1. See: How- Hold your glass against a white background in a well lit room to admire the color and clarity. Why- A wine’s color is influenced most by its age and grape variety. As they age, white wines gain color, while red wines lose color. 
  2. Swirl: How- Hold the wine in front of you, or place on a flat surface, and gently rotate it so the wine swirls around the glass. Why- Swirling helps to aerate and “open up” the wine, releasing its natural aromas. 
  3. Smell: How- Stick your nose down inside your glass and take a quick, deep inhalation. Why- Much of wine’s pleasure is the aroma, which comes from the grapes, and the bouquet, which reflects the wine making process. 
  4. Sip: How- Take a small sip, roll it around in your mouth (a little like mouthwash) and breath in a little air to release the aroma as you taste. Why- This is a pretty obvious one… because it’s delicious! 
  5. Swallow or Spit: Spitting may sounds impolite, but it’s not. In fact, it’s a very good way to taste if you are sampling many wines, and it can be done very discreetly. 
  6. Bonus “S”- Savor: Most wines have a lingering after-taste or “finish” even after you’re completed the tasting. 

The 5 basic components of a wine label and what they mean: 

  1. Producer: The winery name is often prominent and easy to find, but sometimes you have to look for small text at the top or bottom of the label. 
  2. Vintage: The vintage indicates the year the grapes were harvested. If there is no vintage listed, the wine is most likely a multi-vintage or non-vintage. 
  3. Region: The region can be as general as Missouri or American, or there may be a specific appellation listed. An appellation is a recognized wine-making region known in the U.S. as an American Viticulture Area (AVA). Missouri have 4 designated AVAs. 
  4. ABV: Alcohol by volume is required to be on wine labels, and can give you some insight into the wine’s characteristics. For example wines with a higher ABV tend to be rich and big. 
  5. Varietal: A varietal is the grape used in the making of the wine. If the name is something unique that obviously is not the name of a grape, the wine is probably a proprietary blend of grapes. 

Bonus: Estate Bottled- This designation means the grapes were grown and the wine was produced, aged and bottled by the winery listed.  

What happens to wine when you cook it? 

When you use wine in cooking, the alcohol evaporates quickly because it has a lower boiling point than water. Most recipes call for a high enough temperature long enough for the alcohol to cook out, leaving behind rich flavors. 

The easiest ways to bake with wine: 

To add flavor while lightening up a recipe, replace 1/3 to ½  the fat (oil, butter) with wine. You can also replace the water in a recipe with wine. 

Make a wine sauce to top any treat! Mix wine and sugar (3:1 ratio), bring to a boil, reduce by half, let cool. Voila! 

Baking with wine adds extra flavor and depth. 

Baking with wine is about trying something new. 

Red wine goes well with chocolate and complements flavors like berries, currants, plums, cherries, oranges, and coffee.

White wine goes well with vanilla and complements flavors like apple, peach, pear, pineapple, caramel, citrus, and melon.

Winemaker Math

  • 2 Grape Clusters = 1 glass
  • 5 glasses = 1 Bottle
  • 12 Bottles = 1 Case
  • 1 Vine = 50 grape clusters = 5 Bottles = 1 Gallon
  • 30 Gallon Barrel = 150 Bottles = 12.5 Cases
  • 1 Acre = 600 Vines = 250 cases

The best beef pairings with Norton are: 

  • Grilled beef with caramelized onions
  • French dip sandwich
  • Short ribs
  • London broil
  • Pasta Bolognese
  • Smoked brisket
  • Pepper steak
  • Pot roast

The best beef pairings with Chambourcin are: 

  • Hamburger
  • Beef on a pizza 
  • Filet with mushrooms 
  • Meat loaf
  • Beef and Swiss cheese sandwich
  • Beef lasagna

The best beef pairings with Concord are: 

  • Barbecue beef
  • Carne asada

The best beef pairings with dry rosé wines are:

  • Beef carpaccio
  • Mongolian beef
  • Philly cheese steak


The best beef pairings with sweet rosé wines are:

  • Beef in spicy Asian dishes
  • Curried beef
  • Beef franks with spicy mustard 


The best beef pairings with Chardonel are:

  • Beef with pesto pasta
  • Beef with Monterey Jack cheese on a sandwich


The best beef pairings with Vidal Blanc are:

  • Baron of beef roast
  • On fresh salad greens 

Step 1. Start with a large pitcher (or punch bowl) and a stirring utensil

Step 2. Fruit: Peel and slice your favorite fruits (1-2 cups) 

Step 3. Wine: Add 1 bottle (750mL) of your favorite Missouri wine 

Step 4. Liquor: Add ½  cup of the liquor of your choice or mix and match 

Step 5. Juice: Add ½  cup of juice – give it a good stir 

Step 6. Mixer: Add extra flavor with 1-2 cups of flavored or club soda, lemonade, ginger ale, tea

Step 7. Sugar: Sweeten it up with ½  to ¾  cup of sugar, simple syrup, honey or agave nectar 

Step 8. Pour: Select a glass and fill with ice or frozen fruit 

Step 9. Garnish & Serve: Add a fun garnish to complete your sangria such as fruit slices, mint, basil, etc. 

Left to Right – Salad Fork, Main Fork, Plate, Napkin, Knife, Spoon

Above Plate Left to Right – Dessert Spoon or Fork, Water Glass above knife, Wine glass above spoon

Catawba pairs well with these foods:

  • Tuna
  • Crab
  • Cold Cuts
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Pork Chops
  • Baby Swiss
  • Jalapeno Jack
  • Candies
  • Pecans
  • Spicy Mustard
  • Sweet Barbeque
  • Rosemary
  • Cinnamon
  • Melon
  • Grapes
  • Cherries
  • French Fries
  • Angel Food Cake
  • Ice Cream
  • Praline

Food friendly Chambourcin pairs well with these foods: 

  • Brie
  • Camembert
  • Walnuts
  • Pork loin 
  • Short ribs 
  • Sausage 
  • Burgers
  • Swordfish
  • Nutmeg
  • Clove
  • Cinnamon
  • Mushrooms 
  • Turkey
  • Pasta and red sauce
  • Applesauce
  • Figs
  • Strawberries
  • Cobbler
  • Chocolate cake

Missouri’s classic white wine pairs well with these foods:

  • Gouda
  • Monterey Jack
  • Havarti
  • Smoked Pork
  • Grilled Chicken
  • Trout
  • Halibut
  • Sea Bass
  • Rosemary
  • Tarragon
  • Basil
  • Mushrooms
  • Pesto
  • Pasta and Cream Sauce
  • Apples
  • Almonds
  • Banana Bread
  • Vanilla Pudding
  • Vanilla Cake
  • Vignoles pairs with Swiss
  • Traminette pairs with Muenster and gorgonzola 
  • Seyval blanc pairs with goat cheese, havarti, and brie
  • Vidal blanc pairs with goat cheese and mozzarella 
  • Chardonel pairs with Monterey Jack, havarti and Gouda 
  • Sweet sparkling wine pairs with Monterey Jack and havarti 
  • Dry sparkling pairs with feta 
  • Catawba pairs with pepper jack and Swiss 
  • Concord pairs with cheddar and aged cheeses 
  • Chambourcin pairs with brie and camembert 
  • Norton pairs with cheddar and bleu cheese
  • Port style dessert pairs with bleu cheese and aged cheddar 
  • Late harvest dessert wines pair with gorgonzola and Roquefort
  • Cream sherry pairs with parmesan and asiago 

The best chicken pairings with dry rosé wines are: 

  • Chicken topped with brie 
  • Chicken with light pasta
  • Chicken on a pizza 

The best chicken pairings with Catawba are: 

  • Roasted chicken 
  • Barbecue chicken
  • Chicken with spicy mustard 

The best chicken pairings with Concord are: 

  • Orange chicken
  • Chicken with cheddar 

The best chicken pairings with Chambourcin are: 

  • Chicken topped with mushrooms 
  • Chicken parmesan

The best chicken pairings with Chardonel are: 

  • Grilled chicken
  • Rosemary chicken
  • Chicken fettuccine alfredo

The best chicken pairings with Vignoles are: 

  • General Tso Chicken
  • Chicken Enchiladas
  • Chicken with chilies 

The best chicken pairings with Vidal Blanc are: 

  • Chicken sautéed in olive oil 
  • Chicken stuffed with goat cheese
  • The best chicken pairings with Seyval Blanc are: 
  • Chicken on fresh salad greens 
  • Chicken with pesto 

The best chicken pairings with Traminette are: 

  • Sweet and sour chicken 
  • Curried chicken
  • Garlic chicken 
  1. Refrigerate at 3, 2, 1: If you are able to plan ahead, you can use the 3, 2, 1 rule in the refrigerator – 3 hours for sparkling wines, 2 hours for white, rose and sweet reds, and 1 hour for semi-dry and dry reds. Many say red wine should be served at room temperature, but cellar temperature is actually the recommendation. If you keep your thermostat at 60-65 degrees, you’re good to go. If not, chilling your red for a short time will do the trick.
  2. Wet Towel + Freezer: If you put a bottle of wine in the freezer for 30-40 minutes, you can get it pretty well chilled. However, if you wrap it in a wet towel or paper towels before you put it in the freezer, it cuts the time to 20-25 minutes for a nice, chilled wine.
  3. Ice + Salt + Water: Outdoor events or just a gathering on the back patio often mean beverage tubs and ice as the way to get and keep your wine chilled. This works fine with about an hour lead time, but if you want to speed up the process, submerge your bottles in salted ice water. Adding the water spreads the cold evenly across the bottles surface. Adding salt and spinning the bottles by the neck while submerged also speeds up this tactic.

When choosing a wine and chocolate pairing, the wine should be slightly sweeter than the chocolate. 

  • White chocolate pairs well with sweet rosé and sparkling wines. 
  • Milk chocolate pairs well with sweet red and white wines. 
  • Dark chocolate pairs well with dry red wines and port. 
  • Specific Chocolate Pairings- 
  • White chocolate with macadamia nuts pairs well with sweet sparkling wine.
  • White chocolate with berries pairs well with Catawba.
  • White chocolate cheesecake pairs well with sparkling rosé. 
  • Milk chocolate with peanut butter pairs well with Concord. 
  • Milk chocolate with caramel pairs well with Traminette.
  • Milk chocolate with coconut pairs well with Vignoles. 
  • Dark chocolate with salted caramel pairs well with Chambourcin. 
  • Dark chocolate with hazelnuts pairs well with port style dessert wines. 
  • Dark chocolate with cherries pairs well with Norton.

Concord pairs well with these foods:

  • Spicy Seafood
  • Pork Chop
  • Orange chicken
  • Barbeque beef
  • Cheddar
  • Aged cheeses
  • Parmesan
  • Candied nuts
  • Vanilla Nutmeg
  • Avoid tomato sauce
  • Figs
  • Glazed carrots
  • Poached pear
  • Grape pie
  • Peanut butter
  • Truffles Ice cream

A delicious treat! 

  • Coconut macaroons + Vignoles 
  • Sugar cookies + Sparkling wine 
  • Peanut Butter Cookies + Concord
  • Snickerdoodles + Valvin Muscat 
  • Oatmeal Raisin Cookies + Chambourcin
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies + Norton
  • Shortbread Cookies + Chardonel 
  • Apple fritter + Brut Rosé
  • Boston Cream + Dry Sparkling
  • Glazed + Catawba
  • Chocolate Cake + Chambourcin
  • Sprinkles + Vignoles
  • Jam Filled + Norton
  • Maple Bacon + Chardonel
  • Chocolate Peanut Butter + Concord
  • Chocolate Bunnies 
  • Milk chocolate pairs with raspberry wine.
  • Dark chocolate pairs with Norton. 
  • White chocolate pairs with sweet sparkling wine.
  • Cadbury Crème Eggs pair with blackberry wine.
  • Peanut butter chocolate eggs pair with Concord. 
  • Jelly beans pair with Catawba. 
  • 3 Musketeers pair with Chambourcin. 
  • Marshmallow Peeps pair with Late Harvest wines. 
  • Starburst pairs with Vidal Blanc. 

If you’re looking for pairing ideas for your Easter meal, this post is perfect for you. 

  • Norton – Hamburgers
  • Chambourcin – Pulled Pork 
  • Blackberry Wine – Cotton Candy
  • Chardonel – Turkey Leg
  • Vignoles – Funnel Cake 
  • Traminette – Corn Dog 

Left to Right: Salad fork, fish fork, main fork 1, main fork 2, plate, napkin, steak knife, main knife, fish knife, salad knife, soup spoon

Above plate left to right: Bread plate and butter knife, escort card, dessert spoon & fork, water glass, sparkling flute, white wine glass, red wine glass, dessert wine glass

Nature: viticulture, grape growing 

Grape growing timeline: Bud break, flowering, fruit set, veraison (color set), ripening, harvest, crush 

Nurture: enology, winemaking

White wine process: Press, settling, alcoholic fermentation, storage (oak or unoaked), if oaked then goes on to malolactic fermentation before filtration and bottling, if not oaked there is no malolactic fermentation 

Red wine process: Crush and destem, alcoholic fermentation, aging process, malolactic fermentation, filtration, bottling 


  • Peach wine pairs well with buffalo wings, crab cakes, pulled pork, spicy cheese and summer sausage.
  • Cherry wine pairs well with pork loin, cheesecake, dark chocolate and white chocolate.
  • Blackberry wine pairs well with BBQ beef, bacon, cheddar, almonds, chocolate chip cookies and milk chocolate.
  • Apple wine pairs well with pork loin, cream cheese and snickerdoodle cookies.
  • Raspberry wine pairs well with pancakes, ham, sushi, dark chocolate and summer berry salad.
  • Blueberry wine pairs well with bacon, pancakes, peanut butter, vanilla ice cream and white chocolate.
  • Cranberry wine pairs well with turkey, mozzarella cheese and smoked cheddar.
  • Strawberry wine pairs well with fried chicken, guacamole, almonds, pound cake and chocolate chip cookies.
  • Caramel delites + Traminette
  • Lemonades + Sparkling
  • Thanks-a-Lot + Dry Vignoles
  • Shortbread + Catawba
  • Do-si-dos + Semi-Sweet Rosé
  • Peanut Butter Patties + Concord
  • Thin mints + Semi-dry red
  • Girl Scout S’mores + Norton
  • Caramel Chocolate Chip + Port Style
  • Chardonel + Candy corn
  • Norton + Dark chocolate
  • Traminette + Caramel candies
  • Catawba + Gummy worms
  • Vidal Blanc + Starbursts
  • Chambourcin + Snickers
  • Vignoles + Mounds
  • Concord + Reese’s
  • Catawba + Bacon
  • Concord + BBQ Chicken
  • Chardonel + Creamy Garlic Garden
  • Chambourcin + Deluxe
  • Norton + Sausage
  • Chambourcin + Oreos
  • Chardonel + Buttered popcorn
  • Sparkling + White chocolate covered pretzels
  • Catawba + Barbeque chips
  • Norton + Doritos
  • Concord + Peanut butter chocolate wafers
  • Traminette + Caramel corn
  • Dry Rosé + Cheez-It
  • Traminette + Brats
  • Catawba + Hot Dogs
  • Norton + Steak
  • Chambourcin + Burgers
  • Chardonel + Chicken
  • Seyval Blanc + Grilled fish
  • Vignoles + Fruit
  • Vidal Blanc + Veggies
  • $1.76 Billion annually 
  • 128 Wineries
  • 14,959 Full time jobs 
  • 1,700 Acres of grapes
  • 3 to 4 Tons of grapes per acre 
  • 1.25 Million gallons of wine produced
  • $52 Million retail value of MO wine sold

Source: The Economic Impact of Missouri Wine and Wine Grapes – 2013, a Frank, Rimerman + Co, LLP Report, Commissioned by the Missouri Wine and Grape Board. Published April 2015. 

  • Cheddar
  • Blue Cheese
  • Hazelnuts
  • Smoked Meats
  • Lamb
  • Venison
  • Beef
  • Blackened Fish
  • Garlic Sauce
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Barbecue
  • Rosemary
  • Caramelized Onions
  • Nutmeg
  • Tomato
  • Black Cherry
  • Berries
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Spice Cake

Pair your favorite takeout meals with local, award-winning wines! 

  • Chinese pairs with Chardonel
  • Pizza pairs with Chambourcin
  • Thai pairs with Vignoles
  • Indian pairs with Traminette
  • Burgers pair with Chambourcin 
  • Tacos pair with Seyval Blanc
  • Sushi pairs with Vidal Blanc
  • Gyros pair with Norton
  • Buffalo Wings pair with Catawba 
  • Missouri Wine and Pasta Pairings
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs with Norton
  • Fettuccini Alfredo with Chardonel
  • Lasagna with Chambourcin
  • Penne and Pesto with Seyval Blanc
  • Pasta Primavera with Vidal Blanc
  • Spicy Cajun Pasta with Vignoles 
  • Vidal Blanc Icewine + Apple pie
  • Traminette + Pumpkin pie
  • Blackberry wine + Key lime pie
  • Chambourcin + Peanut Butter
  • Blanc de Blanc sparkling + Blackberry pie
  • Late Harvest Vignoles + Pecan pie
  • Traminette + Banana cream pie
  • Seyval Blanc + Peach pie 
  • Vignoles + Coconut cream pie
  • Norton + Pepperoni 
  • Chamboucin + Supreme and Mushroom
  • Catawba + Barbecue Chicken 
  • Chardonel + White Pizza 
  • Vidal Blanc + Margherita 
  • Seyval Blanc + Pesto
  • Vignoles + Hawaiian
  • Chambourcin + Loaded baked potato
  • Chardonel + Movie theater butter
  • Chambourcin + Chocolate caramel
  • Traminette + Garlic parmesan
  • Port style + Cookies n’ cream
  • Concord + Signature cheddar
  • Chardonel + Bacon cheddar
  • Vidal Blanc + Caramel apple
  • Blackberry + Peanut butter
  • Chardonel + Buffalo ranch
  • Catawba + White cheddar
  • Sparkling + Butter kettle
  • Traminette + Caramel
  • Seyval Blanc + Cajun
  • Norton + Pulled pork and smoked pork
  • Chambourcin + Pork loin, ham, bratwurst and ribs
  • Concord + Pork chops, maple bacon
  • Sweet Rose + Cold cuts, sweet BBQ, spicy mustard
  • Dry Rose + BLT, sausage, on a pizza
  • Chardonel + Smoked pork, bacon
  • Vignoles + Spicy ribs, chorizo, pork belly
  • Traminette + Sweet & sour pork, andouille, Moo Shu
  • Vidal Blanc + Proscuitto
  • Seyval Blanc + Egg rolls, pancetta

Build your perfect sandwich and pair it with the ideal Missouri wine. 

Sandwich breads: 

  • French- Vidal Blanc
  • Rye- Chambourcin
  • Sourdough- Norton
  • Focaccia- Rosé
  • White and wheat breads have mild flavors and pair with most wines.

Veggies and extras: 

  • Onion- Traminette
  • Tomato- Norton
  • Lettuce- Seyval Blanc
  • Avocado- Sparkling 
  • Pickles- Vignoles 

Sliced cheese: 

  • American- Chardonel
  • Cheddar- Norton or Concord
  • Provolone- Chambourcin
  • Swiss- Vignoles 
  • Mozzarella- Vidal Blanc
  • Muenster- Traminette 

Deli meats: 

  • Roast beef- Norton
  • Turkey- Chardonel
  • Ham- Chambourcin
  • Chicken- Vidal Blanc
  • Salami- Catawba
  • Bacon- Chambourcin


  • Mustard- Traminette
  • Mayonaise- Chardonel
  • Barbecue Sauce- Concord
  • Hummus- Vidal Blanc
  • Thousand Island- Norton 

Signature Sandwich Pairings 

  • Philly Cheese Steak- Norton
  • Meatball Sub- Chambourcin
  • Classic Club- Chardonel
  • Tuna Salad- Seyval Blanc
  • Cuban- Vignoles 

Enjoy these sauces with these Wines 

  • Norton- Tomato, garlic and barbecue sauces
  • Chambourcin- Tomato sauce
  • Catawba- Spicy mustard and sweet barbecue sauce
  • Chardonel- Cream sauce and pesto 
  • Traminette- Curry and spicy Asian sauces
  • Vignoles- barbecue sauce and chutney 

Best seafood pairings with dry sparkling wines: 

  • Oysters
  • Caviar 
  • Dungeness crab
  • Tuna tartare

Best seafood pairings with sweet sparkling wines: 

  • Lobster
  • Fried shrimp 
  • Fish ‘n chips 

Best seafood pairings with Norton: 

  • Cedar plank salmon
  • Blackened fish 

Best seafood pairings with Chambourcin:

  • Swordfish
  • Soy glazed salmon
  • Seafood stew

Best seafood pairings with Catawba:

  • Spicy seafood 
  • Tuna 
  • Fish tacos 

Best seafood pairings with Chardonel: 

  • Smoked trout
  • Halibut 
  • Seabass
  • Shrimp alfredo

Best seafood pairings with Vignoles:

  • Coconut shrimp
  • Seafood curry
  • Paella 

Best seafood pairings with Vidal Blanc: 

  • Ceviche
  • Sushi
  • Crab cakes
  • Shrimp scampi
  • Lobster roll

Best seafood pairings with Seyval Blanc: 

  • Clams 
  • Scallops
  • Grilled trout

Best seafood pairings with Traminette: 

  • Cajun fish 
  • Mussels 
  • Curried shrimp

Left to right: Salad fork, main fork, plate, napkin, steak knife, knife, spoon

Above plate left to right: Dessert spoon & fork, water glass, white wine glass, red wine glass

How much to buy? Calculate based on 4-5 oz serving size which is 5-6 glasses per bottle. Factor in the number of people, the length of the event and whether there are other beverage options. 

What is the correct serving temperature? 65 degrees for reds “cellar temperature”, 55 degrees for whites “fridge cold”, 45 degrees for sparkling “ice cold”. You can achieve this with the 123 rule: reds 1 hour in the fridge, whites 2 hours and sparkling for 3 hours. Serving temperatures are a suggestion. Ultimately, personal preference is king. *Pro-tip: Treat late harvest and icewines like white wines; ports and sherries like red wines. 

Opening wine the correct, safe way: 

There are many different styles of wine openers (corkscrews) out there, but no matter which you prefer, follow these steps when opening a bottle of wine. 

  • Cut the foil underneath the lower lip of the bottle.
  • Set the screw of your opener just off center and insert, rotating straight into the cork until one curl remains. Firmly and carefully lever or pull, easing the cork out. 
  • Sparkling wine should be opened just before serving to keep as much effervescence as possible, but red and even oaky white wines can be opened in advance of serving and allowed to breath (mix with air to develop their full flavor and aroma). 
  • Pro-tip: Ever heard of “corked” wine? Wines closed with natural cork run the risk of cork taint. It won’t harm the drinker, but it doesn’t taste of smell right. Tell tale signs you wine is corked: It smells like wet dog, basement, or wet cardboard.

Take caution when opening sparkling. 

  • Safety first! Never shake a bottle of sparkling wine or point the cork in the direction of another person. 
  • Untwist and loosen the wire cage around the cork but leave it on while you are opening the bottle. 
  • Hold the bottle in one hand, the cork in the other. Twist the bottle, not the cork. 
  • Pro-tip: The pop is a lot of fun, but when you properly open a bottle of sparkling wine, you should only hear a small hiss of air. This keeps the bubbles in the wine, not the air. 

This before that: Believe it or not there is a rhyme and reason to the order in which wine is served. Dry before sweet; white before red; light before full-bodied; and young before old. 
Pro-tip: Starting with sparkling as guests arrive is a great way to make an immediate, positive impact. 

Decanting… it’s simply impressive. 

Why? Decanting wine exposes the wine to more air than opening the bottle to let it breath. 

Which wines need decanting? You can decant any wine, but the wines that really benefit from the process are full-bodied, high-tannin wines, i.e. big, bold red wines. 
How long? 5 minutes up to 2 hours.

  • Chicken
  • Trout
  • Veal
  • Veggie burgers
  • Goat cheese
  • Brie
  • Havarti
  • Almonds
  • Vinaigrette
  • Sesame
  • Garlic
  • Pesto
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Broccoli
  • Mixed greens
  • Pear tart
  • Melon
  • Citrus

We are thankful for perfect wine pairings for any holiday meal. 

How are you preparing the turkey? 

Traditional Herb Roasted Turkey pairs well with Seyval Blanc or Vidal Blanc. 

Side dish recommendations: 

  • Sage, sausage, and apple dressing
  • Roasted potatoes with rosemary
  • Mashed yams with pears, topped with almonds
  • Garlic roasted broccoli
  • Mixed greens salad with goat cheese and vinaigrette

Gourmet Brined Turkey pairs well with Vignoles or dry rosé. 

Side dish recommendations: 

  • Chorizo cornbread dressing
  • Spicy chipotle mashed potatoes
  • Candied yams with pecans
  • Green beans with shallots and red peppers 
  • Cranberry pecan salad with feta

Savory Smoked Turkey pairs well with Chambourcin or Traminette.

Side dish recommendations: 

  • Sourdough, mushroom and bacon dressing
  • Garlic mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy 
  • Roasted sweet potatoes with root vegetables 
  • Balsamic roasted Brussels sprouts 
  • Pear, walnut and bleu cheese salad

Comfort-food Deep Fried Turkey pairs well with Chardonel or Chambourcin. 

Side dish recommendations: 

  • Traditional oyster dressing
  • Au gratin potatoes with gouda
  • Sweet potato casserole with apples and almonds
  • Classic green bean casserole
  • Carrot and raisin salad

Don’t forget dessert: 

Cheesecake and sweet sparkling wine 

Pumpkin Pie and Traminette 

Apple Pie and Vidal Blanc Icewine 

Pecan Pie and Late Harvest Vignoles 

Chocolate Cake and Chambourcin

Cranberry Orange Cake and Vignoles 

  1. See: How- Hold your glass against a white background in a well lit room to admire the color and clarity. Why- A wine’s color is influenced most by its age and grape variety. As they age, white wines gain color, while red wines lose color. 
  2. Swirl: How- Hold the wine in front of you, or place on a flat surface, and gently rotate it so the wine swirls around the glass. Why- Swirling helps to aerate and “open up” the wine, releasing its natural aromas. 
  3. Smell: How- Stick your nose down inside your glass and take a quick, deep inhalation. Why- Much of wine’s pleasure is the aroma, which comes from the grapes, and the bouquet, which reflects the wine making process. 
  4. Sip: How- Take a small sip, roll it around in your mouth (a little like mouthwash) and breath in a little air to release the aroma as you taste. Why- This is a pretty obvious one… because it’s delicious! 
  5. Swallow or Spit: Spitting may sounds impolite, but it’s not. In fact, it’s a very good way to taste if you are sampling many wines, and it can be done very discreetly. 
  6. Bonus “S”- Savor: Most wines have a lingering after-taste or “finish” even after you’re completed the tasting. 
  • January- Norton Month
  • February 18- National Drink Wine Day
  • March 3- National Mulled Wine Day
  • June- Vidal Blanc Month
  • June 11- National Rose Day
  • July- Governor’s Cup Announced
  • August- Vignoles Month
  • September- Missouri Wine Month
  • November- Chambourcin Month
  • November 12- National Wine Tourism Day
  • December 31- Sparkling Wine Day
  • Pronouced Kuh-Taw-Buh
  • Often used for sweeter wines
  • 5.6% of grapes grown in MO
  • Large pinkish-blue berries
  • Looks like strawberry juice
  • Vitis Labrusca North American Grape
  • Tastes like sweet florals with a woodsy twist
  • Smells like freshly picked berries
  • Soft. Foxy. Pink. 
  • Pairings: baby swiss, Colby jack, fried chicken, BBQ Pork, Spicy mustard, sweet cherries, melon
  • 96 bearing acres in MO
  • Pronounced sham-bor-san
  • French-American Hybrid Grape
  • There are 150.4 acres of Chambourcin, accounting for 9% of all grapes grown in Missouri. 
  • Chambourcin grapes are often used to make dry to semi-sweet red and rosé wines. 
  • Chambourcin looks like violets, smells like cherries and light oak, and tastes like dark cherry meets earthiness. 
  • Chambourcin pairs well with tailgates, bonfires, pork loin, burgers, short ribs, red sauce, mushrooms, applesauce, strawberries, figs, brie, cobbler, and chocolate cake. 
  • Pronounced shar-doe-nel
  • A hybrid grape. Parents grapes are chardonnay and seyval blanc
  • Often used in dry and off-dry wines
  • Accounts for 3.9% of all grapes grown in Missouri
  • A dry white wine
  • Planted in cold climate wine territories
  • Tastes like oak barrel and citrus fruit
  • Has excellent resistance to winter frosts
  • Pairs well with gouda, Havarti, Monterrey jack cheese, almonds, smoked pork, grilled chicken, trout, halibut, rosemary, cream sauce, portabella mushrooms, basil pesto, apple and vanilla pudding
  • Smells like the inside of a barrel or a lemon, depending on the winemaker
  • Looks lemony yellow
  • Pronounced Kahn-Kord
  • Concord is a sweet red wine
  • American Vitus: Labruscana
  • Often used in semi-sweet and sweet wines
  • Concord accounts for 7% of all grapes grown in Missouri
  • Best served chilled
  • There are 120.5 bearing acres of concord grapes in Missouri
  • Tasted like candy-like sweetness
  • Smells like a jar of concord grape jelly
  • Deep-dark plum color
  • Pairs well with cheddar, aged cheeses, BBQ beef, pork chops, orange chicken, nutmeg, vanilla, poached pear, figs, grape pie and chocolate
  • Norton is also known as Cynthiana, pronounced sin-thee-ana, and is a native American grape of the vitis aestivalis family. 
  • Norton was named the official state grape of Missouri in 2003.
  • There are 351.4 acres of Norton in Missouri, accounting for 21% of all grapes grown in the state. 
  • Norton is often used to make bold, dry red wines and decadent, complex dessert wines. 
  • Norton looks like dark ink, smells like dark berries and light spices, and tastes all-American with dark fruit and spicy oak flavors. 
  • Norton pairs well with fireplaces, smoked meat, wild game, barbecue, lamb, steak dinners, blackened fish, bleu cheese, caramelized onions, tomatoes, black cherries, dark chocolate and spice cake. 
  • Pronounced [say-vahl blahnc]
  • Often used in semi-dry wines
  • 2.5% of the grapes grown
  • Light to medium bodied
  • Looks like golden white, light green
  • French-American, white hybrid grape
  • Tastes like clean, crisp pear with light spice
  • Smells like fresh herbs
  • Clean. Crisp. White. 
  • Pairings: goat cheese, almonds, mixed greens, vinaigrette, pesto, garlic, citrus, melon, pear tart
  • 41.8 bearing acres in Missouri
  • Sounds like: tra-men-et
  • Looks like: light green grass
  • Smells like: a floral arrangement 
  • Tastes like: citrus acidity with a hint of spice 
  • Feels like: light and acidic
  • Pairs well with: chicken, cream sauce, curry, and heavy seafood
  • 85.3 bearing acres in Missouri
  • Fresh. White. Floral
  • 5% of grapes grown in MO
  • Pronounced vee-dahl blahnk
  • Vidal is a French-American hybrid grape
  • Has a moderate resistance to winter frosts
  • Crisp and clean flavor
  • Vidal accounts for 8.2% of all grapes grown in Missouri
  • There are nearly 140 bearing acres of Vidal grapes in Missouri
  • It is often used in sparkling, dry white and dessert wine
  • Tastes like apple, citrus flavors or lemon and grapefruit
  • Smells like a fresh summer garden
  • Looks like straw
  • Pairs well with seafood, sushi, pine nuts, ceviche, crab cakes, chicken, broccoli, asparagus, olive oil, citrus, melon, patios and warm days
  • Pronounced veen-yole, Vignoles is a French-American hybrid grape. 
  • There are 234 acres of Vignoles in Missouri, accounting for 14% of all grapes grown in the state. 
  • Vignoles is often used to make dry to sweet white wines and late harvest dessert wines. Vignoles is often described as fruity and light. 
  • Vidal Blanc looks like sunshine, smells like a fresh cut tropical fruit, and tastes like citrus, floral and tropical flavors. 
  • Vignoles pairs well with fresh fruit, spicy food, Swiss cheese, Asian chicken, pork ribs, Mexican food, seafood curry, chilis, ginger, chutney, strawberries, apricots, crème brûlée, and cheesecake. 

Traminette pairs well with these foods:

  • Shrimp
  • Mussels
  • Trout
  • Cajun Fish
  • Sweet & Sour Pork
  • Chicken curry
  • Munster
  • Gorgonzola
  • Feta
  • Spicy Cashews
  • Spicy Asian
  • Chili powder
  • Mustard 
  • Curry
  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Fresh Fruit
  • Flan
  • Fruit tart

Vidal Blanc wine pairs well with…

  • Mozzarella
  • Herbed Goat Cheese
  • Pine Nuts
  • Ceviche
  • Chicken
  • Crab Cakes
  • Salmon
  • Shrimp
  • Sushi
  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Split Pea Soup 
  • Pasta with Light Cream Sauce
  • Butter
  • Olive Oil 
  • Citrus 
  • Melon 

Vignoles wine pairs well with these foods:

  • Spicy chicken
  • Spicy pork
  • Seafood curry
  • Mexican dishes
  • Asian dishes
  • Swiss
  • Spicy cheeses
  • Spiced pecans
  • Candied walnuts
  • Spicy barbeque
  • Buffalo sauce
  • Thai curries
  • Chutney
  • Ginger
  • Chilies
  • Thai Basil
  • Spicy peppers
  • Crème brûleè
  • Cheesecake
  • Strawberries
  • Apricots

If you prefer floral and fruity with notes of tropical fruits, your MO white wine is Vignoles, which pairs well with cheesecake and spicy food. 

If you prefer floral and fruity with notes of fresh spring flowers, your MO white wine is Traminette, which pairs well with spicy food, Asian cuisine, and seafood. 

If you prefer crisp and refreshing with notes of lemon and grapefruit, your MO white wine is Vidal Blanc, which pairs well with seafood, sushi, and mixed greens. 

If you prefer crisp and refreshing with notes of fresh herbs, your MO white wine is Seyval Blanc, which pairs well with mixed greens, citrus, and chicken. 

If you prefer rich and flavorsome with notes of apple, pear, and sometimes oak, your MO white wine is Chardonel, which pairs well with chicken, pasta with cream sauce and apples. 

White wines are best served at 55 degrees.

Keep white wine cold without watering it down by adding frozen grapes to the glass. 

Most white wines are meant to be enjoyed young, but can be aged 3-5 years. 

Wine and Cheese

Cheese is a popular and delicious pairing for wine. But with the wide variety of cheeses and Missouri wines available, how do you know what goes best with what? The good news is that there are no laws in the food and wine pairing department. Part of the fun is trying your own pairings to see what complements your palate the best. While experimentation is great, there are a few tasty recommendations and guidelines that can help steer you in the right direction.

As a general rule, red wines typically pair well with mild to sharp cheeses, and strongly flavored cheeses like bleu or gorgonzola, go well with port and late harvest (sweet) wines.

It might help to think of cheese in four different categories by texture: soft, semi-soft, semi-hard and hard.

Soft Cheese
Some examples of soft cheeses are Brie, feta, goat, mascarpone, Muenster and Neufchatel. The crisp, clean Seyval and the dry, full-bodied Chardonel are great wines to pair with softer cheeses. Missouri sparkling wine is also a good match because creamy textured cheeses tend to coat the mouth. The bubbles act as an excellent palate cleanser.

Semi-soft Cheese
Semi-soft cheeses have a texture that is just slightly harder than the soft cheeses. The most common examples are Baby Swiss, Colby, Fontina, Havarti and Morbier. Try a semi-sweet to sweet wine like Catawba with the Baby Swiss. Stick with the drier Chardonel for the Havarti. These are great snacking cheeses. Havarti is often made with chilies or other intense spices. If you’re having a spicy cheese, try a slightly more complex wine like Chambourcin.

Semi-hard Cheese
Semi-hard cheeses are less delicate than the others in the cheese family. As they age, they become more pungent. Some common semi-hard cheeses include Cheddar, Chesire, Colby-Jack, Gouda, Monterey Jack, Provolone, Roquefort and Stilton. One of the most popular pairings in the wine world is the rich Stilton with a sweet Port. The fruity white wine, Vignoles, is also a good match with these types of cheeses. Other great options are medium-bodied wines like the earthy Chambourcin and the dry, white Seyval.

Hard Cheese
And finally we arrive at the hard cheeses, which are some of the most intense in the bunch. At times affectionately deemed “stinky cheeses,” Asiago, Gruyere, Parmesan, Reggiano, Romano and Swiss fall into the hard cheese category. These strong cheeses go great with the more tannic red wines like Norton and Chambourcin. They will also pair nicely with a dry Vignoles.

Again, this is only a guide. As you have seen, there are Missouri wines that pair nicely with many different types of cheese. The possibilities are endless! The best way to find out what you like is to try new combinations. Host your own wine and cheese tasting

Host the Perfect Wine and Cheese Tasting 
What’s better than wine and cheese? Wine and cheese enjoyed with friends! Let us help you host the perfect wine and cheese tasting for an unforgettable, good time with your loved ones.

Selecting the Cheese
Keep in mind three key components when selecting the cheeses for your wine and cheese tasting: Flavor, Texture, and Aroma. You’ll want a variety of each. Soft and semi-soft cheeses such as goat, brie and havarti are popular and fairly accessible even for the less exotic cheese-lover’s palate. Don’t be scared off by particularly pungent cheese. They often don’t taste as strong as they smell. At least one aged option is a great addition to any cheese spread, and a hard cheese or two will add some exciting difference in texture.

How much is enough?
If the cheese will be the main fare for the event, plan on 4-6 ounces per person. If you plan to serve other foods or the event is after a meal (Cheese and wine make a great ‘dessert’!), you could probably get by with 2-4 ounces per person.

Choosing the Accompaniments
Cheese and wine alone are great, but adding in some interesting textures and flavors of fruit, nuts and breads can take your tasting to the next level. Offer a selection of breads and crackers alongside your cheeses in different shapes and sizes. Try jarred condiments such as spicy mustards, sweet preserves or honey, and tart chutneys for a no hassle addition. Various other sweet and salty items such as cured meats, candied nuts, olives, and dried fruits are wonderful in conjunction with a good selection of cheeses.

Pairing the Perfect Wines
Food and wine pairings are really just a suggestion. There is a high level of subjectivity and we encourage you to try some different things and find your own favorites. 

Serving Tips

Separate cheeses with strong aromas to opposite sides of the serving tray or even their own plate. Have a separate knife for each cheese and be sure the knives with the harder cheeses are up to the task. Remove the cheeses from the refrigerator 30-45 minutes before your guests are set to arrive. If the cheeses are too cold it can mute the flavors. The same can be said of the wine you are serving. Good serving temperatures for wine are 65 degrees for red wine, 55 for white wine, and 45 for sparkling wine. Label each cheese so you don't have to recite what they are over and over throughout the evening. We have created labels perfect for this purpose.

Wine and Chocolate

There are so many different ways to enjoy chocolate: cakes, cookies, ice creams, bars, truffles and soufflés, to name a few. The possibilities are endless. 


How do you even begin pairing your favorite chocolate-y treat with your favorite Missouri wine? Don’t let the diverse selection intimidate you. There are a few solid, basic rules to know that will guide you to getting the most from your wine and chocolate pairing.

First things first: The chocolate should never be sweeter than the wine it accompanies. 

Chocolates that have a higher percentage of cacao often go best with a dry, red wine like Norton or a spicy Chambourcin. If you are purchasing bars of chocolate for eating or cooking, don’t let the typical “dark chocolate” label trick you. A lot of dark chocolates still tend to be on the sweet side. Check the percentage of cacao and sugar on the label and move forward accordingly. 

For a more savory chocolate dessert, try a flourless chocolate cake. Substitute semisweet chocolate chips with locally made dark chocolate, pop open a bottle of Missouri Norton, and you’re set.

If you have a sweet tooth, stick with sweet wines. Seems pretty simple, right? Chocolate candy, truffles and ice cream go great with the sweet and fruity Concord or medium-bodied Catawba. 

Vignoles is a diverse Missouri varietal that is often delicious as a late-harvest dessert wine. Try it with a rich, chocolate cheesecake or easy-to-make chocolate chip cookies. If you’re feeling adventurous, try baking your own chocolate soufflés, which pair perfectly with the semi-dry Seyval Blanc.

Of course, you don’t have to be an outstanding pastry chef to benefit from these suggestions. Next time you are eating out with friends, remember these tips when it’s time to order dessert with your favorite glass of Missouri wine!

What’s that smell? 

All of the aromas found in wine can be grouped into four main categories: Fruit, earth, wood, and other. 

Fruit aromas found in white wine: 

  • Citrus: lemon, lime, orange, tangerine, grapefruit
  • Exotic: stone fruits, pineapple
  • Subtle: apple, pear

Fruit aromas found in red wine: 

  • Red fruits: red cherries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries
  • Black fruits: black cherries, blueberries, blackberries, black currants 

Earth: The French term terroir means “sense of place”. That’s what imparts the aromas in this category. 

  • Fresh cut grass
  • Earthy: describes aromas reminiscent of the earth (i.e. soil, mushrooms, truffles and the like)
  • Minerality: a descriptor for aromas and flavors that are difficult to describe… the meeting point of dry and wet (i.e. slate, flint and wet stone)

Wood: Aging wine in oak barrels imparts unique characteristics and aromas such as spice, toast, tobacco, caramel, cedar, and vanilla. 

Oak from different areas imparts distinct aromas. French and American oak are popular. 


  • Butter: The aroma of butter can be found in white wines that go through a secondary process called malolactic fermentation.
  • Flowers: Floral smells can be found in both red and white wines. 
    • Rose, lily, violet, geranium, honeysuckle, lavender, citrus blossom 
  • Others: meat, leather, herbs 

Tasting is smelling. We only “taste” sweet, sour, salt, bitter, and umami (savory), The other details we taste are aromas or smells. So, for instance, when we are tasting blackberries, we are actually getting part of that sensation with our olfactory sense.

Unwanted aromas in wine: Wet dog/newspaper- these smells can indicated the presence of TCA, aka cork taint. There isn’t a fix for a corked wine; just open a new bottle! 

Would you like to make a wine marinade?

Marinades are comprised of:

  • Acid (wine)
    • Acidic components in a marinade tenderize meats and impart flavor.  The more acid, the more tender.  Overnight marinades work best with low acid wines
  • Fat (oil)
    • In addition to the classic olive oil and butter, there are many kinds of fat to choose from in y9our marinade.  Consider flavor and smoke point when selecting oils. 
  • Herbs + aromatics
    • Herbs and aromatics impart vegetal, floral, fruity and earthy characteristics.
  • Spice
    • Spices can add heat, baking aromas, and enhance savory, unami flavors.

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