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Missouri wines and wineries

When German settlers established the town of Hermann, Missouri in 1837, earlier settlers had already claimed the lowlands and prairies. 

Wine terminology

Viticulture:  Cultivation of grape vines

Oenology:  Study of wines

Sommelier:  Wine steward

Tannin: Bitter organic substance found in the skins and stems of grapes

The Germans were left with the sloping hills and bluffs, land that was only good for one crop: grapes.  Their hard work and determination led to Missouri's reputation as prime wine country.  Missouri now has over 30 wineries in six different regions, many of them award-winning.

Augusta Region: The Weinstrasse is the two-lane road starting from St. Charles County and winding along the Missouri River.   Among the four family-owned wineries along this road is the award-winning Augusta Winery, located in the scenic town of Augusta on the bluffs overlooking the river.

Hermann Region: In the Hermann region, located in the northern hills of the Ozark Plateau, one can tour the underground cellars at Stone Hill, Missouri's largest and oldest winery.

The finest wines of Tuscany and central Italy : a regional and village guide to the best wines and their producers
Nicolas Belfrage ; foreword by Hugh Johnson ; photography by Jon Wyand.
Berkeley : University of California Press, c2009.
The wines of Tuscany were famous long before Leonardo da Vinci described them as "bottled sunshine," and they are at the forefront of the remarkable renaissance of Italian wine over the past 30 years. In this groundbreaking new book, Nicolas Belfrage shares his insider's knowledge acquired as a specialist wine trader and writer. Mindful of the region's fascinating past, Belfrage brings its story up to date, discussing such subjects as geology and geography, grape varieties, and the latest research into Sangiovese, the variety used in the top wines of Chianti Classico, Brunello di Montalcino, and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. He also clarifies the regulatory framework and follows the recent controversial developments in viticulture and winemaking, including the rise of the Super-Tuscans and the ongoing "Brunellogate" scandal that broke in 2008. At the heart of the book are in-depth, illustrated profiles of more than 90 of the most interesting producers, large and small, with insightful notes on the essential character of their finest wines. The author also offers a comprehensive review of vintages and selects his top 100 wines in ten different categories, while wines of special quality or value are indicated throughout.
     
Exploring Southern Illinois wineries
Matt Bliss & Kelly Drew.
Makanda, Il. : Lust Creek Pub, c2009.
  1. "Azimuth guides"--Cover.
  2. Includes index.
     

For something different, try one of these French-American hybrid wines that have become so popular in Missouri:

  • Seyval Blanc: A dry, medium-bodied white wine, nicknamed the "Chardonnay of the East"
  • Vidal Blanc: A dry to semi-dry white wine with citrus flavors
  • Vignoles: Often called Missouri's noble grape, this hybrid produces dry white wines often with scents of apricot and peach

Grapes being harvested

Most Missouri wineries are open year-round.  At almost any time of the year, visitors to the wineries will see some aspect of the winemaking process: from the vine-pruning in winter, to the selection of new vine shoots in spring, and finally to the crushing and fermentation in autumn. 

If for no other reason, a trip to one of the wineries is a perfect excuse for a drive through the Missouri countryside.

Article by: St. Louis Public Library staff