Patio Perfect with Missouri Wines

This season, create the perfect patio event with the help of Missouri wines. The summer months provide the ideal opportunity to host a fun, open-air gathering for you and your friends. All you need is a cozy outdoor setting, a delicious menu and the fabulous guests. Follow the simple steps below and you’re on your way to the savviest summer affair of the season!

The first step is to decide what type of event you would like to have. Your patio-perfect shindig can be a relaxed get-together with wine and desserts, a traditional barbecue, or a picnic-style potluck. Plan ahead; consider the guest list, budget and any potential time limitations. Maybe develop a theme for the evening. Some ideas include a “brown bag” blind tasting event (ask guests to bring a bottle of their favorite Missouri wine), or a regional theme in which wines from a specific area of the state, such as Augusta, Hermann or Ste. Genevieve, are highlighted. Play a wine-themed movie in the background for added ambiance.

When and Where?
Because the later summer months can be hot, it is a good idea to host your event in the evening hours when the temperature will be more comfortable. Next, decide where your guests will munch and mingle (the deck or backyard?). Be sure there are chairs available or spread blankets around the backyard in case anyone wants to take a seat. Light citronella candles to keep bugs at bay. You may also want to consider a “plan b” if it rains by either moving the celebration inside or to a public location with a shelter. 

Food and Drink
Your menu can help set the mood of your gathering. A simple menu, like these snazzy finger foods, conveys a relaxed mood, while a more elaborate dinner menu suggests a bit of a fancier affair. Or serve some of these desserts paired with dessert wines or other sweet Missouri wines. Be creative! Setup a drink station with glasses and various Missouri wines to encourage guests to socialize and try different food and wine combinations. For easy added flare, freeze grapes and place in wine glasses to keep wine cold.

Keep in mind these other basic food and wine pairing tips:

  • Serve Vignoles with spicy dishes and fruity desserts.
  • Vidal Blanc pairs well with seafood and poultry.
  • Serve Traminette with full-flavored foods, and foods with a little spice.
  • Chardonel complements richer seafood dishes.
  • Catawba pairs well with fruit and desserts.
  • Chambourcin pairs well with barbecue, pork and pasta dishes.
  • Norton complements red meats and smoked meats.

The most important thing to remember is to have fun! Once your plan is in place, you can relax and enjoy your get-together along with your guests. Cheers!

Off the Grill

Try this delicious grilled lemon pound cake with peaches and cream.


Photo courtesy of Con Poulos and

Move over brats and burgers! It’s time to spice up your grill with something other than the typical barbecue fare. Grilled fruits, breads and desserts add a little pizzazz to your grilling expedition. Pair the recipes below with exquisite Missouri wine, and travel off the beaten path to take grilling to a whole new level.

Grilled lemon pound cake with peaches and cream: This moist cake is ideal for any occasion. Toss it on the grill until it’s toasty and crisp, then top with grilled peaches and whipped cream for a real treat. Keep an eye out for local peaches, which are in season mid-to-late summer!
Pairs wells with: Dessert wine or fruit wine

Grilled watermelon with yogurt: Slices of watermelon, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper and charred on the grill. Top the slices with Greek yogurt (try making your own) and garnish with mint for a delectable summer snack.
Pairs well with: Traminette

Cheese stuffed grilled peppers: For this recipe, use whichever mild peppers you like. Stuff the peppers with a creamy mixture of mild and bold cheeses, and then grill until the skin is blistering and the cheese is gooey and hot. This is a perfect summer appetizer.
Pairs well with: Vidal blanc, or Vignoles if using spicier peppers

Grilled Broccoli with Chipotle-lime butter: This is not your ordinary grilled veggie recipe. Seasoned broccoli florets charred on the grill are then tossed with smoky and savory Chipotle-lime butter and garnished with creamy queso fresco.
Pairs well with: Vignoles

Juicy grilled tomatoes: Grilled tomatoes can be added to almost any recipe or just enjoyed on their own. Grilling the lightly seasoned tomatoes in a foil pack will preserve those delicious juices and provide plenty of flavors.
Pairs well with: Rosé

Grilled bread: If you’re looking for a way to shake up the breadbasket, look no further. Thick slices of grilled bread rubbed with olive oil and garlic are a perfect addition to any meal.
Pairs well with: Your favorite Missouri wine

Grilled fruit bruschetta: Honey mascarpone spread on slices of grilled, crispy bread are then topped with sugar and lavender-coated fruit skewers that have been grilled until lightly charred and tender.
Pairs well with: Vignoles

A Family who Sips Together …

Summer is in full swing, which means travel plans are in abundance. This season is also a great time for relatives to unite for an annual family reunion. If you have plans to attend or host this year’s family event, be sure to invite Missouri wines. We’d love to be part of your family!

If you’re traveling within the state or beyond, why not share a taste of the Show-Me State with your loved ones? Consider packing a “local” basket to share with family members. Include a few bottles of your favorite Missouri wines, some locally produced chocolate and local coffee, or stop by the farmers market and load up on local groceries.

If you’re entertaining out-of-town guests, there are more than 120 wineries across the state ready and waiting to make your family members feel at home. Experience the beauty of the rolling Ozarks and the quiet serenity of the great rivers of Missouri while soaking up quality time with your family.

Planning and hosting a reunion can be quite an undertaking. Why not ease some of the stress and hand over a few responsibilities to one of the more-than-capable wineries? Each winery has something unique to offer, whether you’re looking for an intimate setting for a quiet gathering or a large space for a more boisterous crowd. Missouri wineries will set you up with award-winning wines, delicious food and beautiful scenery.

No matter how you reunite with family this summer, Missouri wine country is at your service and ready to make it special!

Pairing with Peppers

November is National Pepper Month and there are so many ways to celebrate. Peppers in their many varying forms are a staple ingredient in most every kitchen adding flavor and color to countless recipes. How do you prefer your peppers? Are you a fan of roasted red peppers, sautéed peppers with onion, spicy jalapenos or any and all of the above?

Pepper lovers who are also wine lovers have a bit of a challenge on their hands knowing what wines pair with what pepper dishes. Unfortunately, there is no on-size-fits-all answer to what wine goes best with peppers. However, there are a few tips Missouri Wines can share…

The first and simplest is that sweet cuts heat. So, if you’re enjoying a spicy pepper, whether a Thai Chile, Serrano or Habanera, pairing with a semi-sweet or sweet wine can put out the fire a bit.

Raw bell peppers and some wines that exhibit notes of bell pepper share an organic compound called pyrazine. Some consider this to be a sign that a wine is green or under ripe, however, these wines can compliment raw peppers very well.

With sweet bell, cherry or banana peppers it is best to choose a wine taking the rest of the dish’s flavors into consideration. For example, a roasted red pepper dip pairs well with smoky flavors of an oaky Norton.

Here are some delicious pepper recipes to help you celebrate this month (and of course the Missouri wines that pair well with them):

Sausage Stuffed Peppadew Peppers are a quick and easy appetizer complemented nicely by a semi-dry Chambourcin rosé.

A Sautéed Brussels Sprout Slaw with Sweet Peppers is a creative twist on the average salad and pairs well with a crisp Vidal Blanc.

Pablano-Pepper Jack Corn Bread kicks up the heat on a classic matched with semi-sweet Vignoles to put out the fire.

This November, celebrate National Pepper Month, and invite Missouri Wines to come along for the ride. Missouri wines pair well with all your favorite pepper recipes!

Norton and Lamb: The perfect recipe for an Easter feast!

With Easter right around the corner, Missouri Wines wants you to be ready for a feast. One food that’s usually a staple on the table on Easter Sunday is lamb. And what goes great with lamb? A rich, bold glass of Missouri Norton, of course! Below you’ll find some classic and creative recipes to serve up this tender, flavorful meat.

Be sure to check your local farmers market or grocery store to find locally raised meats, such as Susie’s Grass Fed Lamb. A dry, Missouri Chambourcin or Norton will go great with the dishes below. Enjoy!

Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb: Rosemary, olive oil and garlic play the supporting roles of this dish. This no-fuss preparation technique showcases the taste of the lamb and lets the true flavor shine.

 Slow-Cooked Leg of Lamb with Spiced Yogurt and Herbs: While this dish takes a bit longer to execute, it is well worth the wait. Slow-cooking the leg of lamb ensures a tender and juicy meal. Plenty of herbs and spices make this dish come to life!

Lamb Meatballs With Cumin, Mint and Tomato Sauce: For a more creative and casual meal, try this recipe. The Middle Eastern flavors create a savory, spicy meatball. Serve over a bed or couscous, rice or create lamb meatball sub sandwiches.

Lamb and Broccoli Stew: The process of brining and slowly braising the lamb creates an incredibly tender and tasty meat. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare this meal, and then sip on some Missouri wine while you enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Summertime and the Living is Easy


This week we usher in the official start of summer with the Summer Solstice. Missouri has seen a seemingly unseasonably comfortable crescendo into warmer temps this year. As we enter late June, one thing is for sure: these hot and humid conditions are sure to stick around and Missouri wine country is definitely in bloom!

Summertime is the season to unwind. It’s time to travel and catch up with family and friends, to be outdoors and relax by a pool. Summer is the season of fun, and what pairs well with fun in the sun? Missouri wine!

Meeting your pals at one of the 120-plus wineries throughout the state is a great way to enjoy Missouri wine country this summer. Check the Missouri Wine events page to see is what exciting things are happening near you. If you’re visiting family, pick up a case of your favorite Missouri wine on the way out of town to share. Feel like staying a little closer to home? Host your own barbecue or potluck.

It’s summer. It’s Missouri wine. Get out and love it!

Beat the heat with Seyval Blanc.

Visit the pool with Vidal Blanc.

Take Catawba to a summer barbecue.

Picnic with Sparkling wine.

Watch the baseball game with Traminette.

Take Vignoles to a family reunion.

Mix things up with a wine cocktail.

Seafood & Wine: A delicious match

June is National Seafood Month. Summertime is the perfect season for preparing seafood because it is a versatile food that can be prepared numerous ways and offers plenty of flavors and seasonings. And all that variety means plenty of wine-pairing options too.

At one time, it was believed that only pairing white wines with seafood was acceptable. But as mentioned before, some rules are meant to be broken – at least in the food-and-wine-pairing world. Red wines can complement various types of seafood just as well as whites.

Although, there are a few guidelines by which to stand – no one wants complete culinary chaos. The concept that a full-bodied wine goes well with a full-bodied fish still holds true. The preparation technique of the fish can also impact which wine pairs best. For example, a roasted fish will result in a heartier texture therefore will pair well with a more robust wine, like Chambourcin. A fish poached in olive oil will create a softer texture, which will pair better with a light-bodied wine, such as Vidal Blanc. Rosé is also a nice match for various seafood fare.

It’s no secret that Missouri is landlocked, but you can find fresh seafood at almost any grocery store or restaurant. Be sure to keep an eye out for locally raised fish from Troutdale Farm.

If you don’t have time to test various pairings, it’s a good idea to keep a bottle of Vidal on hand. It will pair well with most seafood dishes, particularly lean white fish.

As always, the best food and wine pairing is the one that you like. These recipes will get you started. Enjoy!

Roasted Salmon with Tomato Jam: This recipe produces a flavor-packed result. It’s easily simplified by omitting the vermicelli and following the “easy” (i.e., quick) method of making the jam.
Pair with Chambourcin.

Fried Beer-Battered Fish: A classic! Skip the fries, and whip up a fresh salad with Missouri-grown produce for a nutrient-rich side.
Pair with a Sparkling wine.

Poached Scallops: Scallops have a natural, slightly sweet flavor that is highlighted in this recipe. Served with green beans, you’ve got a perfect midsummer’s night meal.
Pair with Vidal Blanc or Chardonel.

Spicy Coconut Fish Curry: This dish packs some heat along with plenty of sweet and spicy flavor.
Pair with Vignoles.

Shrimp in Garlic Sauce: These tasty shrimp can be served as an appetizer or as a main dish. The recipe combines garlic, spicy olive oil, lemon juice and plump shrimp. What’s not to love?
Pair with an oaky Chardonel.

Sushi Bites: Follow these steps for a creative take on a traditional sushi roll. This recipe is quick, easy and delicious – it’s the perfect summer appetizer!
Pair with a Sparkling wine.

Creamy Seafood Risotto: Shrimp and crab folded into a creamy combination of clam base and risotto will delight your taste buds. This dish can be filling, so it’s perfect to serve to a crowd at a summer get-together.
Pair with Traminette.

Sip and Swim

The time has come to trade the socks for sandals and the scarves for sunscreen. Longer days and warmer temps means that it is finally pool season! Grab a book, a snack or two and soak in some vitamin D while you savor a glass of your favorite wine.

Missouri white or sparkling wines pair well with basking poolside. Missouri’s white wines can range from dry to sweet and medium- to full-bodied. Try a Vidal Blanc, full of fruity characteristics, while you’re relaxing by the pool. Additionally, St. James Winery recently introduced a liter pouch of wine (that’s six glasses!), which is perfect for poolside enjoyment.

If you feel like getting creative, try this punch-like, Brazilian-inspired cocktail by combining Chambourcin with fresh blackberries or strawberries. Or how about mixing just-squeezed orange juice, dry sparkling wine and a sprig of mint for a refreshing mimosa?  The pool is also an ideal setting to sip on Missouri fruit wines. Blend strawberry wine with fresh squeezed lemons and a little sugar to create the perfect poolside lemonade.

Feel like packing a few snacks for your afternoon in the sun? Light finger-foods are the most convenient to take to the pool. Try these easy-to-make apple sandwiches (think apple slices, almond butter and granola). Or, pick up some local nuts, fruit and cheese next time you’re at the store or farmers market.

Keep in mind that certain pools may have rules in place against bringing in your own drinks and food. If that’s the case, make a day out of your “mini-pool vacation.” Lounge in the sun for a few hours (don’t forget the sunscreen) before packing up and heading to a Missouri winery for a late lunch.

Spotlight-Stealing Side Dishes

The time has come to dust off the grill: Barbecue season is here. Celebrate the warmer weather by creating delicious meals atop the hot coals. In addition to the main course, there are seemingly endless possibilities for tasty side dishes, some of which can be cooked alongside your burgers and brats. Here are a few ideas for summer side dishes and the Missouri wines that pair best.

Vegetables with Walnut Dressing: Liven up routine grilled veggies by adding a walnut dressing. Instead of toasting in the oven, wrap the walnuts in foil and toss them on the grill grate or on top of the coals.
Pair with: A dry, full-bodied Chardonel

Grilled Corn with Aleppo Pepper Aioli: There is nothing quite like fresh, grilled sweet corn on the cob. This recipe is a twist on a classic summer barbecue side. The Aleppo pepper flakes, used largely in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking, add a distinct flavor and can be found at your local grocery store.
Pair with: A fruity Vignoles

Braised Cucumbers with Dill: For this simple side dish, we step away from the grill. Cucumbers braised in a little butter and mixed with fresh dill create a straight-from-the-garden side.
Pair with: A semi-sweet Vignoles

Spicy Maple Baked Beans: This baked bean dish is packed with flavor. The maple syrup, dark ale and cayenne create a marriage of sweet and spice. Add bacon and all-beef hot dogs to the mix, and you’ve got a stellar side dish that just might rival your main course.
Pair with: A crisp Sparkling wine

Herbed Potato Salad: No barbecue is complete without the potato salad. Rather than a traditional creamy salad that can be heavy in the summer heat, this recipe lets the yellow potatoes and fresh herbs do the talking.

Cultural Craving: Spanish Food

The day never ends in Spain. There, the cyclical rhythm of work and leisure is powered by an intense love of life and, more notably, food. Spanish cuisine has formed over the centuries as more ingredients have become accessible. At the root of every authentic dish lies down-to-earth flavors and ties to its region of origin.

For Spaniards, there are traditionally seven food breaks throughout the day; the largest meals are la comida (lunch) and la cena (dinner). These breaks are part of life in Spain, as is the siesta, which is a period of time that shops and businesses close for people to relax. Bars and restaurants remain open during meal times, but close around 4 p.m. till 8 p.m. for their own siesta.

Lunchtime in Spain doesn’t involve picking up a salad and returning to your desk. Instead, it is a social event. Locals will stop what they are working on at 2 p.m., return home or meet friends and family for lunch. There is a substantial first course, main course, wine, dessert, and coffee. As Ernest Hemmingway noted on a visit to Spain once, “You have to drink plenty of wine to get it all down.” Dinner, which usually occurs around 10 p.m., is a time for Spaniards to congregate again for a lighter round of eating. These meals are traditionally fish and eggs (but still observe a three-course round-up).

This Cultural Craving post celebrates the Spanish way of life. The lifestyle might not mirror the practical Missourian way, but the simplicity of authentic Spanish dishes matches Missourian’s easygoing spirit. Like Spain, there isn’t a set “Missourian” cuisine (unless, of course, you consider Kansas City BBQ a genre). Common national dishes include paella, gazpacho, flan, and potato omelets. Their most famous wine is sherry, which originated in the Southern regions.

Pollo al ajillo (chicken in garlic sauce) has become a national treasure of Spain. It is found on most menus and is akin to Southern fried chicken in the U.S. Naturally, many arguments have ensued over the best recipe, but this one is an easy alternative that still offers a little bit of heat. Pair it with Traminette for a slightly sweet flavor to offset the spice. Or, enjoy it with Chambourcin to accentuate the seasoning of the chicken.

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