Missouri: A Winter Wine-derland

Winter offers a chance to enjoy the fruits of the past year’s harvest.

If you think wineries are only for the warmer months, think again! I find them to be a great oasis to escape the hustle and bustle, finish shopping, warm up and relax. Decorated for the holidays, and ready to greet you, are more than 100 wineries throughout the state. As the vineyards go into hibernation, the wines ferment and the bounty of last year’s harvest is ready for the tasting – this is a great time to explore Missouri Wine Country.  Many wineries are located in or near charming towns, great for exploring during the holiday season.

I like to get together with special friends and catch up on the year’s happenings, although I may see them only once a year, a winery is the perfect setting to reconnect. Or maybe you need a spot to host a holiday party or entertain your family; since it’s the slower season, the wineries have greater availability to accommodate your group.

A great gift for the hard-to-buy-for person on your list.

Sharing is caring. I like to collect unique wines throughout the year and give to the people on my list.  And then there are the “I-have-no-idea-what-to-get” people on your list, or maybe “just-to-say-thank-you” people on your list, for which wine is the perfect gift.  One case can cover 12 people or maybe just one VERY special person.  Wineries often offer discounts when you buy a case, just ask for their specials.  Don’t know what kind of wine they like? You can’t go wrong with a “one-size-fits-all” gift card.

How to keep them entertained? If you’ve been wondering what to do with all the out-of-town guests, take them at a winery. This time of year wineries have more time to spend with you one-on-one and give you the VIP treatment that’s sure to impress your guests.

Shop local, sip local. Keeping it local is another reason to support your Missouri wineries. The industry has a $1.6 billion annual impact on Missouri’s economy. Supporting local farmers and businesses is sure to keep money in your community. Local grapes make great wines, with unique varietals such as Norton, Traminette, Vignoles and Vidal.  Unique wines showcase the craftsmanship that we have to offer.

Count down to 2012. No New Year’s Eve celebration would be complete with our sparkling wine to toast and ring in the New Year! Missouri has several wineries making sparkling wines, not to mention many who are hosting NYE celebrations, check the events tab at www.MissouriWine.org for the details.

2011 has been a great year, cheers to 2012 and the adventures it holds!

Written by Danene Beedle, marketing director for the Missouri Wine and Grape Board