Last weekend I spent a couple of days in St. Louis, immersing myself in Missouri wines at the Drink Local Wine conference. The conference is an offshoot of the Drink Local Wine website which spotlights wine made in the 47 states that aren’t California, Washington, and Oregon. It’s the brainchild of Washington Post wine columnist Dave McIntyre and wine blogger Jeff Siegel, the Wine Curmudgeon. It was a celebration of all things Missouri wines. As a localvore, I had to be there. And as one of the few non wine bloggers there, it was fun to get to “eavesdrop” on the wine culture and hear what they really thought about Missouri and our wines. The two nights in the seriously comfy room at the Doubletree Westport didn’t hurt either.
But back to the wine. On Friday night we media attended a wine dinner at Annie Gunn’s. When we walked past smokers on our way in, I knew we were in for a treat. And treated well we were with four delicious courses paired with Missouri Wines. A standout for me was their cold pork dish. The restaurant’s wine director Glenn Bardget is an aficionado of regional wines and offers an unparalleled selection of Missouri Wines on Annie Gunn’s menu. If you’re in the St. Louis area, I highly recommend taking the time for a meal there.
The next day opened with a morning of panel discussions moderated buy different wine writers. I very much enjoyed the first session “We don’t need no stinkin’ vinifera: The Grapes of Missouri” with winemakers Andrew Meggitt, executive winemaker, St. James Winery, Tony Kooyumjian, owner/winemaker, Augusta Winery, Cory Bomgaars, head winemaker, Les Bourgeois Vineyards. They spent a lot of time talking about the grapes that grow well in Missouri and the wines that are made from them. I didn’t understand the connection between the styles and the soil before. After the morning sessions concluded, it was time for the Twitter Tasteoff where 19 wineries offered their wines for tasting. Attendees tweeted their impressions with the conference’s hashtag #DLWMO.
That evening, over sushi and beer, I spent some time chatting with other attendees. I wanted their thoughts on Missouri wines. Overall, the response was positive. They felt Missouri was a young wine state (ironic since we are actually one of the oldest wine producing states, damn you Prohibition) with a promising future, but lots of growing to do. You can read their thoughts in depth with the links here.
Personally after a day of tasting more Missouri wines than I had ever heard of, there were some that screamed “regional wine” to me but more that I would buy and serve on a consistent basis. I will be definitely be sharing some of my favorites in more detail.
Disclosure: As a member of the media, my conference costs and room were covered by Drink Local Wine.