The craft beverage industry is thriving in Springfield and the Ozarks. Local establishments produce local libations like never before. This post is one of three that focus on the libation crafters of the Springfield area. Click here to see the entire series.
From successful wineries to hometown breweries, the Springfield area is home to a growing number of local businesses specializing in crafting delicious adult beverages.
Just in the last decade, downtown Springfield’s brewery district has flourished, creating craft beers, as well as signature events to go along with them. Local distilleries and wineries have appeared on the scene, making Springfield the go-to destination in the Ozarks for breweries, wineries and distilleries.
OOVVDA Winery boasts that it’s Springfield’s premier winery, and rightly so, as it’s currently the only winery in Springfield city limits.
Brian and Fran Overboe, owners of OOVVDA, began selling their wine in 2005 and started tastings at the winery in 2007. On this most recent “Twilight Delight” tasting event, Fran stands behind the bar of the tasting room, explaining the varieties as she pours samples for patrons.
“You should taste the drier varieties before the sweeter ones,” she tells one customer, who requested their very sweet Happy Birthday flavor first. The tasting room fills with people awaiting their turn to taste everything from a semi-dry Blueberry to their famous dry Tornado Tomato.
Outside on the grounds of the winery, more than 200 people have gathered, spread out in lawn chairs enjoying copious amounts of cheese and crackers and OOVVDA wine.
“We’re working at making Springfield a go-to wine destination,” says Brian. “The wineries in the area cooperate with each other to promote each other by word of mouth. It makes good business for all of us.”
On the last Saturday of every month (March through October) OOVVDA Winery comes alive with their “Twilight Delight” event that features live music, food and a great selection of wine.
Just a short drive from Springfield in Walnut Grove, is another hometown winery that’s well-known for its wines and meads (wines made from honey). On a sunny Saturday afternoon, hundreds of people have gathered at 7C’s for their annual Sippin’ n Sawin’ event, billed as Missouri’s only chainsaw carving festival.
From a college fraternity who brought their moms to the festival to local officials and busloads of tourists, the property is bursting at its seams with wine lovers.
Guests are getting a taste of 7C’s new, and interesting meads for the year including: Wildflower, Clover, Afterburn (jalapeno), Hades Ambrosia (habanero), Afterlife (ghost pepper) along with its regular selection of meads.
The wine industry is growing in southwest Missouri,” says Dwight Crevelt, owner of 7C’s, along with his wife Jean Anne. “There are several wineries in the area who are producing better and better wines every year. We like to have festivals to get people out of the rat race and enjoy themselves. And at the same time, events like this helps build our notoriety and demand for our products in stores.”
Bear Creek Wine Company
Just off of Interstate 65 between Springfield and Branson in Walnut Shade, Bear Creek Wine Company sits back in the woods in a setting that exemplifies the Ozarks. Also home to a bed and breakfast, Bear Creek is the perfect place for a pit stop that can include a good wine and a picnic.
Mandy Bonzer helps manage the 15-year-old family business. Standing in the tasting room, she pops open a bottle of a dark red wine and pours a sample.
“We started producing our private label wines four years ago,” she says. “Then this past fall, we started producing our blackberry wine on-site and it has been a huge hit with visitors.”
The blackberry wine, officially called Cobbler, is a sweet and tart wine. Bonzer says they are currently working on a elderberry wine as well. Guests at Bear Creek can purchase Askinosie Chocolates, cheese, meat, crackers and even pizza to enjoy anywhere on the property.
“I really think we are different than any other tasting rooms in town,” says Bonzer. “We wanted to have something for people who came out to taste our wine that represents Ozarks culture and history and I think we’ve done that. We’re from here and in fact, both of my grandfathers went to prison for a bit for making moonshine, so here’s to family traditions.”