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
In the southern Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Georgia vineyards are small and few, yet the establishment of the Upper Hiwassee Highlands could bring much more.
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The Talented Mr. Chambourcin. Your attributes are undeniable, but your background is clouded in mystery.
is the Regional Correspondent for Missouri.