M is for Missouri, W is for Wine, Let's Go Missouri Wines
August 29, 2012
Red or white, sweet or dry, California or Missouri, what? Yes, I am talking wine, specifically Missouri wine. The domestic wine seems primarily Californian in people’s minds; Napa Valley springs to mind when looking for a good domestic for your evening get together. Napa Valley is productive, but the domestic wine industry is encompassing; it’s present in all 50 states. The Wikipedia article, American Wine, offers some good information about the industry and its history. Notice that Missouri, in the 1860s, was second to California in wine production; the 1860s was a significant time in the wine industry, both foreign and domestic. France’s wine industry took a hard hit during this time period, and the American wine industry contributed to its downfall and saved it as well.
Blight and pest caused a very pesky situation, and Missouri’s first entomologist, Charles Valentine Riley, played an important role to finding a solution. The article, Great French Wine Blight, gives an abbreviated version of this critical time period in wine history. The website, Missouri Wine Country, touts Missouri’s contribution to saving France’s wine industry. For a more comprehensive study, take a look at The Botanist and the Vintner: How Wine Was Saved for the World by Christy Campbell. You will probably learn more about the phylloxera than you ever dreamed of.
So, let’s offer a toast (if you are 21 and older) to Missouri’s wine industry. What? You don’t know the first thing about Missouri wines? This study and research can be fun and involve travel and tasting. Where to begin? The first thing, well maybe second after going to your local liquor department to pick up a bottle of Missouri wine, is to check out Missouri wine.org. There is a trip planner and quite a list of wineries and vineyards; I was surprised about the number of places just in the metro area. A trip to Hermann and the St. Louis area can be fun; still the number of day trip excursions is promising. The site provides links to many Missouri wineries websites. Head to the Library and check out Exploring Missouri Wine Country. Perhaps travel is not feasible and you can’t find the wines in your local store, many of our fine state wines can be purchased directly from the wineries and shipped to you.
Perhaps you are curious about the economic impact of Missouri wine industry. The report The Economic Impact of Wine and Grapes in Missouri 2010, provides a wealth of information. Perhaps you wish to encourage buying local and move Missouri up from its 12th position in wine production sales to its previous 1860s position of 2nd behind California. Here’s to you and your research, clink.
South Independence Branch