Friday, December 29, 2006

La Guignolee

Pronounced "la-ghee-o-lay"

Ste. Genevieve is a French town, founded by the French in 1735. The French were attracted to Ste. Genevieve by good soil, lead deposits, salt springs, the Catholic religion and the French language. Ste. Genevieve has the largest concentration of French Colonial architecture in the world. One of the French traditions that is still upheld today is the La Guignolee. This is a troupe of traveling singers, that go from door to door, ringing in the new year. The practice was primarily a chance to visit with relatives and friends, and it was more less, a traveling feast.

This year is no different. This 200 year old tradition will once again happen upon our little town. The singers, and musicians, dressed in colonial garb, will start at the American Legion Hall at 6 p.m., and make their way to all the restaurants, bars, nursing homes, high school gyms, and end at midnight at the Knights of Columbus Hall.

If you are looking for something unusual, festive, and traditional all at the same time, come to Ste. Genevieve for New Year's Eve. The Winery will be open until 5 p.m., so grab some wine and follow the band!

Translation of the words sung by the La Guignolee:
"Good evening master and mistress,
And all who live with you.
For the first day of the year, you owe us La Guignolee.
If you have nothing to give, a chine of meat or so will do.
A chine of meat is not a big thing, only ninety feet long.
Again, we don't ask for very much,
Only the oldest daughter of the house.
We will give her lots of good cheer,
And we will surely warm her feet.
Now, we greet you, and beg you to forgive us please.
If we have acted a little crazy, we meant it in good fun.
Another time we'll surely be careful
To know when we must come back here again.
Let us dance La Guenille, La Guenille, La Guenille!"

Monday, December 18, 2006


to Jodi Brown, of Ste. Genevieve, for winning our Wine Diva Survival Pack. Jodi attended our Wine Diva Passport Weekend and went to all 5 wineries, and got entered into our drawing. Each of the 5 wineries chose a different winner for their prize. Jodi won from us a bottle of Christmas Plum wine, a gift certificate to our local spa, a rhinestone Wine Diva t-shirt, and a two bottle wine carrier. It's a perfect little indulgence right before the Holidays.

Crazy thing is that I know Jodi. No, the drawing was not rigged, but I did go to gradeschool and high school with Jodi, and her older sister, Niki, was one of my best friends throughout my adolescence. You'd think that by growing up in a small town like Ste. Genevieve, I'd realize by now just how small and coincidental this world really is, but sometimes I am still amazed. Anyway, congratulations Jodi.

Friday, December 15, 2006

This is a picture of one of the rooms we rent out in the B&B. This is the Fleur de Lis room. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 14, 2006

My Dad and I in the tank room Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Expansion Pack Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

An ice storm hit our area on November 30. Many trees broke in half, and school was closed. Even I was off work that Friday, we had no power, and there were too many trees over the roads. The vineyard sure did look nice, though. Posted by Picasa

When the sun hit the ice, there were a million little crystals... Posted by Picasa

Ice covered vineyard Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Buy Local.

So, we're swimming in Christmas Plum over here. I was kind enough to not talk about it until after Thanksgiving, but there is no escape now. I am happy to say that our Christmas Plum seems to be everywhere in the southeast part of Missouri. It is made from 100% fresh plums, and is sweet with a hint of spice that is not added. IMO, this is the perfect gift. I have a guy friend who buys at least a case every year so he doesn't have to muddle through the mall. He gives one to everyone on his list, and I think this is a mighy fine idea. I plan to give one to everyone, my mail person, my UPS man, my hairdresser, my priest. It's a no brainer. Most everyone likes wine, most everyone likes a regional product, and most everyone likes to spend a small amount of money. ;)

Our Christmas Plum label. This scene was painted by one of the most talented artists around, Chuck Drost and is a picture of my dad's farm house in the snow. Chuck drew the plums too. They make me hungry for plums. Posted by Picasa

Christmas Plum at the Sam's Club in Cape Girardeau Posted by Picasa

The Christmas Plum on the end of an aisle in the Festus Walmart Posted by Picasa

The Christmas Plum among pies at the front of the Farmington Walmart Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 27, 2006

Humble Beginnings

The building where the first Sainte Genevieve Winery wine was made is getting torn down this week. It originated as a garage for the house, and was on the property when mom and dad bought it in 1967. I never remember too many cars actually parked in it though. The story I have heard is that my two brothers wanted to start a machine shop in the garage to fix cars and whatnot, so they bought some tools and poured a concrete floor. In December 1983 we received our official bonded winery license and the garage soon turned into the winery. My brother, Joe, played basketball in high school, so a basketball hoop was hung. Like any American pursuing the dream, my dad used what he had available to him, and that was the garage. We built barrel racks, cut a hole in the back room for an air conditioner, and I bottled more wine out there than I care to admit.

I read an article about a year or two ago in the Food and Wine Magazine about a little winery in the Amador foothills who ran their winery out of a garage, and the journalist made it seem so rustic and authentic, and I'm sure it was/is, but Dad and I couldn't help but chuckle. What some people found quaint, we found bothersome. It's all about perscpective, isn't it?

Now, we are in this new fangled building, and although it isn't beautiful, it is 1,000 more functional than that old building, and for that I am grateful everyday. I have an office/lab, and all my tanks indoors, and drains in the floors. It's a little winemaker's dream come true. I, for one, know I WILL NOT miss the old building, but I can't say the same for Dad.

This is the building where it all began. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Simple, but Brilliant

Last week, on November 14th, this blog was recommended by The Winery Website Report as being simple, but brilliant because I put a picture of the Cranberry label for you all to see and find in the stores. I'll take that compliment.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Entertaining You and Entertaining Me

Entertaining You:

This weekend is the first ever Wine Diva Passport Weekend along the Route du Vin. This is it! The excuse you’ve been waiting for! Get your sisters, girlfriends, coworkers - even your mother in law and come explore your Inner Wine Diva with us on the Ste. Genevieve Route du Vin! Heck, if your significant other isn’t hunting, bring him along! One and all are invited to come learn a little about our wines (and each other) and share a few laughs. This is a passport weekend giving you the opportunity to visit all 5 wineries on the Route du Vin Wine Trail. Each winery will offer complimentary samples of their wines as well as a special diva treat for each ticket holder. If your passport is stamped at all 5 wineries your name will be entered in a drawing for a Wine Diva Giveaway! Reservations can be made in advance by calling the Sainte Genevieve Winery at 800-398-1298. Tickets are $20 per person. Ticket price includes a complimentary Route du Vin wine glass and 10% discount off of purchases made that day. Here at the Sainte Genevieve Winery we are featuring Pastry Wrapped Brie with Cranberry filling, paired with our Cranberry wine. Come meet me in person, serving you delectables on Saturday.

Entertaining Me

I was introduced today to Gary Vaynerchuk's blog/website where he tastes wine and rates them on video. I am very entertained. I'm not sure if I'm laughing at him or with him, but nonetheless, I'm laughing. He takes wine tasting very seriously, but has fun with it too. You have to watch this episode and see if you aren't amused too.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Norton vineyard early Sunday morning Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 10, 2006

This our Cranberry label. This is what you are looking for in the stores. It has a really great Cranberry flavor, sweet, but a little tart, just like a real cranberry. It goes great with turkey, and it makes your family more bearable. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 09, 2006

These last couple pictures aren't necessarily wine related, but they are location related. I figure if someone is looking at this blog from somewhere other than where the leaves turn colors, then they can see what November looks like in Missouri. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fallen leaves Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

This is called the grape rachii. Since we machine harvest, the stems (rachii) are left attached to the vine. When we prune this winter, we will cut all these rachii off because dead wood can spread disease. Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 06, 2006

Autumn Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 03, 2006

I should have taken these pictures a week ago, the autumn colors were much more brilliant then. Anyway, here's a picture of our Chambourcin vineyard, with some nice yellow trees in the background. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 02, 2006

This Norton vine is ready for a hair cut. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 26, 2006

This is a picture of the truck coming in from the fields full of cranberries. He is opening the back of the truck to dump the berries into water to rinse them before they go into our bins. Posted by Picasa

Rinsing the cranberries Posted by Picasa

This is a picture of the cranberries going from the hopper, after they are rinsed, to our bins. Posted by Picasa

The Stone Cottage Posted by Picasa

From the Bog to the Bottle

Every year my dad and I take a trip to Cranmoor, Wisconsin to buy cranberries. We have made great friends with Mary Brazeau Brown, and her family farm of cranberries. Her father was one of the cranberry poineers in Wisconsin. Cranberries are one of the few native berries to America, first found in Wisconsin. Her business, Glacial Lake Cranberries keeps her and her husband, Phil, busy. They sell fresh cranberries there, give tours of the bogs, and have a refuge for wild animals on their property. We stay in the Stone Cottage which is decked out in cranberries and birds. The Stone Cottage has space heaters, that every year I turn up too high, and every year Dad opens his window in his room in the middle of the night. There are many birds on their property who like the marsh and bogs and water. It's really beautiful up there, the fall colors always seem more vivid, more reds and bright yellows, and the weather is always colder, which is strangely nice. The bogs are steamy and foggy in the morning, and occassionally we wake up to frost and the sprinklers going trying to keep the berries protected. This year we met Mary and Phil's son, fresh back from college, and I loved observing the similar dynamic of a family owned and run business. Mary and Phil treat us like long lost friends, and every year we come home completely excited about cranberries, and already looking forward to our trip next year. If ever you are looking for a beautiful, serene, secluded get away, I would suggest of visit of your own to Glacial Lake Cranberries and the Stone Cottage.

While I am talking about Cranberries, our Cranberry wine (made from 2005 berries) is ready for you to purchase. It is a little sweet, a little tart, and goes perfect with turkey. I like to say it makes your family bearable on Thanksgiving. ;)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Autumn Daze Festival This Weekend in Ste. Genevieve

There are all sorts of great happenings in Ste. Genevieve this weekend. First of all, we are having a great band at the winery on Saturday from 1-4 p.m. They are called Vintage, and they are very entertaining. Then there is the Plein Air Artist Competition. Anybody can enter, and you paint a picture of Ste. Genevieve this week, and on Sunday you submit it, and they choose a winner. Last year my good friend, Chuck Drost, won the oil competition. If ever you're going to click on one of my links, Chuck's is the one to view. He is a very very talented artist, and he painted our Christmas Plum label, and we are currently working on other labels that I will unveil in due time. I'm pretty sure one of his first posts is of the painting that won last year. So, anyway, artists will be sitting, working, painting with their easle and canvas all over town, kind of like Paris or New Orleans in that respect. After the competition, the art is for sale is the artist chooses to sell it. There are many great artists in the Artists Guild, and they will all be showing and selling artwork all weekend.

Along with all that hand painted art, there will also be the Spirit Reunion in the Cemetary which I mentioned here. There is also an artisan craft show from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Where to Buy Our Wine

Way back when I made a list on this blog of where to buy our wine at Walmart. Now I have a list of where to buy our wine statewide. I will start today with St. Louis and surrounding area. So, if you live in the greater St. Louis area, this list will help you purchase our wine without going to our tasting room. We would still love to see you in our tasting room, where samples of all our wines are free, and we have music and outdoor seating. Did I mention this weekend is our Autumn Daze Festival? Maybe tomorrow I'll write more about that.

Express Mart West Barnhart
J's Package Liquor St. Louis (Riverview Drive)
Lukas Liquor Ellisville
Queen's Bi-Rite Barnhart

Creve Coeur
Cross Keys
Des Peres

Starr's St. Louis (Big Bend)

Wednesday, October 11, 2006


I'm intrigued by words (this writing thing does come pretty easy.)

Today I was on the phone with a reporter from a BBC radio program, and I didn't even catch his name, but he is traveling America and doing live interviews on the radio. I guess he was in this area, and was surprised to find there is a wine industry in Missouri, and so he asked me a few questions about the winery, and then was on his way. Towards the end of the conversation he used the word, "smashing" and I held in a little giggle. I wondered for a moment if I was on the phone with Austin Powers. I think I'm going to try to use that word more often, "this late harvest Vidal blanc wine is smashing."

While looking at the website that helps me track where people come from who look at the winery website and this blog, I came across a referring site that calls itself epodunk as in e - po - dunk, as in a website all about places in the middle of nowhere. If that doesn't make you smile, go take your prozac and refresh.

Monday, October 09, 2006


Success means different things to different people, and surely I have my own definitions of success, but I had a couple things happen over the weekend which made me do a little victory lap in my head.

While at the Missouri Botanical Gardens for the Best of Missouri Market, I sold a bottle of Blackberry to a guy with an Oregon Pinot Noir shirt on. That always feels good. Then, late on Sunday afternoon, an employee from another winery came to drink our Concord wine because she doesn't like the Concord wine that her employer makes. Yippee! Score one for me.

Friday, October 06, 2006

This is me last year at the Missouri Botanical Gardens Best of Missouri Market. Posted by Picasa

Looking For Something to do This Weekend?

This weekend is the Best of Missouri Market at the Botanical Gardens in St. Louis. We will be surrounded by many talented artisans, and we will all be selling our craft. Come check it out, you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Deer tracks in the vineyard.... The wildlife thinks we are their grocery store. =( Posted by Picasa