Grapes A Lot!
June 15, 2011
Missouri...land of Truman. Home of the Arch. That place where the weather bounces 40 degrees in one day. The home of the grape that saved the European wine market from total annihilation. No really, true story.
In the 1870's, a parasitic disease swept through the vineyards of France and Germany, destroying thousands of acres of grapevines and leaving the entire European wine market in peril. Scientists and botonists from around the world worked to discover a way to stop the disease from spreading to other crops and to save the wine market in Europe.
Herman Jaeger, a Swiss-born vintner living in Neosho, Missouri, worked with the Norton Grape (the official grape of the State of Missouri). He found that when cross-bred with common European cuttings, the Norton vine produced a hearty vine impervious to the ravages of the louse parasite. He shipped hundreds of cuttings from his own vineyards to Europe, and is viewed by history as having saved the wine industry for the whole world. He was awarded the French Legion of Honor, which is the highest award France bestows upon civilians.
Missouri's wine heritage is rich and prolific. A recent weekend trip driving the Missouri Wine Trail offered beautiful views of Missouri at its most beautiful, samples of delicious wine, and a little side trip to our state's past and its remarkable European connection. Missouri actually is home to over a hundred wineries scattered throughout the state. Give a lookieloo to www.missouriwine.org to find a local listing, or to find some interesting day trips.
Also, MCPL has the following titles about the history and wineries of Missouri:
- Exploring Missouri Wine Country by Brett Dufur
- The Wild Vine: A Forgotten Grape and the Untold Story of American Wine by Todd Kliman
For your viewing pleasure, MCPL has a great DVD about the subject:
So come on in, and read up on a forgotten part of Missouri's heritage.
North Independence Branch