fantastic aromatics. This refreshing Traminette Ginger Spritz is a perfect example. Try it today!


1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced

½ oz agave syrup

3 oz Traminette wine

3 oz Sparkling wine

 (Optional) 2 dashes of aromatic bitters


  1. Put sliced ginger and agave in a cocktail glass and muddle until ginger pieces are broken down and fragrant
  2. Add Traminette and stir or dry shake (i.e. without ice as to not dilute the flavor too much)
  3. Optional) Add two dashes of aromatic bitters
  4. Strain into a cocktail glass with ice
  5. Top with sparkling wine
  6. (Optional) Garnish with fresh or candied ginger

Tangy from the fresh ginger, sweet from the agave, and complex from the Traminette and bitters… this cocktail is balanced and delicious. Cheers!

Live from the Vineyard: Missouri Chambourcin

We followed a Missouri Chambourcin grapevine for a full year. So much of the winemaking process begins in the vineyard. Watch the beauty of vine number 16 as it progresses throughout the season.

  1. Budburst
  2. Flower cluster initiation
  3. Flowering
  4. Fruit set
  5. Berry development
  6. Harvest
  7. Dormancy

Wine Travel Tools


We have the perfect cure for this winter’s cabin fever — start planning a Missouri Wine road trip. Visit one of the more than 120 Missouri wineries or vineyards throughout the Show Me State. With such a wide variety or wineries, you can find the perfect destination, and Missouri Wines can help. Use any of our travel tools to help plan your next wine country getaway with a few clicks. Then you’ll be ready to hit the road as soon as the weather breaks.

Here are some of our favorite travel planning tools to help map out places to stop for a sip along your next road trip.

Trip Planners The best place to start when planning a trip through Missouri wine country is MO Wines’ own 10, easy-to-follow trip planners. These region-centric planning companions suggest not only wineries to visit, but also places to eat, things to do, places to stay and popular events to mark on your calendar.

Interactive Winery Map – Whether you want to go wine tasting next door or across the state, MO Wines’ interactive winery map makes finding your next stop a breeze. Whether you’re searching for a specific winery or vineyard or just want to browse stops nearby, this map will help you plan your perfect getaway.

Wine Trails – People have been long-following trails throughout history, but unlike the more treacherous trails of the past — anyone play Oregon trail? — Missouri’s wine trails are a great way to explore a region. The Show Me State’s 10 unique wine trails help make planning a wine weekend getaway a breeze. Each trail not only lets participants explore the unique characteristics of that area, but it also serves as a great place to start when mapping out your next adventure. – This travel tool is an offsite suggestion, but the Missouri Division of Tourism does a great job of providing fun travel itineraries for each region of the state, regardless of your interests. Whether you’re looking for extra things to do along your way or the perfect food pairing for a Missouri wine, has some great suggestions.

Places to Stay – There’s a plethora of places to stay in Missouri wine country, and MO Wines gathered up several guides to help you find lodging. Regardless of if you’re looking for a gilded B&B or if “glamping” is more your speed, here are some great options for your next stay in wine country.

If you’re still looking for more inspiration for your next Missouri wine road trip, check out these eight great ideas!

A Tale of Two Nortons

Missouri wines had an extraordinary year in 2022. The honors extend beyond the normal winning wines. Rewards Uncorked, a new rewards program, was successfully launched. Missouri’s strong wine and grape roots were featured in a new tasteMAKERS documentary. Missouri wines were featured at the American Wine Society National Conference, to preview the Show Me State as the 2023 host state. In addition to these accolades, a couple of Norton wines garnered attention in a unique way. 

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…”

This is the legendary quote that begins Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Most had to read this well-known book during a high school English course. Even if not, all have probably heard how the script opens. Dickens’ novel centers in on the challenging times surrounding the French Revolution and late 1700s on goings in France.   

While the world of Missouri wines is a great place to be, many challenges are navigated daily by grape growers and winemakers alike. C.V. Riley was one of the first notable Missourians to solve a wine-related crisis. Here we see France again, but a century later than where the novel is set. Phylloxera, a louse and pest that feeds on the roots of grapes, inhabited the country’s vineyards, leading to death of thousands of vines. Riley, the first state entomologist, discovered that by grafting Norton’s rootstock onto their vines, it created the needed resistance. Effects of Riley’s work are still seen today. We honor the best of this wine varietal each year in his namesake by presenting the C.V. Riley Award for Best Norton. This year, it was presented it to two extraordinary wines.

“It was the best of times, it was the best of wines…”

This text can be quickly changed for reflecting on this ‘novel’ year in Missouri wine. Even the title can read to suit the situation: A Tale of Two Nortons.

Governor Mike Parson, Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, and Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn presented the annual Governor’s Cup in December along with the two C.V. Riley winners. This award is traditionally bestowed upon the best Norton at the Missouri Wine Competition. Two wineries were presented with the award for their 2020 Nortons – Stone Hill Winery in Hermann and Les Bourgeois Vineyards on The Blufftop in Rocheport. 

Two panels of judges blindly tasted more than 235 wines, sorted in flights by varietal. Flights of Norton were sampled and evaluated down to these top two winning wines. This tale of two Nortons is unique, as it is almost unheard of to have two winners. Each vintage is unique in their own right and were awarded for that reason. Glenn PIC judging

Glenn Bardgett is member of the Missouri Wine and Grape Board Marketing Committee, long time wine enthusiast, internationally and nationally-known wine competition judge and Wine Director at the legendary Annie Gunn’s Restaurant and Market near St. Louis. He has been judging, sharing and enjoying Missouri wines for more than three decades.

Once judges establish a level of quality for the wines being judged, they collectively make a final decision on what medal to award the wine and what level it is given, Bardgett explains.


Bardgett says this speaks to the quality of wines produced and submitted to the Missouri Wine Competition this year.

“I am not at all surprised that we had a tie, but I am amazed that we don't have a tie more often when the quality of our wines in Missouri is so high,” Bardgett shares.

It is easy to find a numeric solution in math and solve an equation in science. Although winemaking involves both practices, awarding wines is a more subjective task.

“Put eight people in a room and ask their opinions of art, food, music, literature, theater or anything that challenges the senses and the mind,” Bardgett says. “It is rare that world class subjects have specific results of taste.”

Missouri’s continental climate is classified for its hot summers and cold winters. Norton, and other vitis labrusca grapes, can survive the unexpected weather patterns. It is classified as the state grape for its success in the state, as it is the most widely produced grape, and for saving France’s grape crop from meeting an end. A statue of C.V. Riley was dedicated in his honor and still stands in Montpellier, France. 

“Norton is an outstanding grape when made at the highest level. It has an amazing dark fruit aroma, lovely acid, body and sugar balance, and can have a finish that goes on and on…” Bardgett says. “Of course, balance is a major factor in any wine's quality, Norton has great acidity and that can be one of the challenges to finding a balance.”


Bardgett helps customers with all levels of wine experience find the right wine for them. The best way to find the right one for you? He says, try it.

“Everyone wants the best, the winner, the top scoring and most difficult to find wines.  With these two CV Riley winners, the question is not selecting one or the other,” he says. “They should try both and hopefully begin to understand the difficulty of judging and the great reward of finding two wines such as these that cannot be chosen one over the other.”

What a great time in Missouri wine history to have quality so outstanding that it breaks tradition. Bardgett says it best: “We are very fortunate to have such quality that this much discussion is created.”

“It was the best of times, it was the best of wines…”

Try both of the winning C.V. Riley winners and let us know your pick! Tag us on social media with @missouriwine and #missouriwine with your experiences in wine country.

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Use our guide to plan your next adventure in wine country. It contains a listing of Missouri wineries, map and key information to expand your wine knowledge.

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