Yes, I did say that the second video version of Better Know an AVA would be for the Western Connecticut Highlands. But several things occurred. First, I did not anticipate how long it would take me to produce a video. And B. I forgot that I am going to Missouri in April. April 1st. So, clearly Missouri AVAs are prioritized.
I saw this clip recently and was excited to see local American wines getting the respect that it deserves! We, at VinoVerve have discussed some of these wines and I think that it is safe to say that we are interested in trying the others!
I think Matt, Al, Natalie and Joe should all have a Locapour T-shirt!
So there is Augusta… but where else do you find wine in Missouri?
Well, the area entirely surrounding St. Louis is part of another AVA. This one is the Ozark Mountain AVA. In fact, Augusta is contained withing Ozark Mountain as well as four other AVAs: Ozark Highlands, Hermann, Altus, and Arkansas Mountain.
This AVA covers 3.5 million acres of land in what is the Ozark Plateau in the states of Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Ironically, the Sugar Creek Winery that did not list itself as an Augusta AVA winery? It also didn’t claim to be in Ozark Mountain. Neither do the wines of Yellow Farmhouse Winery or Chandler Hill (although in all fairness, they seem to have wine from all over so maybe they get confused) Ah, well..
Still the news is that Missouri and its surrounding neighbors are full of wine…
And I will eventually get to visit all of these regions!
Yes, I am stepping backwards and looking at the first American Viticulture Area.
“Where is it in California?” you may ask.
I would have to tell you that you are looking at the wrong part of the world.
The Augusta AVA is in Missouri.
That’s right. The Show Me State.
And right now I am going to show you something about the history of wine in Missouri.
Wine has been produced in Missouri since the 1750s and in the Augusta region since 1830 largely by German settlers to the area. The Mount Pleasant Winery was opened in 1859 and only closed by Prohibition and became the second post-Prohibition winery re-opened.
The area is located in the growing areas near the Augusta Bend of the Missouri River which consists of alluvial plains and river bottoms containing the Hayne Silt-Loam (heavier clay topped with river silts). The grapes grown in the area consist largely of Norton (a local varietal and the official grape of the State of Missouri), hybrids such as Chambourcin, Chardonel, CoudercNoir, Rayon d’Or, SeyvalBlanc, St. Vincent and Vidal Blanc as well as vinifera such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Merlot.
At the turn of the 20th century, Missouri ranked 2nd in wine production in the United States only to Ohio. Nearly a 100 years the State is working to reclaim its position in the wine world. Augusta’s award winning wines are working toward that goal.
Love him or hate him, Stephen Colbert has provided an invaluable service to us all by individually highlighting our nations congressional districts on the Colbert Report in segments known as “Better Know a District”.
We here at VinoVerve think that he is on to something…. Especially if you start to apply the concept to wine.
The American Viticulture Areas are designations established by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF, yes, really, I thought it sounded crazy too) which has in our post 9/11 world has been re-designated as the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The AVAs are indications of a shared terroir (geography and geology), wine making history and name recognition. In this sense it is more like the Italian IndicazioneGeograficaTipica.
Why do we think that we should learn more about the AVAs? Well consider how many you know about. Napa Valley? Russian River Valley? Heck, do you know any outside of California? You do? How about outside of the west coast? Ok, smarty pants… how about outside of New York? Now, I have you.
It turns out that the first AVA designated in the US was in Missouri. Surprise!
Did you know that there have been active wineries in the Altus AVA for over 100 years? Oh and so you know, Altus is in Arkansas.
In honor of our new appreciation for American wine regions, we are going to begin exploring them in a segment that I have dubbed:
The Stephen T. Colbert Memorial: Better Know an AVA….