Behind the Label: Edg-Clif's Vintage Barn Series
August 09, 2021
Edg-Clif cares about its roots and not just those that nourish the grapevines at the Potosi, Missouri, vineyard, winery and brewery. Currently, the third and fourth generations care for the land, which has been a family farm for nearly a century. Edg-Clif Vineyard, Winery and Brewery owners Steffie Knapp Littlefield and Cyndy Knapp Keesee were raised on the property. The sisters spent their formative years working and playing among the farm's many barns and buildings.
Steffie and Cyndy's grandfather, Andrew S. Knapp, purchased the property in 1926. Since then, the land served as a hunting retreat, a purebred Hereford cattle ranch, a pasture for bison and today's vineyard, winery and brewery. While the use of the land may have changed over the generations, Edg-Clif has always been an authentic Missouri family farm. To pay homage to their family's roots and the land, Edg-Clif Vineyard, Winery and Brewery created the Vintage Barn label series, which garnered the Missouri Wine Label Competition's Best Wine Series award.
The award-winning labels were created by Steffie's daughter, Katie Knapp Littlefield. Like Edg-Clif itself, the designs hope to highlight the family's farm and the rich history of the property surrounding the vineyard. Even the logo has a connection to the farm's past, as the log-inspired typography was created as the brand for the family's cattle ranch in the 1930s; at the same time, they dropped the 'e' and 'f' from the farm's name
When tasked with building a brand for the family's winery, Katie, who has spent her career working in global branding agencies, looked to the farm itself for inspiration and began using photography of the numerous barns, cottages and outbuildings to grace the bottles and labels. The resulting labels were not only eye-catching, but conversation-starting as patrons found themselves pulled into the nearly hundred years of family history with each sip.
"When you come to the tasting room and meet Cyndy, Steffie or anyone in the family who's there, you really get the whole story around the farm and that property," Katie says. "It's really a joy for us to share those stories, as well as connect people with where the wine is grown. We have a beautiful vineyard amongst all this history."
These anecdotes come naturally as Edg-Clif wines are paired not only with recommended flavors to enjoy while taking a sip but also a piece of the property's history. For example, a bottle of Sunset semi-sweet blush wine is perfect for a summer evening barbecue, just as the family's barn pictured on the label is the perfect place to watch the sun dip below the Ozark mountain skyline.
The stories behind the labels are often traded in the tasting room and during winery tours, which family members have hosted since the winery opened its doors a decade ago. Although the use of the family farm has changed over the years, the family aspect has not. Each member of the Knapp Littlefield and Knapp Keesee families brings their talents and expertise to the winery. As Steffie jokes, "Cyndy makes the wine, and I make the grapes."
Steffie's degree in horticulture and agriculture gives her the expertise to care for the family's vines before Cyndy creates the wine. Of course, Katie is the in-house marketing specialist. Cyndy's husband, Girard, keeps all the winery's machinery and equipment in top order. Steffie's husband, Stephen, manages the facilities, grounds and rental cottages. Cyndy's daughter, Rachael, brews the family's craft beers, and Steffie's daughters, Carolyn and Maggie, helped rehab all the rental houses. That's not to mention all the extended family, friends and volunteers who help during busy times, such as harvest and bottling.
Edg-Clif's strong family ties make it family-friendly. Children arriving in-tow to the tasting room are often greeted with a popsicle. The winery, vineyard and brewery is also picnic-friendly, making it the perfect place to stop after outdoor adventures in the Ozarks.
At the end of the day, Edg-Clif Vineyard, Winery and Brewery stands out because of their striking labels, award-winning wines, scenic vistas and unique spins on Chambourcin, but most importantly their authenticity. Edg-Clif has been a family farm for nearly 100 years and four generations. Today, it stands as a testimony of Missouri agriculture and its impact on the Knapp family and the community surrounding them.
As Cyndy says, "We're always going to be a farm, and now, we're also a winery. It's worked out beautifully."
Be sure to seek out the Vintage Barn series during your next visit to Edg-Clif Vineyard, Winery & Brewery.