6 Reasons to Visit Wine Country in the Winter

January 17, 2017

During the winter months, grape vines are resting, wines are aging and there’s a slower pace in general at the wineries. It’s a perfect time for learning more about Missouri varietals, touring cellars or just relaxing. If you think of the winter as the “off” season in Show Me wine country, here are six reasons to change your mind.

1) Less crowds means more attention.

While there are a few wineries that close during the winter, many of the 130+ wineries in the state are open and ready to serve. When you’re not slogging through a crowd, there’s more time to chat to the winery staff, perhaps even the winemaker. Take a tour of the cellars or just sit back and relax with your new favorite wine.

2) Seasonal wines are waiting to be discovered.

Seasonal wines and wine cocktails abound this time of year, everything from mulled wine, to cranberry wine, and much more.

3) It’s a great time to stock up.

Not only do you skip the crowds at the tasting bar, but also at the cash register. It’s a great time to stock up on your favorite wines for the year. Or perhaps replenish what was depleted during the holidays.

4) January is Norton Month.

Norton is the Missouri state grape and it’s celebrated at wineries across the state during the month of January with special tastings, events and wine releases. If you’re a Norton fan, January is a great time to get out to wine country.

5) Seasonal fare and the wines that pair.

There are a number of wineries with restaurants and winter is a great time to try seasonal favorites paired perfectly with local wines. Chilies, stews, winter vegetables are just some of the foods you’ll find at wineries this time of year.

6) Red wine is perfect for chilly days.

There’s not much that could be better than sipping on a big, bold glass of red wine on a chilly day… so warming and comforting!

These are just some of the great reasons to venture out to Missouri wine country this winter. Bundle up and head out for your next vino adventure in the Show Me state! 

Join MO Wine at the 15th Annual STLFWE

January 12, 2017

The St. Louis Food & Wine Experience is always a pretty big deal, but this year it’s an even bigger and more exciting event than usual because it’s the 15th annual. Wait, there’s more… this highly anticipated event benefits the St. Louis Repertory Theatre and it’s The Rep’s 50th season! Join us on January 27 – 29th at the Chase Park Plaza in St. Louis for a delicious experience and emersion into all things food and wine.

Need additional reasons to attend this event? How about more than 900 wines available to taste and culinary creations to delight the palate around every corner? That confirms this is an event not to be missed, right? There are several ticket options to choose from so you can customize your experience. As one of the proud sponsors of this event, Missouri Wines is giving away sets of VIP Tickets. Click here to complete a short survey that enters you for a chance to win a pair. Entries must be received by Wednesday, January 18, 2017.

To help attendees get the most out of their Food and Wine Experience, there is a free smartphone app available, presented by Missouri Wines. With the St. Louis Food and Wine Experience App, attendees can:

  • Review the event brochure
  • Access all event details at your fingertips
  • Buy tickets
  • Find the event location and even ping your car’s location when you park
  • Navigate the event with detailed floor maps and directories
  • Search and save the wines available for tasting at the event
  • Seek out the types of food you just can’t miss
  • Join in the food and wine chat
  • Learn more about Missouri Wine and connect with us
  • Submit and view photos from the event
  • Get notifications about the event
  • Sign up for the newsletter … and more!

Click here to download the free app.

See you at the 15th Annual St. Louis Food & Wine Experience! 


2017 MO Wine Lovers Calendar

January 10, 2017

Let’s make 2017 a fantastic and delicious year full of award-winning local wine! Everyday can be a celebration, but here are the wine themed festivities coming up the next 12 months. The MO wine lovers’ calendar is your guide to a great year ahead. Cheers!

MO Wine Resolutions to Start the New Year

January 05, 2017

MeeMoGrapes_W.jpgIt’s that time of year again where we set new goals. In fact, you’re probably already mapping out what you want to accomplish in the 12 months ahead. New Year’s resolutions can sometimes be difficult to achieve, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun trying. Instead of recycling the same old resolutions you made last year, why not try something different? Perhaps something that involves Missouri wine? We’ve compiled a list of resolutions you should try this coming year!

  1. Sign up to become an MVP: This is an easy resolution that rewards you for visiting Missouri wineries. Each visit to a MVP participating winery will earn you points, which you can use to redeem rewards or enter the MVP sweepstakes for a chance to win a quarterly sweepstakes package. Visit missouriwinemvp.com to get signed up today!

  2. Explore the Missouri wine trails: There are eleven different wine trails in Missouri wine country. Each trail has a series of wineries to explore along the way. Plan ahead and spend a day or weekend sipping wine on each of the trails. Stay tuned for special seasonal wine trail events! 

  3. Cook with Missouri wine: Have you ever tried cooking with Missouri wine? From sweet to dry, Missouri wines can enhance the flavor of any dish. Missouri’s fruit wines are incredibly food friendly when it comes to baking sweet treats. If you need some inspiration, click here to view our recipes.

  4. Try all of the Missouri varietals: Have you tried all of the award-winning varietals? Wine tastings at wineries are a great way to experience all of the different types of wine Missouri has to offer. Try something new, you may discover a new favorite wine! Click here to explore Missouri’s most popular varietals.

  5. Take a tour of a Missouri winery: Discover how wine is made and get an up-close and personal tour of a Missouri winery. Some wineries even offer tours of their wine cellars! Each winery is different, so you’ll need to check tour times before you go.

  6. Start your own wine tasting club: Do you and your friends have an interest in wine? If so, get the group together and have some fun! A wine tasting club is a great way to learn about wine and enjoy it with friends. Click here for some helpful tips to get you started. 

Cheers to New Year’s resolutions!

Norton: A Local Wine Hero

January 03, 2017

Norton grapes on black and white backgroundBig, bold, and resilient… these are all appropriate descriptions of Norton, the official state grape of Missouri. They could also be used to describe a hero and in a many ways, that’s exactly what Norton is. From saving the French wine industry, to putting the Missouri wine industry on the map, Norton has certainly shown heroic tendencies. For that and several other reasons, we invite you to join us in celebrating January as Norton Month.

Norton (aka Cynthiana) is a Native American grape varietal, and is thought to be one of the oldest grape varieties still being grown commercially in the United States. So, it’s unsurprising that Norton has a bit of a legacy. In the late 1800s a louse was devastating French vineyards. Two gentlemen in Missouri discovered a way to help… this is where Norton comes in. C.V. Riley (an entomologist) and George Hussman (a scientist and vintner) realized that grafting disease-resistant Native American rootstock to the European vines would save them from the dreaded vineyard pest.

This isn’t the only time Norton made headlines. Norton wines from Missouri won gold medals at eight Worlds’ Fairs in the late 1800s, prior to prohibition. This helped word spread about the local wine industry, which was second in the nation in production at that time. Prohibition came along and decimated the industry, but it has recovered and is going strong, boasting a $1.76 billion impact annually. Norton is bringing home awards year after year, and we’re quite proud of the Norton wines we make here in the Show Me State; so much so that we named it our official state grape in 2003.

Comforting aromas of dark berries and light spices are followed by rich flavors of dark fruit and spicy oak in Missouri’s flagship wine. Norton wines are known for being big, bold, full-bodied red wines, but the grape is also used in some rosé and decadent, dessert-style wines. It’s pretty clear Norton is a fan favorite with consumers and winemakers alike as it is the most widely planted grape in the state, accounting for more than 20% of all the grapes in Missouri vineyards.

Most of the 130+ wineries you’ll discover in Missouri wine country will have at least one Norton wine for you to try. Every Norton is different, and that’s part of the beauty and adventure of exploring local wineries. Find your favorite Norton this January, and join us in raising a glass to this local wine hero. Cheers to Norton Month! 

Let’s Reflect- 2016 in Missouri Wine Country

December 29, 2016

Cheers sign in MO winery tasting room It’s been an eventful year; 2016 has brought all kinds of changes. The Show Me State wine industry has seen new wineries open, the introduction of an exciting rewards program, tons of awards and honors, and much more. Here are some of the highlights of 2016 in Missouri wine country.

Welcomed six new wineries.

The number of wineries in the state just keeps growing! We added six new wineries this year:

  • Curling Vine Winery with locations in New Florence and Branson
  • Dale Hollow Winery in Stover
  • Eagles’ Landing in St. James
  • KC Wineworks in the Crossroads District of Kansas City
  • McCullough House Winery in Thayer

Debuted a newly redesigned website.

At the beginning of 2016 we unveiled a completely redesigned website we hope serves you well as the resource for all things Missouri wine. On our site you can find info about all the 130+ wineries, food and wine pairings, recipes, infographics, videos and more.

Kicked off an exciting rewards program called MVP.

September 1st marked the beginning of the highly anticipated Missouri Winery Visitors Program. Are you an MVP? It’s easy! All you do is sign up online, get tickets when you visit wineries, enter your tickets for points and use your points to get great rewards. The program runs through 2017, so sign up now!

Added two beloved varietals to our varietal month celebrations.

In 2016 we officially named April as Chardonel Month and July as Concord Month. We look forward to continuing the celebration of these fantastic Missouri grape varietals for years to come.

Honored… time and time again.

The Missouri wine industry has a long and proud history, and that pride carries through.

  • We were honored with the Allied Industry Award by the Cattlemen’s Association
  • Dr. Peter Hofherr, CEO of St. James Winery and Chairman of the Missouri Wine and Grape Board was named the Secretary/Treasurer of the National Grape and Wine Initiative for 2016.
  • Ken Meyer, owner of Meyer Farms Winery, received the prestigious President's Award from the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame.
  • Bob Mueller, owner of Robller Vineyard, was honored as one of the "50 Missourians You Should Know" by Ingram's Magazine.
  • Jowler Creek Winery was named one of Kansas City’s 25 Under 25 by Thinking Bigger Business Media.

… just to name a few.

Named another class of delicious, award-winning wines.

The 2016 Missouri Wine Competition saw more than 300 entries and a team of world-class wine experts awarded a new class of award-worthy wines, including crowning St. James Winery’s 2015 Vignoles the top honor of Governor’s Cup.

Welcomed a new AVA to the state.

An American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Missouri is home to the country’s first designated AVA (Augusta, named in 1980), and in 2016 the Loess Hills District AVA was named. The new area covers the northwest corner of the Show Me State.

While we can’t cover everything exciting that happened in 2016, we hope this was a nice reminder of the exciting times we had this year. Thank you for your support of the local wine industry in Missouri over the past twelve months, and cheers to another great year in 2017!

Ring in the New Year with Missouri Sparkling Wine!

December 27, 2016

Toast the New Year with Missouri Sparkling Wine.jpgGet your pop, fizz, clink on this New Year’s Eve with Missouri sparkling wine! Come midnight on December 31st, a celebratory sip of some local bubbly is a great way to toast to the coming year. Missouri’s sparkling wines range from dry to sweet, white to rosé, and can have a light to medium body. Whether you’re hosting a New Year’s Eve soiree or planning to go to one, make sure you celebrate with a bottle of Missouri sparkling wine!  

Just to be clear, sparkling wine and Champagne are similar, but not the same. Champagne is a term commonly used to describe any wine with bubbles in it, but you can only call it Champagne if it comes from the Champagne region of France. After an international trade agreement made in 2006, no new sparkling wines are allowed to be called Champagne unless made in a particular style with grapes grown in the Champagne district. So, here in the United States, we simply call it sparkling wine!

Sparkling wines start out being made like all other wines where a primary fermentation process turns the sugar into alcohol. However, a second round of fermentation must take place within a sealed container to trap all the carbon dioxide, which dissolves in the wine and creates bubbles. Where this second fermentation process takes place is the key difference in the methods of sparkling wine production. In the traditional method, or as the French say méthode champenoise, the second fermentation happens in the bottle. In the charmat method, the second fermentation takes place in a pressurized tank. Many wineries will disclose which method was used to make their sparkling wine, so check the label on the next bottle you purchase to find out how the bubbles were made.

Prior to popping that cork, make sure to chill your sparkling wine for at least 30 to 40 minutes in ice or three hours in the refrigerator. The ideal temperature to serve sparkling wine is around 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit. 

So let’s toast, and remember, bubbles are key, so you don’t want to lose them. Instead of pouring your sparkling wine straight down into the flute, try pouring it down the side of the flute, similar to the way beer is poured, it will preserve more bubbles!   

Cheers to Missouri sparkling wines and a happy New Year!

Thanking the Forefathers of Missouri Wine

December 22, 2016

Historical photo in Missouri's vineyardsDid you know December 22nd is National Forefathers Day? When we found out, we were inspired to take some time to recognize and thank some of the forefathers of the wine industry in the Show Me State. The winemaking history of Missouri is long and proud. Prior to prohibition, Missouri was ranked second in the nation in wine production and was winning prestigious awards for its quality wines. It is even credited with helping save the French wine industry. So where did this illustrious history begin?

French settlers found a home in what would become southeastern Missouri in the late 1740s, establishing Ste. Genevieve, where they found the climate, soil and landscape favorable for winemaking. While the French may have come early to the game, German settlers weren’t far behind. Thanks in large part to a German author named Gottfried Duden who settled in Missouri in 1824 near present day Dutzow and wrote a book about his findings. His book became a best seller back in his homeland and served as the inspiration for many Germans to make Missouri their new home.

"I do not conceal the fact from you that the entire life of the inhabitants of these regions seemed to me like a dream at first," Duden wrote. "Even now, after I have had three months to examine conditions more closely, it seems to me almost a fantasy when I consider what nature offers man here." He went on to describe "acorns... as big as hen's eggs and wild grapevines... heavy with sweet fruit."

Historical photo of George Hussman, a forefather of Missouri wines German immigrants settled towns like Hermann, Dutzow, Defiance and Augusta, and the Missouri wine industry began to grow. It wasn’t long before Italian settlers found their way to the state and started making wine in the Rolla, Rosati, and St. James areas. In the mid-1800s the quality of Missouri wine was given a boost when self-taught scientist, George Husmann started researching soil types and crossing wild grapes with cultivated vines to create hybrids that could withstand the demanding weather patterns of Missouri.

Historical photo of CV Riley, crediting with helping to save the French wine industryHusmann’s research, along with that of state appointed entomologist, Charles Valentine Riley, is credited with helping to save the French wine industry in the 1870s. A blight in the form of a louse called phylloxera had made its way to Europe and was decimating French vineyards. Riley and Husmann found that Native American rootstocks were resistant to the pest. Millions of cuttings of rootstock were taken to France and grafted to their vines, saving the industry. Two statues commemorating the event were erected in Monpellier, France, where they still stand today.

Etching of Stone Hill's historical cellar By the turn of the century, Missouri was producing nearly three million gallons of wine a year and winning international awards at World Fairs. This all came to an abrupt halt with the passing of the 18th amendment, also known as Prohibition. The once great industry had been completely dismantled. Vines were pulled from the ground, barrels of wine dumped in the streets, and grand underground cellars reduced to propagating mushrooms.

However, we have the forefathers of the current, thriving Missouri wine industry to thank for restarting and reinvigorating the winemaking traditions of the area. Jim and Betty Held along with their family re-opened and started the rebuilding process of Stone Hill Winery in 1965, and Jim and Pat Hofherr and their family opened St. James Winery in 1970.

Fast-forward several decades and the industry now boasts more than 130 wineries and 1,700 acres of vineyards, producing 1.25 million gallons of wine every year. We are thankful to those who paved the way, those whoStone Hill's 50th Anniversary labels repaved it, and those who continue to forge the path forward. We are grateful for local wine and the passionate people who craft it!


Photo captions (top to bottom):

Photo via Edward Kemper Collection, Columbia, MO

Photo via Hermann Chamber of Commerce

Photo via Kansas State University 

Photo via Hermann Chamber of Commerce

Photo via Stone Hill Winery



“Wine History”: Hermann Area Chamber of Commerce, http://visithermann.com/taste-tour/wine-history/

“The History of Missouri Wine”: Missouri Wine Country, http://www.missouriwinecountry.com/articles/history/

“Ste. Genevieve’s Wine Country”: Ste. Genevieve Area Chamber of Commerce, http://www.stegenchamber.org/tourism/wineries.html

Dale Hollow Winery

The story of Dale Hollow Winery begins with a family that has lived in the quaint Missouri community of Stover for multiple generations. Asher and Jesse Dale, with their wives Ana and Katy, came up with the idea of starting a winery in 2012. They planted their first grapes in spring 2013 on land that has been in the family since the 1950s, originally belonging to their grandfather, Melvin Dale. Melvin's son, Kenny (the brothers’ dad) now helps with every step of vineyard management on land he grew up baling hay on, while the brothers’ mom, Beth, works alongside them in multiple facets.


How to Gift Wrap Wine Bottles – Three Ways

December 20, 2016

Gift wrapped MO wine bottles. Missouri wine makes a fantastic gift, especially when you’re able to share a story or memory along with it. Maybe it’s a favorite wine from a great trip you took on a wine trail. Perhaps it’s a wine you discovered and just had to share with them. Whatever the reason, gifting local wine is a great idea this holiday season. Now, let’s talk gift-wrapping… wine bottles can be a bit of a challenge, but we’ve got three easy and fun ways to package your vino presents. 


Gift Wrapping a Wine Bottle #1: A DishtowelSupplies 1: dishtowel and bottle of MO wine

Supplies: Dishtowel, ribbon, a bottle of Missouri wine


Lay the dishtowel flat on a table or countertop, design side down. Stand the bottle in the middle of the towel. Gather all four corners of the towel above the top of the bottle. Smooth the towel up the bottle from the bottom to the neck. Tie the ribbon into a bow around the towel at the neck of the bottle. Fluff and tuck as desired and you’re finished. A gift wrapped in a gift… who wouldn’t want to receive that? 


Gift Wrapping a Wine Bottle #2: A Pair of SocksSupplies: Pair of knee-high socks, bottle of MO wine, and ribbon

Supplies: Pair of knee-high socks, bottle of Missouri wine


Starting from the bottom, pull one of the socks over the wine bottle. Fold the excess over the top of the bottle. Use the other sock to tie a bow around the neck of the bottle. You’re all done wrapping. It’s really that quick and easy! *Tip – Thinner socks make tying the bow easier.


Gift Wrapping a Wine Bottle #3: Wrapping Paper FanSupplies: Wrapping paper, bottle of mo wine, tape, scissors, and ribbon

Supplies: Wrapping paper, scissors, double-sided tape, ribbon, bottle of Missouri wine


1. Lay the bottle on a piece of wrapping paper with at least 8 inches overhang on the top and about two inches on the bottom of the bottle. *Tip- Wrapping paper with gridlines makes this easier.
2. Use tape to attach the edge of paper to the side of the bottle, roll bottle in paper until fully covered and tape closed.
3. Tuck the paper at the bottom of the bottle using a triangle pattern as you turn the bottle until it is all tucked in; secure with tape.

4. Stand the bottle up; crease both sides of the paper. For the fan effect, start at the top and fold the paper down in segments, alternating the direction. It works best if your first fold is away from you. Once all of the paper at the top of the bottle is folded into your fan folds, attach it to the top of the bottle with a piece of tape.
5. Tie your ribbon lengthwise around the bottle.

6. Bring either side of your fan fold together in the center to create the look of one continuous arc. Secure each side together in the middle with a piece of tape. 


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