Missouri Wineries On The Rise

Dec 10, 2012

The number of Missouri wineries has more than tripled over the past ten years.

The state now boasts 110 wineries, many of which reside near the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

Fabio Chaddad is a professor in agricultural economics for the University of Missouri. He says that Missouri’s wineries produce a slightly different type of wine than most regions.

“Across the world, wines are produced using a grape species called ‘vitis vinifera.’ So when you hear about a merlot or a pinot noir or a chardonnay, these are all varieties of vitis vinifera,” Chaddad said. “This species does not grow well here in the state, so we grow either a hybrid or native American grapes.”

According to Chaddad, the official state grape, the Norton Cynthiana, is the most commonly grown red wine grape in Missouri, due to its adaptability and strong flavor characteristics.

Chaddad says for new up-and-coming wineries, this could become a problem.

“They are very small. They produce less than 2,000 cases on average. They are producing wine from grapes that consumers don’t necessarily know about, so it’s a new product. So all these characteristics pose challenges for these wineries,” Chaddad said.

Missouri growing wine industry is outpaced by the nationally average - nationwide, the number of wineries has quadrupled in the last decade.

Chaddad says wineries bring jobs, tourism, and business to the state.