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Anatomy of a Wine Label

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.  

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Baking With Wine

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.

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Beef and Wine Pairing

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 

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Build Your Best Sangria

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. 

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Chambo and Food

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 

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Chambourcin Pairing

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. 

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Chardonel: Missouri’s Classic White Wine

Have you met Missouri Chardonel?
Pronounced shar-doe-nel
Chardonel is a hybrid grape.
It accounts for 8% of all grapes grown in Missouri, 140 acres.
Often made in a dry or off dry style.
Looks like: Lemony yellow
Smells like: the inside of a barrel or lemon depending on the winemaker
Tastes like: oak barrel and citrus fruit
Pairs well with: Monterey jack, havarti, gouda, almonds, smoked pork, grilled chicken, trout, halibut, potabella, mushrooms, rosemary, cream sauce, basil pesto, apple, vanilla pudding

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Chardonel Facts

Things to know about chardonel:

  • Pronounced shar-doe-nel
  • A hybrid grape. Parents grapes are chardonnay 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

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Chardonel and Food

Missouri’s classic white wine pairs well with these foods:
Monterey Jack
Smoked Pork
Grilled Chicken
Sea Bass
Pasta and Cream Sauce
Banana Bread
Vanilla Pudding
Vanilla Cake

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Cheese and Wine Pairing

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 

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Chicken and Wine Pairing

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 

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Chocolate and Wine

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.

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Cookies and Wine Pairing

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 

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Easter Candy and Missouri Wine

Easter Candy and Missouri Wine 

  • 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. 

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Economic Impact Inforgraphic

$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. 

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Fair Food Pairing

Norton – Hamburgers

Chambourcin – Pulled Pork 

Blackberry Wine – Cotton Candy

Chardonel – Turkey Leg

Vignoles – Funnel Cake 

Traminette – Corn Dog 

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From the Vine to Wine

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 


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Fruit Wine and Food Pairings
  • 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.


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Fruit Wine Infographic

Sip: Fruit wines are a delicious treat; great for sipping on their own or paired with your favorite dessert. 

Mix: Shake up the conventional cocktail by using fruit wine. Add a twist to your mix! 

Cook: Make a delectable sauce using Missouri fruit wine or take your baked goods to the next level. 

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Holiday Dessert Pairing

Pair your favorite holiday desserts with Missouri wines!

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

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Missouri Norton + Food = A perfect pair!

Norton pairs well with these foods:

  • 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

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Missouri Wine and Soup Pairings

Norton + Vegetable Beef Soup

Chardonel + French Onion Soup 

Chambourcin + Tomato Soup 

Seyval Blanc + Broccoli Cheese

Vidal Blanc + Potato Soup 

Traminette + Split Pea Soup 

Vignoles + Tortilla Soup 

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Must-try MO Wines of 2015

Drum roll please… and the winners of the 2015 MO Wine Competition are: 

  1. Governor’s Cup Award for Best Overall- 2014 Vignoles, St. James Winery – St. James
  2. CV Riley Award for Best Norton- 2013 Savage Norton, Chandler Hill Vineyards – Defiance 
  3. Best of Class Sparkling- Brut Rosé, Stone Hill Winery – Hermann 
  4. Best of Class Dry White: Dry Vignoles, Adam Puchta Winery – Hermann
  5. Best of Class Sweet White: 2013 Vignoles, Stone Hill Winery – Hermann
  6. Best of Class Dry Red: 2012 Chambourcin, Stone Hill Winery – Hermann
  7. Best of Class Semi-Dry Red: 2013 Steinberg Red, Stone Hill Winery – Hermann
  8. Best of Class Sweet Red: Stone House Red, Montelle Winery – Augusta
  9. Best of Class Rosé: Dry Rosé, Stone Hill Winery – Hermann
  10. Best of Class Fruit Wine: Raspberry, Windy Wine Company – Osborn
  11. Best of Class Late Harvest/Icewine: 2013 Vidal Ice Wine, Stone Hill Winery – Hermann
  12. Best of Class Dessert/Fortified: Cream Sherry, Stone Hill Winery – Hermann


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Norton Pairing

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. 

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Pairing Takeout with MO Wines

Takeout and Missouri Wine Pairings 
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 

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Pasta Possibilities with Missouri Wine

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 

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Pizza and MO Wine

Norton + Pepperoni 

Chamboucin + Supreme and Mushroom

Catawba + Barbecue Chicken 

Chardonel + White Pizza 

Vidal Blanc + Margherita 

Seyval Blanc + Pesto

Vignoles + Hawaiian

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Sandwich Pairing

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 


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Sauce Pairing

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 

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Seafood and Wine Pairing

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


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Serving Wine Survival Guide

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.

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Thanksgiving Pairing Guide

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 

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The 5S Tasting Method
  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. 


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The MO Wine Lover’s Calendar

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

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Things to Know About Concord
  • 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

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Things to Know About Vidal Blanc
  • 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

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Top 10 Gifts for Winelovers
  • Wine is the perfect gift for any wine lover: Wine club membership, gift baskets
  • For the wine and book lovers: “Rook Cooks” or “Missouri River Country”
  • For the wine and food lovers: Wind & Willow gourmet food mixes, Get Drizzled custom wine drizzles 
  • Wine accessories: Custom wine charms from Envisage Vintage Jewelry, Swirl Decanter from Riedel Crystal 
  • For the wine and chocolate lovers: Norton truffles from The Candy Factory, Chocolate Hazelnut Spread from Askinosie Chocolate

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Vidal and Food

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 

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Vidal Pairing

Have you met Missouri Vidal Blanc? 

Pronounced vee-dahl blahnc, Vidal Blanc is a French-American hybrid grape. 

There are 110 acres of Vidal Blanc in Missouri, accounting for 7% of all grapes grown in the state. 

Vidal Blanc is often used to make sparkling, dry white, and dessert wines. Vidal is often described as crisp and clean. 

Vidal Blanc looks like straw, smells like a fresh summer garden, and tastes like apple and citrus flavors of lemon and grapefruit. 

Vidal Blanc pairs well with patios, warm days, seafood, sushi, mozzarella, pine nuts, ceviche, crab cakes, chicken, broccoli, asparagus, olive oil, citrus fruits, and melon. 

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Vignoles Pairing

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. 

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White Wine Infographic

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. 

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Wine and Food Pairing 2014

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!

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Wine Aromas

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! 

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