Chambourcin: Perfect for Sharing

October 27, 2020


The leaves have changed colors and summer’s heat has been traded for crisp mornings and chilly evenings. Fall is a time to come together with loved ones and share – to share memories, to share laughs and to share the things you enjoy. This fall, Chambourcin is perfect for sharing.

November is Chambourcin Month in Missouri wine country. Of all grapes grown in Missouri, Chambourcin accounts for 11.5% with nearly 196 bearing acres throughout the state. This French-American hybrid is a medium-bodied wine that perfectly balances fruitiness and earthiness with soft tannins.

Chambourcin is a versatile grape perfect for producing a variety of wines. Wineries across the state produce Chambourcin wines that vary in dryness, and some winemakers have released Chambourcin rosé wines for Missouri wine fans to share and enjoy. Chambourcin is a perfect introductory red wine and is sure to please a wide range of palates. Share Chambourcin at your next gathering and delight in its crowd-pleasing abilities.

Chambourcin pairs perfectly with bonfires, barbecues and holidays. Try this red wine with pork, burgers, red sauced pasta and mushrooms. Looking to pair Chambourcin with something on the sweeter side? Strawberries, berry-based desserts and chocolate cake are sure to please. Be sure to try this approachable and delectable dry red wine while visiting Missouri wine country this month and pick up a bottle for Thanksgiving.

Want to learn more about Chambourcin? Join the Feast Virtual Vine wine tasting on November 12th and sip along as host Cat Neville leads an exclusive live tasting and discussion with winemakers. If you’re around the St. Louis area, be sure to snag 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 learn along with participants.

Now is a perfect time to visit Missouri wine country as the Show-Me State displays its finest fall foliage. Plan your next visit using the latest edition of the Missouri Winery Guide and pick up a bottle of Chambourcin to share this fall.

Frights and Delights in Missouri Wine Country: Haunted Wineries That Can’t be Missed

October 26, 2020

Looking for some spooky sips in Missouri wine country? A handful of wineries across the state are allegedly frequented by paranormal patrons.  Read on to discover which Missouri wineries claim to be haunted – if you dare.

Belvoir Winery – Liberty

The Odd Fellows Home District comprises the modern-day Belvoir Winery. This area was established by a secret society known as the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, one of the largest fraternal and benevolent orders in the country. The original property included a hospital, a retirement home and school for individuals cared for by the Odd Fellows. The winery is located in the former administration building which housed classrooms for orphans. Although this building ceased to exist for its original purpose in the early 1950s, some visitors and staff believe a few of the original residents still walk the halls.

Witnesses allege hearing footsteps and witnessing doors open and close without any rational explanation. An apparition was believed to have appeared in the office of the winery. Staff believe that their ghostly guests are friendly with a slightly mischievous side, playing pranks like unplugging cords and flipping light switches. If you’re feeling brave or looking for a chance encounter with the paranormal, Belvoir Winery offers lodging in the allegedly haunted building. Paranormal investigators and ghost hunting TV shows flock to the winery for overnight investigations.

Belvoir hosts their own paranormal investigations and murder mystery dinners on-site for guests to join. If ghost-hunting, otherworldly thrills and solving mysteries excite you, visit the winery’s events page to learn how you can be part of these experiences. You may not experience a paranormal encounter during your visit, but you’re sure to run into George, the resident skeleton in the winery.

Hermannhof Winery – Hermann

Hermannhof Winery was built in 1852 in the French section of historic Hermann. Hermannhof’s ten stone cellars and brick superstructure are among the 100 Hermann buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Winery staff have witnessed unexplained movements and spooky noises, including doors that open and close on their own and chairs that move across the floor.

Serenity Valley Winery – Fulton

Regina and Lee Ruppert, owners of Serenity Valley, believe a friendly ghost keeps them company at their winery. While you won’t see objects move or lights flicker inexplicably, the wafting smell of tobacco is what gives this spirit’s presence away. The Rupperts are still trying to figure out who still calls their winery home, but they suspect it could be a Native American or early pioneer who walked the rolling hills of mid-Missouri centuries earlier.

Mount Pleasant Estates – Augusta

Mount Pleasant Estates is the oldest winery in the Augusta appellation. The Muench brothers, who came to the United States from Germany, established the winery in 1859 as a commercial wine business. Although both George and Frederick died long ago, winery staff believe that at least one of the brothers still resides in the historic cellars the brothers built in 1881. Flash photography taken in the cellars sometimes captures mysterious white orbs. Staff members believe these orbs belong to one of the Muench brothers who continues to keep an otherworldly eye on the winery.


Fall is the perfect time to visit Missouri wine country. For those who prefer less fright and more delight, Missouri wineries offer breathtaking views that accompany award-winning wines. Plan your next adventure in Missouri wine country and make sure you’re getting the most out of every visit with the Missouri Winery Visitors Program (MVP) – learn more about how you can get rewarded for exploring wine country here!

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Chambourcin Sauce

October 23, 2020

Pork and Missouri wine are a perfect pair. Juicy pork tenderloin cooks in an herb crust and mingles with a flavorful sauce made from dry Chambourcin wine. This easy and quick dish is sure to please any crowd. Check out this quick video to see just how easy it is to make this delicious dinner.

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Chambourcin Sauce Recipe

Time: 45 minutes  | Serves: 4


3 tbsp. – Salted butter

1 tbsp. – fresh rosemary, chopped

2 tbsp. – marjoram, divided

1 tbsp. – steak seasoning

3 tbsp. – minced garlic

1 lb. boneless pork tenderloin

Olive oil

Balsamic vinegar

1 lb. baby bella mushrooms (sliced)

½ yellow onion (thinly sliced)

¾ cup Chambourcin

Garlic salt




Preheat the oven to 400oF. In a small bowl, melt butter and add rosemary, 1 tbsp marjoram, steak seasoning and minced garlic. Stir together until evenly mixed and set aside.

In a large baking dish, brush the tenderloin with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Brush the butter and seasoning mixture onto the pork tenderloin until completely covered.

Add the mushrooms and onions to the baking dish, filling in the open space on either side of the tenderloin. Season the mushrooms and onions with 1 tbsp marjoram, garlic salt, salt and pepper. Pour red wine into the baking dish, covering the mushrooms and onions.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the tenderloin reaches 145 degrees.

Slice tenderloin and serve medallions topped with the Chambourcin mushroom sauce.

Want to save this recipe for later or share with a friend? Print the recipe card below!

St. James Winery Celebrates 50 Years

October 22, 2020

In 1970, Jim and Pat Hofherr reinvigorated the local Italian wine heritage by opening St. James Winery, a place where wine could be enjoyed with friends and family. The winery sits right along Interstate 44 in the Meramec Highlands. If you’ve driven along this stretch you may have seen the original St. James Winery sign, chosen by Jim and Pat and still greeting visitors 50 years later.

The Meramec Highlands provide unique grape-growing conditions. The region’s distinctive weather patterns, along with the unique soil in the vineyards, are exactly what St. James Winery needed to make award-winning wines that fans know and love. Jim Hofherr used these conditions to make 8,000 gallons of wine in his very first year – that’s about 3,000 cases.

On opening day in November of 1970, St. James Winery made over $100 and Jim knew he and his family could make a living doing what they loved. Over the years Pat and Jim continued to grow the winery and worked with other families to pave the way for future growth of the Missouri wine industry. The Hofherr family values were centered around leaving the world better than they found it and improving the wine industry.

Today, Jim and Pat’s son, Dr. Peter Hofherr, runs the winery. He is the Chief Executive Officer of St. James Winery, as well as Chairman of the Missouri Wine and Grape Board. He sits on several national boards and, like his father, works hard to consistently improve the industry. Agriculture is near and dear to him, as he was once the director for the Missouri Department of Agriculture.  

It’s no surprise that the Hofherrs’ dedication to family values and commitment to the industry have led to the tremendous growth of St. James Winery over the last 50 years. What was once a team of two is now a staff of 130, some of whom have relocated from abroad and brought international perspective to the Missouri winery. Being a part of the wine industry has attracted global talent and enabled them to become US citizens over the years. Andrew Meggitt, executive winemaker at St. James, is from New Zealand and now calls St. James his home.

Other changes include adding additional warehousing, vineyards, a Branson location, restaurant, a family-friendly outdoor space and more. St. James Winery partnered with Public House Brewing Company and built a facility next door in 2014. It is a place for patrons to enjoy freshly brewed craft beer, a vision of Jim’s that Peter brought to life, as well as a farm-to-table menu, live music and other events. Just two years later The Gardens, a pet and family-friendly outdoor space between the winery and restaurant, opened for its first full season. 


St. James Winery now produces 250,000 cases of wine per year and is sold in 18 states across the U.S. It is the third most-distributed winery east of the Rockies. Customers can choose between 45 different wine varieties, including the recently released Sparkling Fruit Wine in a can. Peter is especially proud of Velvet Red, one of the original wines offered at St. James, because it was his father’s first product. It was made as a tribute to the local Italian community who made very similar wines. Peter added that Velvet Red continues to be the top selling sweet red wine in the state year after year. Today, St. James Winery produces the most gallons of wine in the state and is one of the most-awarded wineries in Missouri.

Running a winery takes a lot of hard work, but for Peter it’s worth it as the winery is part of his family. Looking back, he remembers being deeply involved in the family business at a young age, so much so that he chose a college with a late-September start date each year that would allow him to work alongside his father during harvest. For Peter, winemaking is a natural process, based on nature, that lends itself to the cycle of life. Sharing the experience from start to finish creates such a strong bond with family. Next year that bond will continue to grow as Peter’s daughter returns to the winery.

In addition to many family traditions, St. James Winery hosts a variety of annual community events as well. Every spring, the winery celebrates Earth Day and its commitment to sustainability. The winery also has an annual harvest festival and a grape stomp. The grape stomp tradition was started in the early ‘70s by Pat as a way to bring the community together.

Aside from celebrating 50 years, there are additional milestones and accomplishments Peter is proud of. In the mid 1990s, St. James Winery was named by Bon Appetit as having produced one of the top 50 wines in the world – that wine being Seyval Blanc. More recently in 2014, St. James was recognized as the 14th most awarded winery in the world. Receiving four Governor’s Cup awards and five International Wine Competition wins for best red or white wine are further points of pride for the winery family.

While the St. James Winery family and friends wanted to celebrate the momentous 50th anniversary, the current pandemic has delayed events to November of next year. Peter and his mother Pat are excited to commemorate the 50-year mark and are patiently awaiting the chance to share the winery’s history, introduce a special anniversary wine and so much more. Stay tuned for details to come next fall. For now, we can all celebrate the 50th anniversary by sipping a delicious glass of award-winning St. James wine, knowing that the future is bright for this family-owned winery.


Montelle Winery Celebrates 50 Years of Success in the Treetops

October 15, 2020

Tucked away in the bluffs on the Osage Ridge just outside of Augusta, Montelle Winery offers breathtaking views and unique experiences for its customers. Over the last 50 years, Montelle may have changed ownership, names and locations, but the dedication to excellent service has remained unwavering.

The original stone house on Osage Ridge.

The original Montelle Winery was opened by Clayton and Nissel Byers in 1970 under the name Montelle Vineyards. A small A-frame tasting room sat perched on the bluff overlooking Augusta, while the main wine production facility could be found on the Augusta bottom road. The couple took on partners, Bob and Judy Slifer, and ran the winery together until 1984. After Clayton’s passing, the Slifers and partner Forrest Peak ran the winery as Osage Ridge Winery until 1998.

Tony and Cindy Kooyumjian (pronounced Coo-yum-gin), who were currently operating Augusta Winery in downtown Augusta, purchased Montelle Winery in 1998. Tony remembers his first time visiting the Montelle property for a wine trail meeting, and reveling in the spectacular views of the farmland and valley below the blufftop. He was on a small deck attached to a house on the property, and saw enormous potential with the hidden gem on the bluff. The Slifers later approached the Kooyumjians about buying the winery, and requested that the couple continue to produce quality wine using grapes from the appellation.

Montelle Winery Owners Tony and Cindy Kooyumjian (2009).

Since they became owners 22 years ago, the Kooyumjians have expanded the winery for continued growth. What was once a roughly 500 square-foot tasting room and small patio area has now been transformed into an expansive tasting area, kitchen and multilevel outdoor deck. An event center now welcomes up to 150 guests for celebrations or private events. In terms of infrastructure, additional storage space was added and a warehouse was built on the property. This property is kept running smoothly by the Kooyumjians and their staff, which includes a team of full-time members and anywhere from 45 to 60 part-time employees.

The team at Montelle Winery works to offer every guest an outstanding experience during their visit to the winery. Tony reminds the Montelle team that they are in the hospitality business, where customers are treated with respect and educated about Missouri wines and the surrounding Viticultural area. After traveling to many wineries throughout the country, the Kooyumjians were surprised to find that many tasting room employees struggled to provide information about wine; this discovery caused the owners to focus efforts on employee education and training. Montelle Winery goes above and beyond to help their employees offer next-level service and provide guests with an educational experience. The Montelle team gathers for an annual sales meeting that offers employees an opportunity to learn more about Montelle’s wine offerings and develop a posture of hospitality and service. Throughout the year, team-building events allow employees to connect, increase their wine knowledge and celebrate successful seasons on the production side of the business.

Montelle Distillery spirits.

Under previous ownership, 53 wines were produced at one time. The Kooyumjians decreased that offering to a more manageable 27 wines. From ice wines to reserve wines, sweet to dry, there’s a wine that will please nearly every visitor. In addition to a modified wine offering, the Kooyumjians opened a distillery on the property in 2000 to begin offering fruit brandy and grappa (a grape-based vodka). This microdistillery was the first in Missouri, and Montelle Winery was the first Missouri winery to also have a distillery on-site. Besides adjusting the wine offerings and adding spirits to the lineup at Montelle Winery, the Kooyumjians have been proud to open and operate the Klondike Café, which offers a full menu of appetizers and entrées that are selected to complement the wines offered in the tasting room. The idea of a restaurant occurred to Tony after seeing customers visit the winery with fast food or convenience-type foods that didn’t pair well with Montelle’s wine selection. The Kooyumjians wanted to offer healthy, fresh and well-paired food options and opened the restaurant in 2000. The menu offerings grew from meats and cheeses to fresh salads, pizzas, wraps and fresh-baked bread.

Enjoy a bottle of wine and fresh-baked pizza from the Klondike Café.

Some of Tony’s favorite events and traditions include annual holiday and Appellation Day celebrations at the winery. In honor of Montelle Winery’s 50th anniversary, a special Napoleon brandy release and other events can be expected. The winery is also collecting visitor stories and photos to be shared in commemoration of Montelle’s golden anniversary.

Expanded, paved outdoor seating allows for a scenic view of the valley below.

Producing exemplary wines and providing visitors with a great experience has always been at the heart of Montelle Winery’s mission. Tony is proud of how Montelle has grown to offer breathtaking views, live music, award-winning wines and carefully-selected food pairings. For the Kooyumjians, seeing visitors return year after year and share their memories is one of the most rewarding parts of operating Montelle Winery. Visit the hidden gem on the blufftop, enjoy a meal from the Klondike Café with your favorite wine and toast to another 50 years of success and service at Montelle Winery.


DIY: Wine Cork Wreath

October 15, 2020

Looking for a unique way to display corks from your Missouri wine country adventures? Warm up your hot glue gun, find some festive foliage, and pick out your favorite corks. A wreath is an easy way to spruce up any door or wall, and a wine-themed wreath makes a perfect addition to any wine lover’s abode. For under $30, you can make this wreath in five easy steps!

Supplies needed:

Hot glue gun and glue

Wire wreath frame

Burlap ribbon

Wine corks

Seasonal foliage


Step 1: Wrap the burlap ribbon (a standard spool should be plenty) around the wire wreath frame, ensuring that no bare metal is exposed (see photos). Secure the ends of the ribbon with hot glue and let dry. We used a 12” wreath frame, but feel free to select a larger wire frame if you’d like a larger wreath.


Step 2: Hint - It may be helpful to pre-arrange your corks on the wreath frame before gluing them. Using the inner track of the wreath frame as a guide, glue wine corks to the burlap ribbon (see photos). Leave the width of approximately 1-2 wine corks empty at the top of the wreath. We used 50 intact corks for this wreath, but you may need more corks if you select a larger wreath frame.


Step 3: After the first ring of wine corks have been glued and dried, begin gluing a second ring of wine corks to the outer edge of the burlap ribbon (see photo). Between each cork, glue a decorative item of your choice (we used berries) to the burlap ribbon. Similar to Step 2, leave space at the top of the wreath. Let the glued corks dry, then add other decorative pieces to the wreath. We used flowers, leaves and berries from fall stems found at a local craft store – we also suggest using decorative filler (found at local craft stores), buttons, or artificial grape leaves. The possibilities are endless!


Step 4: Use your remaining burlap ribbon, or any ribbon on hand, to make a loop for hanging your wreath. Tie this ribbon in the open space at the top of your wreath, and cover the exposed ribbon with your seasonal decorations. We wrapped sunflower stems around the wreath frame, but other decorative options could include artificial leaves or a festive bow.

Step 5: Display your new wreath!

The MVP Experience

October 13, 2020

Missouri wine country encompasses breathtaking views and award-winning wines. While multitudes of visitors patronize the state’s 125+ wineries, there are some Missouri wine fans who take their loyalty and exploration to the next level. The Missouri Winery Visitors Program (MVP) rewards Missouri wine lovers for their exploration of Missouri’s wine country. Members of MVP have access to exclusive experiences, reward items and perks. Besides the tangible benefits of MVP membership, participants form friendships, make unforgettable memories and discover all that Missouri wine country has to offer. Learn more about the MVP experience from three enthusiastic participants.

Scott Rombach and his wife, Tonya, have been members of MVP since 2016. The couple started their Missouri wine journey after being gifted Chambourcin and Cayuga vines for their backyard vineyard. Scott connected with the staff at Wenwood Farm Winery and considers it to be the “gateway winery” into his Missouri wine adventures.

After visiting a few Missouri wineries sporadically, Scott heard about the MVP program and learned about the 100+ wineries scattered throughout the state. Scott and Tonya began planning road trips across Missouri to taste award-winning wines and collect points at MVP participating wineries. The couple planned vacations around visiting new wineries, and Scott recounts some of his favorite parts of the exploration aspect of MVP, including the numerous photo opportunities and the ability to talk one-on-one with winemakers and winery owners.

“… meeting people and making friends from all over Missouri and the United States, winning awards, and learning new ways to taste and enjoy wine” are just a few of the benefits of being an MVP member, Scott says.

Conrad Bowers and his wife, Linda, have been members of MVP since 2017. The couple made it their mission to visit every Missouri winery and ended up writing a book that detailed their experiences. Along the way, Conrad was introduced to MVP and became a member. During Conrad’s travels across Missouri wine country, he and his wife were able to visit new areas of the state and learn more about the art of winemaking in Missouri. Conrad notes that one of his favorite parts of being an MVP member is getting to visit with winery owners and build his Missouri wine knowledge.

“I would encourage people to join [MVP] because of the communications, the monthly newsletter is so informative and the staff is responsive any time I have a question,” Conrad says, “It’s a tremendous resource for anyone who enjoys Missouri wines and enjoys visiting Missouri wineries.”

Melissa Hill has been a member of MVP since 2016 and advocates for the program everywhere she ventures in Missouri wine country. Melissa began her Missouri wine adventure after returning from living out-of-state for a decade and realizing the breadth of Missouri’s wine industry. She joined a wine club in the Augusta region and first learned about MVP. The ability to earn points for visiting new wineries and frequenting familiar favorites intrigued Melissa, and she appreciates the regular communications from the program outlining upcoming events and featured participating wineries. Melissa states that being a member of MVP has enhanced her wine experience and helped her to travel to new parts of Missouri wine country. She has also taken the initiative to facilitate a wine tasting group in the Rolla area and often brings friends and group members to participating wineries for tastings.

Some of Melissa’s favorite memories as an MVP member have been attending exclusive, members-only experiences like the MVP Extravaganza, and connecting with fellow Missouri wine lovers at wineries across the state. The friendships developed throughout her wine country travels, the hospitality imparted by MVP participating wineries, and personalized service from tasting room staff make Melissa feel valued and as if she’s part of a larger wine community. She is enthusiastic to promote the program to any and all who will listen, and encourages winery patrons to take advantage of MVP benefits.

“I just think everyone should be making the most of their time at Missouri wineries by being an MVP member,” Melissa says. “Where else can you earn rewards for just visiting a winery, and you get the chance to attend special events where you’re able to talk to winemakers and other wine lovers.”

The MVP experience is one filled with exploration, friendship, and making lifelong memories. Scott, Conrad, and Melissa all agree that being a member of MVP has expanded their Missouri wine horizons and opened doors to once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. Want to learn more about MVP or sign up? Visit today.

The Lifecycle of a Grapevine

October 13, 2020

Did you know that growing and tending grapevines in Missouri wine country is a year-round process? Those who grow and harvest grapes in Missouri work to ensure that vines are well-kept and produce quality grapes that make our award-winning wines.

Take a look at the lifecycle of a grapevine and the work that goes into keeping it healthy and productive.

Winter Pruning

Pruning is an important step in the vineyard during winter months and typically takes place after the coldest winter temperatures have passed. Pruning and training grapevines allows for the development of full, flavorful grape clusters in the summer months of the following year.

Read our article on pruning to learn more about this process.

Spring Budding

Just as the warmth of spring awakens many plants across the Show-Me State, grapevine buds swell and break open to reveal the vine’s first leaves as temperatures warm in the vineyards. These buds will eventually grow into shoots.

Our article on bud break explains this process in greater detail.

Spring Flowering

As spring begins to turn to summer, grapevines across Missouri wine country begin to show signs of flowering. Flowers, which will later turn into grape berries, begin to emerge from their caps and bloom.

Learn more about flowering in our article on vineyards in bloom.

Summer Fruit Set

Summer leads to the beginning of one of the most exciting times in the vineyard, the development of grape berries. The flowers that opened and bloomed in the spring will turn into a seed that develops a berry to protect itself. Fruit set is the time when the bounty of a year’s crop can be determined.

To learn more about fruit set, read our article on how a new vintage emerges.

Summer Veraison

As fruit set concludes, grapes change color in a process called veraison. Veraison is when the berries on a grape cluster soften and assume their varietal-specific color. This is also an indicator that harvest is fast approaching.

Our article on veraison details this exciting time.

Fall Harvest

Harvest is a time of excitement in Missouri wine country, and is one of the busiest times for wineries. The months of August, September and October are generally the main timeframe for harvest in Missouri vineyards. During harvest, grape clusters are removed from the vine (either by hand or machine) and begin their journey through the winemaking process.

Our recent article on harvest describes the differences between machine and hand-harvest.

The best way to experience the lifecycle of a grapevine is to visit a Missouri winery and see the vineyards for yourself. Find a winery near you today!

Fall Drives in Missouri Wine Country You Must See to Believe

October 05, 2020

Fall is the perfect time to visit Missouri wine country. Crisp days and fall foliage call for a visit to scenic Missouri wineries where you can sip award-winning wines and gaze upon breathtaking sights. Traveling to Missouri wine country in the fall is just as mesmerizing as the wines you’ll enjoy when you arrive. The Show-Me State brings out its finest fall colors for display along the state’s rolling hills and highways - when planning your next visit to a Missouri winery, make sure to include these scenic drives.

Highway 94 south of St. Louis weaves through the United States’ first American Viticultural Area (AVA) and is dotted with award-winning wineries.

Highway 100 between Hermann and New Haven is sure to impress with a scenic view of the Missouri River and historic wineries.

Highway 24 north of Interstate 70 and east of Kansas City is laden with welcoming wineries and countryside views.

Historic Route 66 is known as the “mother road” and will lead travelers on a historic journey sprinkled with wineries.



Make the most of your fall trips in Missouri wine country by taking advantage of the Missouri Winery Visitors Program (MVP), where you can be rewarded for your exploration of the state’s 125+ wineries. Click here to learn more about MVP and register today!

Grab the latest edition of the Missouri Winery Guide and take one of these scenic fall drives around Missouri wine country.

Adam Puchta Winery Celebrates 165 Years

October 01, 2020

Located along a winding creek in the beautiful Frene Valley just two miles southwest of Hermann, you will find the Adam Puchta Winery (pronounced pook-tah.) Adam Puchta and his son, Henry, founded the winery 165 years ago in 1855. The winery is now run by the Puchta family’s 6th and 7th generations, making it the oldest continuously family-owned winery in the United States.

Pictured: Founder Johann “Adam” Puchta and granddaughter Pearl, 1904

In 1990, after prohibition, Randolph (5th generation) and son Tim (6th generation) reopened the winery. Tim, who was once a respiratory therapist, utilized his chemistry and medical background in the winemaking process at the winery. They started by planting three acres of Norton grapes, restored the original wine cellar for use with modern tanks and equipment and renovated the original stone home into a tasting room and gift shop. The following year the winery released its first vintage of Norton, Vidal Blanc and Seyval Blanc. The original wine list consisted of Hunter’s Red, Misty Valley, Blush and Adam’s Choice, three of which are still available today. In addition to the originals, there are nearly 20 more wine varieties ensuring there’s something for everyone. 

Puchta family 6 th and 7 th generation pictured with the 2020 wine offerings.
Left to right: Spencer, Tim and Parker Puchta

Tim Puchta paints a beautiful picture of life at the winery. From working alongside his father, enjoying his mother’s delicious cooking, to raising his own children there – two sons, Spencer and Parker. Some of his fondest memories were digging out an old cellar by hand with a pick axe, playing flashlight tag with his boys and enjoying bison and ostrich dinners prepared by his mom. It’s no surprise that Tim’s sons have a vested interest in the success and future of the winery.  Parker went to culinary school and is now the Operations Manager for the winery, while Spencer, with a degree in hotel and restaurant management, helps out whenever possible getting away from his day job. Both boys were brought up knowing the history of the winery and its importance to the Puchta family legacy ... but also in the wine culture of good food and wine, which was a big part of their everyday lives.

Tim Puchta evaluating the Norton vines in 1996.

There have been many changes at Adam Puchta Winery over the years. What was once a four-person staff is now a team of 15 full time employees. Today, working at Adam Puchta Winery is more than a job. You can make a career there. Other changes include turning the old cellar into a popular bistro, bringing mobile bottling on-site, switching to screwcaps and adding a mobile slushie trailer, an idea brought to life by Parker. The winery is ever-changing with each generation that comes in. They are always looking for ways to work more efficiently and give customers the best experience possible. Tim reminds us that in today’s world, it’s unique to have something that can be passed down from generation to generation.

Adam Puchta Winery 1979 vs 2020

Many family-owned businesses were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Adam Puchta Winery found ways to stay afloat. Parker’s culinary background and the 1855 Cellar Bistro proved to be a pivotal strength for the winery. When many regional restaurants temporarily closed their doors, the winery’s curbside dinner specials became a much-needed resource for the community. Customers could also pick up wine by the bottle, case or their popular wine slushie mixes by the jug. This unfamiliar time allowed the winery to restructure and get creative,while utilizing their ample outdoor seating in a manner by which patrons were still able to visit while social distancing. In fact, people road-tripped from hours away to sit back, relax and enjoy a glass of award-winning wine.

Adam Puchta’s expansive wine offerings, 2020

Adam Puchta Winery knows how to throw an event. Many of their happenings are annual and include special wine dinners, holiday celebrations, festivals and their very own Doe Camp. Doe Camp is a fundraiser that helps to raise money to support local residents who have been afflicted with cancer and has been doing so for 10 years.

Sharing samples of the newly released Mull It Over seasonal spiced wine.

There are many accomplishments and accolades for the Puchta family to be proud of.  However, for Tim, it’s not just about the hundreds of awards won, but it’s the history itself and the ability to carry on the legacy of fine winemaking, that makes him most proud. It is a big deal and cause of much elation to be celebrating the winery’s 165th anniversary during the month of October 2020. The celebration starts with Grill Your Own Steak Night and Fish Fry and will include wine specials and just overall good fun throughout the month.  Guests will have the opportunity to purchase a limited-edition, special anniversary release of “1855,” their sherry style wine, while supplies last.

Limited edition 1855 sherry to commemorate the 165 th winery anniversary.

What does the future hold for Adam Puchta Winery? A wine club will soon launch and Parker has dreams of creating a wine library that club members will have special access to. There is definitely a big vision for the future and while we wait to watch it unfold one thing is for sure, the Puchta legacy will continue to live on and customers can continue to experience and appreciate their love of family.

Photos courtesy of Adam Puchta Winery.

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