Description 1 of 2

 

Wine industry began in Missouri in the 1840s when an influx of German immigrants, inspired by the enthusiastic findings of writer Gottfried Duden, relocated there They eventually founded the town of Hermann, and the state’s first commercial winery, Stone Hill. The success of these wines, most notably The Black Pearl, Hermannsberger, and Starkenberger sold in St. Louis and other large cities, and inspired others to follow. The transcontinental railroads gave a further boost to the wine industry, although it also allowed California wines made from Europeam varietals to prosper. Because European varietals didn’t grow well in the Missouri climate, the most successful wines were produced from French-American hybrids and natives such as Norton. But their popularity kept Missouri the second most popular American wine source leading up to the Prohibition. 
 
Missouri is finally emerging from the devastation of the Prohibition, with many boutique wineries focused on quality viticulture. The wineries are in cool-climate areas with characteristics akin to famous regions in Germany. The most successful and hardy grapes are still North American/French hybrids such as Chardonel, Seyval Blanc, Vignoles, Catawba (Cape), St. Vincent and Traminette. 
 
There are four AVAs within Missouri:
 
*Augusta along the Missouri River.
*Hermann, where the original wave of German immigrants first settled and founded Stone Hill Winery.
*Ozark Highlands, has the driest microclimate.
*Ozark Mountain, shared with Oklahoma and Arkansas. 
– Description from Amanda Schuster

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Description 2 of 2

A recent Appellation America study has revealed 50+ operational wineries in the state of Missouri. Many of these wineries are found at the end of a gravel road named after a number (e.g. County Road 3856), but a few can be reached on smooth blacktop. Tasting rooms in Missouri run the gamut, from modern minimalism to country disarray. The person behind the tasting bar may be one of a small army of uniformed pourers, or if you’re lucky, it may be the winemaker/viticulturist/owner him/herself, wearing rubber boots and overalls.

Countering the negative impacts of globalization or topping the million gallon-per-year mark are not evident goals of Missouri wineries. It appears they want to make great wine that speaks for the land from which it came. The land here is a study of contrasts: alluvial river bottoms, loess blanketed prairies, and silty hills. The state is blessed with about 200 acres of the Norton/Cynthiana grape and local vintners who know what to do with them. Many Missouri wineries have learned how to make world-class wines with the native Norton as well as with hybrids Chambourcin and Chardonel.

Missouri is slowly returning toward its historical position as a world player in the wine industry (the second largest winery in North America in 1890 was in Missouri). Similar to other agricultural endeavors in this lush state, grape growing and winemaking are constantly improving through collective camaraderie and individual imagination.

~ Tim Pingelton, Missouri Editor – Description from Appellation America (view original content)

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