Van Till: The Postcard Perfect Dream
August 17, 2020
The Van Tills left California nearly 20 years ago with a postcard-perfect dream of a farm-to-table winery in the Midwest. Today, Van Till Family Farm Winery in Rayville, Missouri, stands as proof that dreams do come true with hard work, and their beautiful labels serve as postcards for this destination winery.
When Cliff and Debbie Van Till left northern California, they wanted to plant roots in an area where they could establish a sustainable, viable farming operation. They raised organic vegetables and almonds on their Golden State farm, and sold produce and baked goods at San Franciscan farmers' markets. Still, it was Missouri's wineries that caught their eye.
Debbie had been making homemade wines for years – even before the couple was married. So, a winery seemed like a natural fit for the couple's talents, especially in a state with robust wine culture and infrastructure like the Show-Me State. However, good things take time, and the Van Tills began their new life by selling baked goods at Kansas City's City Market under the name of Rayville Baking Company.
In 2005, the Van Tills began to develop their Rayville property, constructing what is now their winery building. And, in April of 2006, Van Till Country Market was open for business stocked with baked goods, canned farm products, charcuterie, plants, produce and flowers. One month later, they planted their first vines and waited.
The first Van Till vintage was bottled in 2009, and over the last 11 years, the couple and their team have crafted more than 30 different wines. Through their winery, Cliff and Debbie have used their many skills. Their baking now serves as the foundation of their famous wood-fired oven pizzas, and their farm produce and charcuterie serve as farm-to-table pizza toppings. Debbie's green thumb and Master Gardener skills nurture the winery's expansive gardens and provide guests with a peaceful and pristine surrounding.
Today, Van Till wines are only available at the winery, making Van Till Family Farm Winery a destination winery. Like all of your favorite vacation destinations, Cliff wanted Van Till's beauty to be captured in postcard-like photos that grace each bottle of their wines. A graphic design professional hatched this concept, and Cliff oversees the process, taking pride in the beautiful and varied bottle displays.
Each label is as unique as the wine inside, capturing a piece of the beautiful Van Till farms and gardens. The labels represent not only their farm-to-table approach, but also the individual characteristics of the wines in each bottle.
"All the pictures are taken on the farm property and depict the many varied facets of the farm and winery gardens," Cliff says. "Sometimes, the pictures depict the wine. For example, a bold, angry sky for Norton or frilly flowers for white wine."
Beautiful Missouri clouds symbolize Van Till Missouri Vignoles' notes of pear, melon and pineapple over the greenhouse. This semi-sweet white wine is made from 100% Missouri grapes and pairs well with pesto chicken pizza followed by their signature carrot cake.
When you visit Van Till, you will undoubtedly be drawn into the postcard perfection gracing each bottle, and their staff can help you pair the perfect pizza or dessert with your bottle of choice while you sip in their scenic gardens.