Exploring Missouri Wine Country, Updated & Revised 3rd Edition

Exploring Missouri Wine Country, Updated & Revised 3rd Edition

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By Brett Dufur. ISBN: 978-1-891708-30-5. $18.95.

There's never been a better time to explore Missouri Wine Country!

This book includes everything you need to plan a daytrip or weekend getaway, including a complete listing of wineries, towns, services, bed & breakfasts, people, places, history, local attractions and nearby state parks.

The number of wineries across Missouri has doubled in the last decade. Missouri wines are once again winning national and international acclaim. Take a daytrip to a Missouri winery or plan a romantic weekend getaway, using this book as your guide. This guidebook includes handy information for every winery in the state. It also tells the story of the industrious German and Italian immigrants who turned their dreams into Missouri Wine Country.

This guidebook is the perfect companion to help you explore Missouri wine country by car, by bicycle, by boat and even by train. From basic wine-tasting tips to highlighting Missouri’s dynamic new generation of winemakers, and even starting a vineyard, this book takes you from the vine to the wine. If you’ve ever wanted to take a daytrip to a Missouri winery—or plan a romantic weekend getaway—this book is for you.

This definitive guidebook includes handy service information for every winery in the state. It includes maps, photographs, wine lists, bed & breakfasts and listings of other nearby attractions. It also tells the story of the industrious German and Italian immigrants who made Missouri wine country possible.

This guidebook to Missouri wine country profiles wineries, their histories, area highlights, wine tasting tips and descriptions of Missouri varieties, home-winemaking recipes, a dictionary of wine terms and more. Also lists nearby bed & breakfasts, services and state parks.

Missouri wine country is surging ahead. Missouri wines are once again winning national and international acclaim. There’s never been a better time than right now to explore Missouri wine country.

Reviews for Exploring Missouri Wine Country

Dan Hines, Americas Wines...
A "must" for visitors to the Show Me State's wineries.

"And the wine is bottled poetry," a quote from Robert Louis Stevenson is the greeting on the title page of this book which is one of the most complete guides to the Missouri wine industry that has been published.

Dufur, whose Pebble Publishing is headquartered in Rocheport, MO, near the home of the state university, brings not only a vast knowledge to his latest effort, but a reflection of his deep affection for his home state that translates into the poetry of one of the nation's oldest and reemerging wine territories.

His knowledge of the state is enhanced by his previous works, including The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook (the Katy Trail is a scenic and highly popular bike trail from the St. Louis region to Kansas City which traverses much of the state's most popular wine regions). He is also the author of The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook, Exploring Columbia & Central Missouri, Show Me Mountain Biking, Exploring Lewis & Clark's Missouri, The Best of Missouri Hands, and co-author of The Katy Trail Nature Guide, and Forgotten Missourians Who Made History. With titles like these and his knowledge of and love for Missouri, he makes what could have become nothing more than a simple listing or guidebook, an interesting insight into Missouri's wine heritage.

He discusses the rich heritage of the state's wineries, and some of the facts might be of surprise to readers who will discover that Missouri was once the country's leading wine producer, or that picturesque Stone Hill Winery, located in Hermann was the nation's third-largest winery before prohibition.

The diversity of the state's wineries is described by interesting introductions to the regions of the state, accompanied by descriptions of each winery and a listing and, where available, review of the offerings at each site. The wineries, some of which trace their origins to more than a century ago, range from traditional Midwestern farm-homes to more elaborate sites with restaurants, large tasting rooms and even their own web sites for direct sales to www surfers.

The guidebook is, as it claims, the perfect companion to help in wine lovers' exploration of Missouri wine country. It includes service information for every winery in the state with maps, photographs, wine lists, bed & breakfasts and listing of other nearby attractions.

Dufur's book offers verification of the state's slogan about its wines and wineries, "Look how far we've come." He makes a strong case that with its unique varieties of grapes and wines, plus is diverse settings, the popularity of Missouri wines can be expected to continue to grow. It truly is time for wine aficionados to learn more about Missouri wines. Exploring Missouri Wine Country can be a valuable assist.

From the Author, Brett Dufur
Curving Ozark roads have always lured me with promises of new discovery. They quietly await the inquisitive wanderer to seek them out, so they might impart the rich heritage of our state.

On some of these gorgeous backroads, atop bluffs and rolling hills, there are vintners blending an art and a craft into a lifestyle that many of us only dream about. Their profession combines a unique balance of agriculture and old world art, which often instills admiration from newcomers.

For many, curiosity about a wine and its inception lingers long after the glass is empty. The story of Missouri's winemaking is a rich one, and the saga continues today. So get out there and explore! This guidebook answers many wine questions for both beginners and pros. In addition to highlighting Missouri's wine regions and every winery found within them, this book includes nearby services and history, introduces newcomers to tasting and appreciating wine, explains the grape varieties grown and serves as an introduction to the families and faces of Missouri's burgeoning wine industry.

There are currently 30 wineries around the state. In 1995, sales of Missouri wine reached a post-Prohibition high of more than 300,000 gallons. So about one bottle in 20 sold within the state is Missouri-made. This definitely marks a peak in today's wine revolution. But underlying today's success stories is a prolific past. Before Prohibition in 1920, Missouri was home to no less than 65 wineries, and was producing ten times as much wine. In 1904 alone, Missouri wineries produced a record 3 million gallons of wine. In fact, 100 years ago, Missouri was the second largest wine-producing state in the nation-behind only New York.

But as much as this book is about today's wine revolution, it's also a book about the immigrants and the rich countryside that supported the initial evolution of such a fruitful wine country. As you drive these hills and walk into today's wineries, remember that by 1860, more than half of Missouri's foreign-born residents were German. The rich German heritage of our wine regions has left a legacy in winemaking as well as an imprint on our architecture and day-to-day life.

It would be hard to imagine a modern-day Missouri without German influence. German immigrants gave us foods such as the jelly doughnut, apple butter, potato salad, hamburgers and sauerkraut. Even kindergarten is a German concept. A family-oriented Christmas, complete with gifts, sweets and a decorated evergreen tree was introduced to a great extent by these early German settlers. Even "Silent Night," the most popular Christmas carol in America, comes from a German-speaking country. These early immigrants also brought with them an architectural style that is still well preserved today in towns throughout Missouri, such as Hermann and Westphalia. Many of their festivals, such as Maifest and Oktoberfest, continue today.

Before that first drop of wine touches your tongue, there are other senses waiting to be tantalized. A stroll through a vineyard hanging heavy with fruit, a bluff-top view of a mist-filled valley below, a gentle breeze enjoyed under a pergola of vines, a taste of a new wine and a walk through the damp coolness of a seasoned wine cellar, all await your exploration.

I hope this book will increase your appreciation of Missouri wine and the progressive winemaking taking place here. The laborious behind-the-scenes work that goes into each bottle is remarkable. Twelve-hour days in sweltering heat. Back-breaking labor. Patience. Ah, the glorious life of winemaking. Yet life among the vines and the art of winemaking have long held a romantic mystique. From the early Greek's homage to a god of wine, alternately called Dionysus and Bacchus, to more modern studies by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, the process evokes an image of old world art and celebrates virtues such as patience, hard work and family togetherness.

Nowhere else do these virtues and old world influence match up so perfectly with back roads and quiet bluff-top settings than in Missouri wine country. The wineries and vineyards throughout the state have become havens for day-trippers, explorers and a growing class of wine drinkers. For me, the beautiful part of exploring Missouri wine country is that there is no strip mall of wineries. To really enjoy these wineries, adventure is in order. As Mark Twain once said, "There's more to traveling than arriving."

Read on to discover the tumultuous evolution of Missouri's wine industry, which has grown immensely in the past 10 years. The vintners themselves have even been surprised by the explosive growth. This growth is due to several factors including the increasing quality of Missouri wines, state assistance, better marketing, a maturing industry, a new generation of well-educated winemakers, healthier lifestyles, the increasing consumer demand for locally brewed spirits and the publication of fine guidebooks (if I do say so myself).

So read on . . . a journey of discovery awaits!


Excerpted from Exploring Missouri Wine Country

By Brett Dufur. Copyright © 2007. 

Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

From Getting Started: There's never a better time than right now to visit a Missouri winery. A winery tour at any time of the year will likely give you the opportunity to catch some aspect of the winemaking process in action.

Like other forms of agriculture, the cycle of "growing wine" follows the seasons. The vintner's work alternates between growing, processing and marketing the wine. Steps include winter pruning of the vines, caring for the spring's new shoots, tending the vines all summer long, managing the autumn crush and finally, guiding the wine through maturity. In this way, winemaking is a craft, demanding continuous labor and care by the artist, from conception through execution.

The seasons change, the vines grow and the grapes are transformed into wine. So many variables are part of the process, yet one aspect remains unchanged-constant contact with the public. Every day the winemaker pours samples of recent releases and receives immediate evaluations for his effort. Missouri winemakers enjoy hosting visitors, whether introducing them to the world of wine or revealing insights about their craft.


Missouri's wine country can be enjoyed in many ways

Touring Wine Country by Car

If you are looking for a great back-road adventure, visit a Missouri winery. If you live near St. Louis, a tour on Sunday afternoon can take you to many of Missouri's wineries along Highway 94 and Highway 100. If you live in Kansas City, there are five wineries within a two-hour drive.

Use the map at the beginning of each region to help you plan your next excursion. No matter where you live in Missouri, there will almost always be a winery near you or one "just far enough away" for that perfect daytrip or bed & breakfast weekend.

Touring Wine Country by Bicycle

Touring France's wine country by bike is a classic wine-connoisseur's dream. Before you learn to say "No" to "Parlez-vous franais?" . . . a similar experience can be had much closer to home. I recently guided a 5-day bicycle trip along the 200-mile Katy Trail, which passes through Missouri's Augusta, or Weinstrasse, region. I was leading a group of wine lovers from Chicago, so we toured many of the wineries along the way. The previous year, they had toured France's wine country by bike and said this trip exceeded their experience abroad. They found great wine, cozy bed & breakfasts and fine dining here-and they were more than happy to pay $10-25 for a bottle of wine instead of $100 a bottle in France. Vive le Misuri!

For more complete Katy Trail information, refer to my book, The Complete Katy Trail Guidebook or check out the Katy Trail online at www.bikekatytrail.com.

Touring Wine Country by Train

Amtrak runs daily between St. Louis and Kansas City. With stops in Hermann, Washington, Jefferson City, Sedalia, Warrensburg, Lee's Summit and Independence, you can spend the day enjoying Hermann, for example, or design your own wine country weekend. A round-trip tickets are modestly priced between $40-$88. Call Amtrak at 1 (800) USA-RAIL for more information.

Touring Wine Country by Boat

Several Missouri wineries are also accessible by boat. Both the Missouri and the Meramec Rivers provide convenient access to wine country, and Buffalo Creek Vineyards and Winery is completing a tasting room on the Lake of the Ozarks.

From Washington, heading west, a quick jaunt up the Missouri River to New Haven (along with an adventurous spirit and a friendly person willing to give you a lift) will get you to Robller Vineyard and Winery.

A boat trip further west takes you by some of the most impressive bluffs along the Missouri River. Head to Rocheport's Les Bourgeois Winery & Vineyards. Their bistro overlooks both the river and the Katy Trail. The bistro isn't directly accessible from the river. However, go up Moniteau Creek, located on the north side of town, and there's a landing on the right (before the Katy Trail bridge).

In the Ozarks, Peaceful Bend Vineyards and Winery has a set-up smack-dab on the Meramec River. They even offer wine in plastic bottles for boaters. A short hike takes you through their forested property and up to the main tasting room.