Winemaking has deep roots in Missouri, if you’ll forgive the pun. Learn more about the rich and robust history of wine in the “Show Me” State.
German settlers established the town of Hermann on the banks of the Missouri River. Although too rocky for many crops, the ground around Hermann was well-suited for growing wine grapes. A decade later, Hermann’s wineries were producing more than 10,000 gallons of wine a year. Eventually, more than 60 wineries populated the small town, and by the 1880s, wine lovers in America and Europe were enjoying two million gallons of Missouri wine each year.
A dangerous vineyard pest, the phylloxera louse, destroyed enormous tracts of vineyards in France. Missouri helped rebuild the European vineyards by sending phylloxera resistant American rootstock to be grafted with French vine cuttings, helping the French wine industry get back on its feet.
Italian immigrants established vineyards in the St. James area of Missouri. Missouri’s wine industry thrived at the turn of the century, with about 100 wineries throughout the state.
Prohibition dealt a near fatal blow to the Missouri wine industry. When the 18th Amendment was repealed 13 years later, little remained of the once strong industry.
1960s and 1970s
The rebirth of the commercial wine industry in Missouri began with the restoration of several original wineries.
A new tax on wine provided for the establishment of the Missouri Wine and Grape Program. Augusta became the first federally recognized American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1980. The wine regions around Hermann, the southwest Missouri Ozark mountains and highlands, and the south central region around St. James have also been designated as AVAs.
The Norton/Cynthiana varietal is passed in legislation as Missouri’s official state grape.
The state of Missouri proudly welcomed its 100th winery to its lineup.
Now there are more than 125 wineries boasting breathtaking views, delicious wines and unique experiences that reflect the true flavor of Missouri. Discover Missouri wine country!