Invite Missouri Wine to your Thanksgiving Feast

November 21, 2013

The Thanksgiving feast can be a tad overwhelming. Let our friends at Feast Magazine help. The November episode of Feast TV features tips and tricks from local chefs on how to have the perfect meal this holiday. And let Missouri Wines help you decide what wines to choose for perfect pairings.

The Turkey:

Turkey is the most traditional of main courses for Thanksgiving Dinner, aptly so. A well-executed turkey, whether roasted, smoked or deep-fried, is the definition of comfort-food. A rich, fruity Chambourcin with subtle tannin is a great compliment to savory turkey.

The Side Dishes:

Some look forward to the sides more than the main course. There is nothing wrong with that! If you tend to look past the turkey at the plethora of flavors that await, try these pairings for a holiday treat.


Sweet potato or yam dishes are complimented wonderfully with the slight sweetness of Vignoles.

Green Bean Casserole

This recipe is a gourmet twist on the classic green bean casserole with button mushrooms, parmesan and shallots. The best thing about this recipe… you can make it ahead of time. The creaminess of this dish and the mushrooms make it the perfect pair to a Chambourcin wine.

Stuffing (or Dressing)-

What would Thanksgiving be without the stuffing (or dressing if you don’t want to actually cook it in the turkey)? Take your pick with this collection of 50 stuffing recipes. If you just can’t wait for the main course to enjoy your stuffing, try these sausage and apple stuffing bites as a fun hors d’oeuvre. Stuffing is usually savory and often features spices that pair beautifully with Chamboucin, Missouri’s varietal of the month for November (How appropriate!).

The Sweets

Are you saving room for dessert? Us too! There’s the Thanksgiving classic, pumpkin pie. Or you might lean toward apple or sweet potato pie. Do you prefer pecan pie? Are you a fan of chocolate? This recipe for chocolate pecan pie will take your sweet tooth to new heights. Pair any of your delectable desserts with a Catawba or Vignoles.

If you’re looking for one wine that will best cover your entire festive feast, we recommend Chambourcin for your table. It is rich and fruity, but has a subtlety that will let your food shine alongside it, rather than running it over.

Missouri wine pairs well with holiday feasts!


A New Take on Cranberry

November 19, 2013

The cranberry is one of few fruits native to America that are grown commercially. [Fun Fact: Several popular Missouri grape varietals are also American natives; Catawba, Concord and Norton.] The fruit was used as food, fabric dye and a healing agent long before the settlers arrived. However, the cranberry’s primary claim to fame these days is in the form of cranberry sauce accompanying turkey on the table at Thanksgiving. The traditional dish is celebrated by some and dreaded by others. Whichever group you identify with, here are some twists on the same-old-same-old that could make you look at cranberry sauce in a whole new way.

Adding a little orange to cranberry sauce is fairly common, so try this recipe as a base and explore several easy ways to spice it up. Try Chipotle for a little kick, or increase the decadence with truffle oil and chives. Do you smoke your turkey? If so, compliment it with this sweet and smoky version of the classic accoutrement. You can add a little zing with this lemon-tarragon version or some Asian flare with ginger-miso.

Wine makes everything better, right? If this is your mantra, you’ll definitely be a fan of this mulled wine cranberry sauce recipe. Use a young, fruit forward Chambourcin, or for a bolder flavor add Norton. Do you prefer your cranberry sauce on the sweeter side? What could be more decadent than Missouri Port? Try this recipe for Port-cranberry sauce to satisfy that sweet tooth and compliment the savory turkey.

Bring one of these unique twists on the traditional cranberry sauce to your Thanksgiving celebration and you’ll be the talk of the table. Homemade sauce is arguably better than the gelatinous can, however, there can still be a place for the quintessential can in the festivities. Cranberry Carving is a fun activity that lets your loved ones, young and old, unleash their creativity. The supply list is short, but the possibilities are endless!

Halloween Candy and Wine? It’s a real treat!

October 31, 2013

Got a pile of Halloween candy left in the aftermath of Trick-or-Treating? Create your own little treat with these delicious wine pairings.

Starburst and Vidal Blanc– The crisp apple flavors of Vidal are the perfect complement to the fruity chews. Get ready for a tasty balance of sweet and tart.

Candy Corn and Chardonel– The rich and creamy texture of Chardonel matches the candy corn and adds a great zing to the whole combo.

3 Musketeers and Chambourcin– The jammy fruit flavors of Chambourcin pair well with the chocolate-nougaty goodness of the candy bar.

Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate (Or any dark chocolate for that matter!) and Norton– Rich berry flavors in Norton are brought out even more by the bitterness of the dark chocolate for a delectable treat.

Tootsie Pops and Sparkling Wine-The bubbles add zip to the candy coating and go great with the chewy, chocolaty center.

Caramel Apple and Vignoles– The sweet aroma of the Vignoles is a wonderful complement to the caramel and the apple.

Gummy Worms and Pink Catawba– Two deliciously sweet flavors combine to make some very happy taste buds.

After the kids have had a ball trick-or-treating and have come down from their sugar-highs, it’s time for you to have some adult-style fun. Create your very own Halloween candy and wine tasting with the leftover loot.   Missouri Wine pairs well with your sweet tooth!

Ice Cream and Wine: Pairs Perfectly With Summer

October 07, 2013


What better way to beat the heat than by combining your favorite summer sipper with your favorite frozen treat? Missouri wine and ice cream unites to create a seriously refreshing snack. And because July is National Ice Cream month, it’s time to celebrate!

July was crowned the official month of ice cream in 1984 by President Ronald Reagan who recognized ice cream as a “fun and nutritious food” that is enjoyed by the majority of the nation’s population.

According to the International Dairy Foods Association, about 9 percent of all the milk produced by U.S. dairy farmers is used to produce ice cream, which contributes significantly to the economic well-being of the nation’s dairy industry. So you’re actually doing good when you’re eating ice cream!

This month, try making your own wine ice cream and toast to the deliciousness of the season with one of these fun, summer delights. 

Sweet Red Wine Ice Cream: Use a sweet red Missouri wine for this recipe. Combining the wine with cream and egg yolks will create a deliciously creamy consistency. Or try this recipe using vanilla extract, sugar and cream. Substitute your favorite fruit wine or other sweet Missouri wine.

Sparkling Wine Float with Sorbet: Choose a sparkling rosé for this recipe, which adds a scoop of raspberry sorbet and fresh berries to the flute. Or try this variation, which combines vanilla ice cream, framboise and a dry sparkling wine.

Fruit Wine Float: Drizzle your favorite Missouri mead or fruit wine over vanilla ice cream, garnish with some fresh fruit slices and you’re set. Peach, strawberry, blackberry … the possibilities are endless!

Use your imagination. With high-quality wines and rich, velvety ice cream, you can’t go wrong.

A Guide to Pairing Pork and Missouri Wine

October 03, 2013

Photo courtesy of the National Pork Board

America’s pork industry can be traced back to 1539 when Hernando de Soto landed in Tampa Bay, Florida with 13 pigs. Pork is a delicious, versatile and healthy protein source. It comes as no surprise that the industry has grown exponentially. Missouri alone claims 5 million hogs annually and employs more than 50,000.

October has been proclaimed Pork Month on a state and national level and there are so many ways to celebrate. The thing wine lovers appreciate about pork is that with so many ways to prepare it, you can enjoy it with a wide variety of wines. Here’s a guide to pairing Missouri wine and pork to help you get in the spirit of Pork Month:

Ham, bacon and sausages pair well with Vignoles.

A semi-dry Vignoles has the fruitiness and acidity to balance the smoke and salt in ham and bacon, while a semi-sweet to sweet Vignoles has the weight to stand up to sausages.

Spicy pork pairs well with Traminette.

Pork is a favorite in spicy dishes because the flavors mix so well. Whether it’s traditional Cochinita (spicy Mexican pulled pork) or daeji bulgogi (Korean barbecue), the natural acidity and light sweetness of a Traminette compliments spicy pork well.

Herbed pork pairs well with Chardonel.

You want to avoid overwhelming the mild herbal flavors of roasted or braised pork when choosing a wine to accompany. Try a Chardonel with notes of apple, citrus and oak.

Asian spiced pork pairs well with Chambourcin.

Pork is often used in Asian style dishes. A Chambourcin with its deep fruitiness and low tannin is a great fit for Asian spiced pork meals.

Roast suckling pig, pork belly and barbecued ribs pair well with Norton.

Bold pork dishes with an abundance of crispy fat or tomato-based sauces require a more bold, spicy wine. Norton fits the bill perfectly.

How will you celebrate Pork Month? You can find a plethora of pork recipes at the National Pork Board website. Whatever delectable dishes you decide to make, invite Missouri Wine. Missouri wine pairs well with pork!

Cheers to Tailgating!

September 26, 2013

The onset of Fall means many things, but few are as anticipated as football season. Tried and true fans will agree that cheering on your favorite team begins long before kick-off. The parking lot is as steeped in tradition as the stadium itself. That’s right, it’s time for tailgating!

Most often beer is the go-to adult beverage for tailgating, but wine offers a great option for taking your tailgate to the next level. Whether you prefer the classics or get really creative with the menu, there is a Missouri wine that can compliment your menu in exciting and perhaps unexpected ways.

Burgers are a staple at most tailgates, but everyone makes them a little differently. Choose your wine with what’s on top, rather than the burger itself. So, for example if you prefer to top your burger with sharp cheddar, tomatoes, pickles and ketchup, it would pair well with a light, refreshing Chambourcin Rosé. If you lean a little more toward the gourmet with blue cheese, caramelized onions and mayo, pair with a bold Norton, known for jammy fruit flavors.

Bratwursts are another popular item found grilling and smelling delicious around the stadium. Pair with a semi-sweet Traminette for a delicious match with German roots.

If you’re more interested in the snacks than the main dish, consider pairing with your favorite dip or side. A crisp Vidal Blanc stands up nicely to the richness of guacamole. A pasta salad with juicy tomatoes and herbs pairs well with the notes of citrus in Vignoles.

Whatever you choose to fill your plate with, fill your glass with a delicious Missouri wine to match and support your local wineries while cheering on your local team! Missouri wine pairs well with tailgates.

Holiday Hosting with Missouri Wines

September 12, 2013

Whether you’re hosting an intimate holiday gathering or a large festive affair, there are challenges every host(ess) faces, especially in the wine department. Here are some tips to take the stress and confusion out of your celebration.

Which wines should I serve?

If you are providing the food, choosing the wine can be fairly simple because you control the menu. You can match up the prominent flavors on this Missouri wine and food pairing guide. However, if your guests are bringing dishes to the festivities, it’s best to get a good selection of wines in a few different styles. While you can’t pair things perfectly when you don’t know what they are, you can try to cover all your bases without breaking the bank. Consider this as a basic list: a dry red, a dry white, an off-dry (red, white or rosé), and a sweet (red, white or rosé). For example, purchasing a Norton, Vidal Blanc or Chardonel, Chambourcin rosé, and Vignoles or Traminette will ensure you please just about any palette and have something that pairs well with most dishes. Celebrations are always more festive when you add bubbles! Put a sparkling wine on the list for an extra dose of holiday cheer.

How much wine will I need?

A bottle of wine serves between 4 and 6 glasses depending on the size of the glass (and the person pouring). If wine is the primary beverage being served, count on most of your guests having approximately one glass per hour. So, depending on what else is being served and how long your event lasts, you can calculate how many bottles of wine to purchase. Skew more sweet or more dry depending on the tastes of the majority of your guests’ tastes.

What temperature should the wine be?

Serving wine too warm causes the alcohol to overpower the characteristics of the wine. Serving wine too cold masks the flavor of the wine. Serving your wine at the correct temperature is as simple as 3 – 2 – 1. Sparkling wines should be served nice and cold. Chill them for 3 hours (45°). White wines and sweet or dessert wines don’t have to be quite as cool. Chill them for 2 hours (55°). Finally, red wine (as well as ports and sherries) should be slightly below room temperature. Chill them for 30 minutes to an hour (65°).

Hopefully these tips help relieve some of the headache that comes along with being the host(ess). Don’t forget, if you’re attending get-togethers this season, Missouri wine makes a great host(ess) gift too!

Missouri wine pairs well with hosting celebrations!

Harvest: A Grape’s First Step

September 08, 2013

Hand harvesting is the most traditional method. Many wineries, especially smaller ones still employ this technique.

Harvest is the first step grapes take in their journey to the bottle of delicious wine you enjoy. It is also the busiest time of year for wineries. Vineyards are bustling, while festivals and events celebrate the tradition and excitement of the annual grape harvest in Missouri wine country.

In most years harvest happens from August to October. As you know, this summer has seen a fair amount of unseasonable weather, pushing harvest a little later than usual. Mother nature postponing the season has only increased the excitement for this year’s bounty.

In general, grapes intended for sparkling wine are harvested first to ensure lower sugar levels. In Missouri, this often means Vidal Blanc grapes. Next on the docket are most of the white wine grape varietals such as Vignoles, Chardonel, and Traminette. After that, the red wine grapes such as Concord, Chambourcin and Norton are harvested, as they tend to take a bit longer to ripen. Lastly, the late-harvest grapes meant for dessert and ice wines make their way to crush.

Harvest season in Missouri is the welcome mat for Fall, beckoning crisper air and cooler temperatures. It is the perfect time to get out to a winery and experience what Missouri wine is all about. Go to a crush festival, a grape-stomp or even help hand-harvest in the vineyard.

Crush: The Next Step

September 05, 2013

If harvest is the first step a grape takes on its life’s journey to your glass, crush is most definitely the second— a big, messy, interesting step that makes a large impact on the character of the wine it will become.

Once the grapes have been harvested, they meet some new friends that help them make the transition to juice. The first helpers we meet in the crush process are rice hulls. They are mixed in with the grapes as a pressing agent to form channels for the juice to work its way out. The second helper is a liquid enzyme that is added as another pressing agent that breaks down the pulp in the grape to let is juice more freely.

After the rice hulls and enzyme are mixed with the grapes, the whole mixture goes into the crusher/de-stem-er which separates the stems from the fruit. The grapes (and friends) then run from the crusher/de-stem-er to the press through a hose. There are two primary types of wine grape presses, a basket press (also called a ratchet press) and a bladder press. A basket press works by squeezing the grapes from the top and bottom, while a bladder press works by squeezing the grapes from the inside outward like a balloon.

Once the grapes are in the press they are allowed to juice on their own, this part of the process is called “free run” and produces premium juice. After the free run is complete, the wine press is turned on to get the rest of the juice. The wine grape press works as a sort of colander, straining the juice.

There is some variance in the process used for red and white wine as the seeds and skins from red grapes are the source of the wine’s color.

If you would like to see this incredibly interesting and at times quite messy process, check out our The Sexy & Sticky Side of Wine video series on the Missouri Wine YouTube channel.

Picnic Perfect with Missouri Wines

August 27, 2013

Enjoy a picnic in beautiful Missouri wine country.

During the summer, “eating out” can take on a whole new meaning. We trade indoor dining for outdoor parks, meals at the dinner table for a spread at the picnic table. And with Labor Day fast approaching, you want to be prepared! Whether your picnic adventures lead you to the Missouri wilderness or into gorgeous Missouri wine country, no one likes soggy sandwiches or wilted salads! Check out some of our suggestions below and you’ll be on your way to a great holiday picnic.

To take in the beauty of the state while picnicking at your favorite Missouri winery, be sure to look ahead and check out the winery’s policies. Some allow you to bring in your own snacks and non-alcoholic beverages, while others have delicious foods onsite for you to enjoy. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy taking in the magnificent views while snacking and sipping on fantastic wine!

If you plan on taking the family to one of the state’s wonderful parks, you’ll want to pack your basket wisely. Try one of these make-ahead salads, or these picnic-friendly sandwiches. And of course you can’t forget the dessert. To make the most our of your outdoor summer dining, be sure to pack a bottle of your favorite award-winning Missouri wine and a few plastic wine glasses. Or look for environmentally friendly wine pouches, which can hold up to six glasses!

For a warm summer day, a fruity Vignoles is a great picnic wine, and it’s food friendly. Also consider picking up a Missouri fruit wine and mixing it with lemonade, your other favorite juice or sparking wine and serving over ice for a refreshing twist on a classic.

No matter how you unpack your picnic basket, enjoy your Labor Day weekend and have fun exploring Missouri wine country!

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