Simple Hallow-wine cork craft ideas

Use the collection of corks you've been saving to make these easy decorations for Halloween! You'll only need a few things to create this cork art - which is perfect for decorating your home or office space during this fall season. 

Things you'll need:

  • Corks (both wine and sparkling)
  • Paint (black and a variety of other colors of your choice)
  • Paint Brushes (in several sizes, small helps with the fine details)
  • Black Pipe Cleaners
  • Wire & wire working tools (wire cutter, needle nose pliers)

Get inspired with these two crafts

Cork Spiders

 Use a plain cork or paint one black as the base of your spider. Wrap four pipe cleaners around the base and twist in the middle until you have four legs to each side. This easy and cute set of spiders is perfect for decorating a small space or even on your pumpkin decor. 


Spooky cork characters

Pick out several corks left over from your Missouri wine and sparkling wine to create a full cast for your Halloween decor. Paint each one individually to create an array of spooky art. From pumpkins and skeletons to Frankenstein and Jack O' Lanterns, each character adds something different to the final art. You can also take orange and green colored wire and wrap around your cork of choice to create a pumpkin, and complete it with a stem. This wire art allows you to display the names of your favorite wineries within your holiday decor. Decorate with the corks as ornaments on a Halloween tree, string them together to use as spooky garland or feature them in your favorite glassware to display your cork creations.

Cork crafting is great all year round! Hope these Hallow-wine ideas elevate your decor, while also recycling cork and supporting local businesses. Share your finished products with us on social media by tagging @missouriwine and #missouriwine.

Dos & DON’Ts of storing wine

The way you store your wines at home can greatly impact the way it tastes and smells when it’s finally time to enjoy it. Watch these quick and easy storage tips to keep your favorite Missouri wines fresh.


White Wine Carnitas

If you love convenient cooking with few ingredients and tossing things into your Instant Pot, then this carnita recipe is for you. This recipe offers the perfect mix of sweet and spicy for Mexican pulled pork to serve as a traditional pork taco or load up a pile of chips for some tasty nachos. The best part, throw just three ingredients into your pressure cooker and be amazed at the tender and flavorful result.

Serves: 8

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes


4 lb pork – we recommend using pork butt/shoulder

1 c white wine + additional (we used a semi-sweet Vignoles to offer a splash of sweet citrus)

1 large lime

3 packets Fajita seasoning (or make your own with your choice of spices)


  1. Cut pork into 2-inch pieces and add to cooker.
  2. Juice lime and add to pressure cooker. Cover pork in seasoning and add wine. Stir to evenly coat the pork.
  3. Close the pressure cooker. Cook on “Meat” mode for 45 minutes on high pressure.
  4. Release pressure with care once complete. Remove pork and shred/pull with forks to get desired consistency.
  5. Crisp the pulled pork on medium-high heat in a skillet adding 2-3 tablespoons of additional wine and cook for 3-5 minutes.
  6. Remove carnitas and serve.

Ideas for serving Carnitas or Pork Nachos:

  • Offer up your favorite garnishes like: cheese, pickled onions, guacamole, cilantro, salsa, sour cream, queso, etc.
  • Crisp your corn or flour tortillas for about 30 seconds each side in a hot skillet.
  • Pour a glass of leftover wine to enjoy with the finished dish.

We hope you enjoy this savory and simple 3-ingredient carnita recipe! Share your finished results with us on social media by tagging @missouriwine or #MissouriWine.


The Perfect Portion

With every pour of Missouri wine, a new experience awaits! By learning about the perfect portion, you can optimize each glass’s aromas and unique attributes. Here’s a few tips to ensure confidence in each pour:

Practice makes perfect – Avoid an over indulgent pour. The recommended serving size of wine is 4 to 6 ounces. Utilize your favorite glassware at home and start first with a measuring cup. Six ounces of liquid is 3/4 cup. Measure out 3/4 cup of water and pour it into your favorite glass. Take note of where the water lands, and try it with your favorite Missouri wine. To get instant feedback, measure your wine and pour in a measuring cup to see how close you are.

Beware of illusions – Most wine glasses can hold much more than the perfect serving size. In some cases, glassware can hold up to 22 ounces (nearly an entire bottle of wine) when the perfect pour is between 4-6 ounces. These large tulip glassware shapes are designed to accentuate each sip by making each wine’s aroma and bouquet more prominent. Provide the best experience for you and your guests by not filling your glass to the brim.  

Glass half full – Most wine glassware, regardless of shape, will only be 1/3 to 1/2 full with the recommended portion. Often, the perfect pour lands at the broadest part of the glass, but this can vary based on the selection of the glassware. (Excludes sparkling flutes)

Capture the aromas – Part of the reason wine should not be poured to the rim of glassware is due to necessary space above the wine in the glass. This void allows the aromas and bouquet of each wine to remain for sensory enjoyment. By aerating your ideal sized pour, you’ll discover an enhanced tasting experience.

Simple fractions – With the standard wine bottle holding 750 ml of wine, or around 25 ounces, you should get five 5-ounce servings from every bottle. Visualizing 1/5 of the bottle while you pour each serving can help you hand-pour the perfect portion.

Just dessert – While most wines’ standard serving size is between 4-6 ounces per pour, dessert wines have a smaller serving size since most are higher in alcohol content. The suggested serving of dessert wine is 2 ounces.

Practice makes perfect. Follow us on social media @missouriwine for more helpful information to elevate your wine experience. 

Winemaker’s Way: Bridgette Bennett

Brix Urban Winery and Market in Sainte Genevieve, Missouri opened in October of 2020. In spirit of celebrating their upcoming second anniversary, Bridgette Bennett, winemaker and co-owner, jokes often of surviving “the apocalypse.” The pandemic certainly didn’t hold this growing, small business back.

Opening the winery and market was Bennett’s idea for “retirement.” After a lifelong career as an innovation scientist in the corporate industry, creativity is engrained in her identity. Her degree in chemistry from Southeastern Missouri State University led Bennett to enter the food industry where she created flavor profiles for a large quantity of food and beverage products. This career allowed Bennett to hone aromas, textures, flavors and sensory information and develop which ones complemented each other best in an end product. She was passionate about her role and when it came time to retire, she knew she wanted to invest her time and creativity in a new venture that allowed her to keep using these skills.

Although Brix Urban Winery and Market has only been open a couple years, Bennett has been home brewing for most of her life. She enjoys creation in all forms from beer, ciders, meads and more. A goal in her new role is to broaden people’s definition of wine.

“Wine can be made from more than grapes,” Bennett says. “There are more than 300 varieties of honey in the U.S. that can be utilized to create all sorts of unique flavors.”

Brix Urban Winery took home a gold medal from the 2022 Missouri Wine Competition for their Traditional Dry Wildflower Mead. This honor reflects that goal, showing quality can be found parallel in both meads and wines alike. She sources all of her honey from a local beekeeper with a wide selection of honey varieties with hives located only five blocks away.

Outside of the winery and market is a large quantity of wildflowers and pollinator-friendly plants. Their outdoor space is perfect for bees, butterflies and other flying insects, with possibility of the same “visitors” travelling between the winery and the hives. Bennett says she wants the product to be as local as possible and sees this space as a way to support these important pollinators.

Bennett’s favorite part of her role as winemaker is the ability to experiment and create. For every new product, it takes six to ten versions of test batches to reach the end result. She makes meads that range in sweetness from very dry to very sweet (just like grape wines.) She uses high quality whole spices in her ingredients to give the highest quality and complex natural flavor to each product she makes. Bennett proudly clarifies that there are no extracts, preservatives or artificial flavors. Her products are natural and offer a unique and elevated experience.

These meads and ciders can be found on tap in their tasting room. Bennett believes these urban products are for the future. The menu changes often, based on what local products are readily available to use in each beverage creation. There are a few offerings have a lower alcohol content, which is a great option for patrons to experience and sample more of the product on tap.

People from near and far visit to fill their growlers with mead and more. This portable approach welcomes those who might not have a flexible schedule, yet still want to enjoy what Brix has to offer. It is hard to keep the smaller batches in stock, so when flavors are released it is recommended you visit early and often to ensure you have access to each unique batch.

Logistics are similar to grape wine production, for example mead is fermented and can be aged in various barrels. At Brix, they are created in 150-gallon and 35-gallon batches. However, creativity expands with the number of honey varieties. These allow a huge range of flavors (and flavor combinations) from orange blossom to roasted marshmallow, or vanilla cold brew to bold citrus.

The ability to create is endless. This is what Brix’s Bridgette Bennett likes most about her job as winemaker.

Brix Urban Winery and Market is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Visit their tasting room and share your experience with us on social media by tagging #missouriwine and @missouriwine.

Just pour to turn ordinary to extraordinary

Enjoying a bottle of Missouri wine is the perfect way to unwind, celebrate, make friends and countless memories. Once the memories are made but the bottle is empty, there are many ways to hang onto that bottle (or cork) and create a constant reminder of the fun times had over a glass of your favorite Missouri wine. Here are a few of our favorite ways to turn empty bottles and used corks into practical or decorative pieces in your home.

Wine Bottle Succulent Planter

Do you have a passion for plants and wine? This fun-to-make planter is a beautiful way to showcase your empty wine bottles and grow succulents in your home or outside on the patio. Find the necessary materials and a step-by-step guide here.

Cork Ball Décor

With a few materials and a little patience, you can create this unique piece with your stock-pile of old corks. Get ready to hear many compliments on the simple beauty this cork décor will bring to any space. Grab your materials, watch the video and get crafty with your corks. Find instructions here.

Wine Bottle Tiki Torches

Keep the bugs at bay and add an elegant touch to your outdoor entertaining space. This quick upcycle DIY project is both practical, decorative and perfect for the wine lover who also loves the outdoors. Learn how to do-it-yourself here.

Upcycled Hanging Vase

Only 5 steps stand between you and this simple yet elegant wine bottle vase hanger. The best part, once you have the hanger built, you can swap out a different wine bottle if you choose. Find all the details and how-to guide here.

Cork Magnets

Turn your corks into practical (and fun) magnets to use on the refrigerator. Have some fun with it by adding faux succulents, flowers and more to give it your personal creative touch. Find inspiration and a list of materials here.

Oil and Vinaigrette Bottles

Empty wine bottles serve as the perfect vessel to use as oil and vinaigrette dispensers in the kitchen. With just a handful of materials, and some paint if you choose, you can have a set of your own and repurpose your favorite empty bottles.

Give these do-it-yourself projects a go and hang onto the memories created around your favorite Missouri wines. Tag us in your favorite projects on social media by using #MissouriWine or @missouriwine.

Augusta Winery’s 2022 Best of Class Wines

Washington, Missouri native Collin Pennington was always familiar with the Augusta region and its well-known wines. Never did he guess he would be the head winemaker for four of the wineries in the area. This American Viticultural Area (AVA) was founded in 1980 and was the first designated AVA region in the U.S. Everyone from locals to tourists, and from bicyclists to motorcyclists enjoy the rolling hills, beautiful views and winning wines.

In this year’s Missouri Wine Competition, Augusta Winery took home the largest number of Best of Class medals. Taking home one fourth of the Best of Class wines awarded, Pennington is proud of the outcome and knows the value of entering the competition each year. Experienced judges hailing from across the country blindly evaluated more than 240 wines this year, alluding the quality found in these Best of Class wines created at Augusta Winery.

Winning Wines

2021 Vidal Blanc Estate Bottled 12% ABV

Best of Class Semi-Dry White

Explore this crisp and refreshing white wine featuring a toasty, floral bouquet. Tightly knit fruit flavors are complemented with a spicy finish.

Pennington enjoys growing Vidal Blanc and is proud of making this vintage. He said the grapes harvested for this specific wine were very clean and great fruit off the vine. This allowed the grape to shine during processing and winemaking. He notes he had fun creating this winning wine.

2021 Vignoles 12% ABV

Best of Class Sweet White

With a vibrant pineapple and tropical bouquet, this vintage is flavorful and enjoyed by many. It is fresh and crisp, yet rounds out with a slightly sweet finish.

Vignoles is one of the most versatile grapes grown in Missouri and can be made into wines ranging from dry to sweet. Pennington loves to make several varieties of Vignoles and enjoys the creativity this grape gives him as a winemaker. Although Vignoles is more temperamental in the vineyard, Pennington says it all pays off when people enjoy the range of wines created from this varietal.

River Valley Blush 10% ABV

Best of Class Sweet Rosé

This white Catawba-based wine has a rich bouquet, crisp acidity and bright, sweet flavor to finish. Can be enjoyed as an aperitif or as a dessert wine.

The Augusta River Valley series is well-known and enjoyed by Missouri wine enthusiasts. This rosé is blended with white Catawba and supplemental Augusta Winery red wine to produce its unique color and sweet, yet light flavor.

2021 Icewine 11% ABV

Best of Class Late Harvest/Ice Wine

Bold fruit flavors of peach, apricot, pineapple, pear and honey cover your palate with a long and rich finish. This concentrated dessert wine is rare and produced in limited quantities. Delight in this wine chilled with dessert or as the main treat itself.

This Late Harvest/Ice Wine is uniquely made. Grapes are harvested from the vine at 32°F. These frozen grapes are pressed, creating a more concentrated juice flavor. This high sugar and high acid wine is laborious to make but very worthwhile. Pennington used Vidal Blanc to create this vintage and he appreciates the ability to produce unique wines like this.

Four wineries & the future

In addition to Augusta Winery, Pennington creates wines for Montelle Winery, Mount Pleasant Winery and Balducci Winery. From three of the four wineries, 14 wines received gold medals in this year’s Missouri Wine Competition. Future goals for these wineries include entering wines from all four into future competition, as well as continuing consistent quality for Missouri wine enthusiasts.

Visit the nation’s first AVA, try these winning wines and share your travels through Missouri wine country with us by tagging #missouriwine and @missouriwine.

Fall Events in Wine Country (2022)

Fall is one of the best seasons to enjoy the sips, sights and sounds in Missouri wine country. Welcome these experiences over the next couple of months and enjoy your time at Missouri wineries.

Note: this is not a complete list of all Missouri wine country events. Stay tuned into the event calendar for additional events this fall and look to your local wineries for fun upcoming activities.


September 17

Live Music at Stone Hill Winery

Soak up the sights and sounds of live music on the hillside at Stone Hill Winery and take in the scenic view of their Norton Vineyard from 1:00 to 5:00 PM.

Carrollton, MO “Sippin’ on the Square”

Purchase tickets online or the day of the event and enjoy a day of wine tastings in Carrollton. Learn more here.                        

September 23 - 24

Windy Wine Company's Fall Fiesta
Windy Wine Company and Long Line Distillery are celebrating fall with street tacos, Lucha and live music. Food will be served beginning at 6 PM. Exhibition Lucha matches are from 5-7 PM followed by live music by Ester Laurie Rardo. Drink specials will be offered on both wine and whiskey all day. 

Annual Balloon Glow at Chaumette Vineyards & Winery

This annual event welcomes guests for a fun weekend filled with delicious wines and foods. Go experience the fun from September 23 to 24. Find more information on the event here.

Bluegrass in the Hollow at Dale Hollow Winery

Enjoy classic bluegrass tunes from “Out on a Limb” while enjoying the outstanding wine lineup at Dale Hollow Winery in Stover. Join them from 2 – 5 PM.

October 1

Hermannhof Winery

Enjoy fabulous wines and live music at Hermannhof Winery every Saturday and Sunday during the month of October.

Live Music at Stone Hill Winery

Enjoy live music on the hillside at Stone Hill Winery and take in the scenic view of their Norton Vineyard from 1:00 - 5:00 PM.

October 2

Harvest Party and Tailgate Style BBQ Cookoff at Dale Hollow Winery

Witness a classic BBQ competition between “Harvest Helpers” at the winery. Join them for yard games and samples from 12 – 4:30 PM.

October 8

Hollister Grape & Fall Festival in Hollister, MO

Enjoy a fun-filled day for family and friends of all ages from 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. Learn more here.

Annual Missouri’s Best 2022 Wine + Brews Stroll in the Park

From 1:00 – 4:00 PM you can enjoy a variety of samples from wineries, breweries and distilleries. Find more information here.

Live Music at Stone Hill Winery

Don’t miss live music from Tim Woodson on the hillside at Stone Hill Winery and take in the scenic view of their Norton Vineyard from 1:00 - 5:00 PM. 

October 22

8th Annual Clinton Wine Stroll

Take the chance to sample a variety of wines, shop retail stores and experience the beauty of downtown Clinton from 1:00 – 5:00 PM. Find additional details here.

October 29

Live Music at Stone Hill Winery

Take advantage of the chance to hear live music from Chelsey James on the hillside at Stone Hill Winery and take in the scenic view of their Norton Vineyard from 1:00 - 5:00 PM.

Tag us in your Missouri wine country adventures this fall on social media @Missouriwine and #MissouriWine.

What wine is for you

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Concord harvest is full of big love (and a little labor)

Follow the gravel road on East First Street in Stover to the warm and welcoming vineyards in Dale “Hollow”. The woody and natural aesthetic of the winery, unique wine names, even down to their font they use, is aligned with brothers Asher and Jesse Dale’s experience during their youth with The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. This interest, shared by their mother Beth, was something that united their family and still cherish today through their winery. The escape found in these novels is certainly parallel to the haven found for many at Dale Hollow Winery.

The winery is a very special place for many locals and family friends. There are loyal visitors who come back to enjoy this peaceful space with the help of their Missouri-made wines. When it is time to harvest any of their varietals, these loyal friends show up and hustle, without missing a beat. No matter the weather, or time of day, count on the grapes being picked when this crew is summoned. As Beth Dale said while harvesting, “it truly is a labor of love.” Their loyal community is as tried and true as the Concord grape. They care about the family, as well as the product because they consistently enjoy it year-round. One harvester joked an important follow up job was their “quality control.”

About an acre of Concord was picked on Saturday, September 3, 2022 with the help of about 20 friends, family and local connections. Ages ranged from youth to senior, yet enthusiasm was present across the board. Action at the vine began at 7 A.M., accompanied with a beautiful layer of fog. As the temperature rose throughout the morning, the fog’s moisture settled on the berry colored grapes. Colors ranged from candied purple to a few greens in between. Harvest was imperative as many of these clusters had ripened and began to naturally fall from the vines. There is always a race to harvest Concord as it ripens, especially when birds can easily beat the hand harvesters to their vines.

Post-harvest, the Brix (sugar content) was lower than expected due to an unexpected rain the day prior. The average number was 13, when their aim was 15-17. However, this can be fixed as most concord wines never reach the ideal number of Brix without being devastated by pests and birds. Concord is an easy-going varietal that is hardy and rings true to the characteristics of vitis labrusca (or native American grapes.)

The harvest crew leaves the vineyard and winery with full bellies and full hearts, with the help of Katy’s breakfast. Although it is hard work, these volunteers are crucial to the success of this local winery. Several harvesters noted it was their first year helping, while many others have been at every varietal harvest since the beginning. Every level of experience is welcome and appreciated in the “Hollow” vineyards.

All of Missouri wines produced across the state are family owned operations. Families may have expanded to include community members, and those working in the wine and grape industry, but all hands circle back to the integrity and care taken to produce world-class grapes and wine.

Welcome the experience of harvest this fall by keeping an eye out while enjoying wine country, or even volunteering to help harvest at your local winery. Share your experiences with us on social media by tagging #missouriwine and @missouriwine.

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