Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday, December 14, 2007

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Frozen Queen Anne's Lace

While tromping around the ice covered vineyard the other day, I came across these frozen Queen Anne's Lace. It is officially a weed, and even more precisely a member of the carrot family, but it is abundant, and pretty in the summer, and photogenic covered in ice.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Walking In a Winter Wonderland

I took a nice brisk walk this morning, and took a few snapshots of the vineyard covered in ice. It was melting while I was out there, but it's supposed to ice back up this evening, and melt again tomorrow. Or, we could have snow. I'd hate to be a weather person right about now.
I know it's trendy to say you hate winter, and I guess I'm out of style, because I really do like winter. I'll be the first to tell you I'm a terrible driver on the ice or snow, but I think the snow and ice can be beautiful, and a welcome change.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Facts and Figures

Recently research was done on the economic impact of wine and grapes on the Missouri economy. You can request the full report from the Department of Agriculture Grape and Wine Program, but I thought I'd summarize a few interesting points.

By the end of 2007, the report projects there to be 6,186 full time jobs in the Missouri wine industry to be paid $150 million. They also project there will be 352,000 cases of Missouri wine sold accumulating a retail value of $51 million. There are currently 72 wineries and 200 commercial growers in Missouri cultivating 1,350 acres.

From 2000 to 2005, the number of wineries in Missouri grew from 31 to 50. In 2005 Missouri sold 702,000 gallons of wine. 70% of Missouri wineries produce less than 5,000 gallons a year. Missouri ranks #11 in the country in terms of grape production. Missouri's wine, grape and related industries are projected to have a $701.2 million economic impact to the state of Missouri.

The average price of a ton of grapes in 2005 was $774.00 Also in 2005 the most expensive grape was Chardonel, with a range of $800-1000. In 2007 the projected most expensive grape is Vidal blanc grapes with a range of $1,200-1,400.

Missouri has 4 recognized American Viticulture Areas (AVA.) They are Augusta, Hermann, Ozark Highlands, and Ozark Mountain.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Welcome Autumn

Autumn is my favorite time of year. It is my most busy time of year, trying to get all the grapes in out of the vineyard, trying to be at all these wine tastings, trying to host Bed and Breakfasts guests, and trying to make sure that everyone that visits the tasting room is happy, plus trying to bottle and label the Cranberry and Christmas Plum, and motivate our distributer to sell the Cranberry and Christmas Plum.
I did take a few moments yesterday to take some nice pictures of the changing colors. We have had a pretty warm fall here, and today is one of the first days that our high is in the 60s. The cooler weather is invigorating and a welcome change.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Liquid Autumn

Dad and I just got back from our annual trip to Wisconsin to buy cranberries. This year the weather was a little warmer than usual, but the berries, as you can see in the picture are still as red and beautiful as you can imagine. It's a long trip, but a bonding and invigorating one, as we always come home, heads brimming with ideas.

Now I just have to get all these little berries fermenting!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Chemistry is dripping off my pencil this time of year. I'm furiously trying to get everything fermented properly and timely, along with lots of monitoring, and additions of this or that. All the grapes are in out of the field. I now have elderberries fermenting, Seyval blanc going through malolactic fermentation, and we are anxiously awaiting the cranberries, which are always a winemaking chemical challenge.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Grand Basin

This is a picture I took two weekends ago at the St. Louis Wine Festival in Forest Park. It was a beautiful setting, and lots of wine was poured.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Find Us in St. Louis- Part Deux

This weekend we will be pouring and selling wine at the Best of Missouri Market at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. This year we are bringing the Blackberry, Cranberry, Traminette, Lady Genevieve, Ste. Gemme and Beauvais. Usually the Lady Genevieve and Traminette are only available in our tasting room in downtown Ste. Genevieve, but this week they will be available at the tasting with us. Plus, the Cranberry is perfect for the fall. So many good choices!

If you come by the booth, introduce yourself and tell me you read the blog. I'm the pregnant, tall one with the short brown hair.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Find us in St. Louis

If you are looking for a great way to enjoy this spectacular fall weather and taste some excellent food and wine at the same time, I encourage you to come to Forest Park for the St. Louis Wine Festival. This is the third year for the event, and the first year we will be there, pouring and selling wine. We would love to see you there!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Pressing Norton

We pressed the Norton today. It was a small crop, but the color and taste were superb. Don't you love that garnet color?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Pony Girl

My horse, Shadow, on occassion roams the barnyard and nibbles on grass wherever he pleases. With the lack of rain over the summer, he pretty much goes where he wants in order to find some grass, and if we keep him nearby we can make sure he has enough water. A few times we left the gate open and he wandered to the neighbors, but usually it doesn't take much to get him back, just a scoop or two of grain. My niece, Hannah, has recently become very interested in horses, so he has been rode more times this summer than the past 4 years put together. He is a gentle soul, though, and I like that he is so good with her, considering he seriously hardly ever gets rode, and he is about 23 years old.

This is a picture of him doing what he does best, eat grass. In the background are our "old Concord" grapes.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Big Sky Country

This picture didn't turn out exactly how I wanted, or how I saw it in real life. I was trying to show the huge blue sky covered in clouds looking up the hill at the rows of green Vignoles below. Now the Vignoles look too dark. I guess if I knew something about photoshop or some other program I could alter this picture, but I don't so here it is in it's raw farm.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Butterfly on Thistle

I will have to admit that I really like this picture I took yesterday while testing the sugar of the Norton grapes. I like the blue on the tips of the wings, and a tiny bit of orange and yellow, and the black contrasted with the purple of the thistle flower. If I look at the green grass below, I get dizzy.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Missouri Farmer Today

Here is a link to a nice article written by Mindy Ward at the Missouri Farmer Today magazine. It is in reference to the Regional Cuisines Project I am a board member of and have talked about here before. I really like this article, and I like the picture on the front. =)

Thursday, September 06, 2007

And A Partridge In A Pear Tree

We have two doves on the property, they have been here at least a month if not most of the summer. They are light grey, with dark grey or black on the tips of their wings and a ring around their neck. I have never seen this type of dove before, and I have no idea why they chose to come here, but they are peaceful, and beautiful, and are always seen together. Some people believe that when you have a rare animal cross your path, that symbolizes something in your life. Wonder what these doves are trying to tell me, if anything? If anyone has any knowledge about what type of doves these are, and/or if they are native to Missouri, I would love you to leave a comment.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

“The wildlife thinks we’re their grocery store,”

Click here to read an article written in the Columbia Missourian in which I was quoted about the grape crop loss this year. Many other wineries are cited in this article, and I will have to say I think this article was well researched and put together. The part where it says, "Damages from the freeze and birds could total up to $3 million across the state," is definitely disheartening.

Friday, August 24, 2007


It's the little things that one should pay attention to and love and enjoy. These barrels are my new favorite additions to the winery. We have other Missouri oak barrels, but these are so fresh and clean and new. Plus they are filled with our Estate Seyval, so the smell is heavenly.
Sleep tight, my new little friends, over the weekend. I'll have visions of you all through the night. ;)

Monday, August 20, 2007

Vidal Blanc

Here is a picture of a bunch of Vidal bunches. =) It will be a couple weeks before we harvest these, but they do look scrumptious already.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Standing Guard

We are in the middle of harvest over here, and also in the middle of sweltering heat. We set two records in temperature this week, Tuesday at 104, and Wednesday at 105. Naturally those are the days we decide to pick grapes, namely the Vignoles. After all the frost this spring, and draught this summer, the fruit looks great, and the quantity is smaller than normal, but we'll take it! We also picked the Seyval blanc grapes today, so the tank room is full of fermenting white wines, yum!
This is another picture of another scarecrow. This one is minding the Vidal blanc grapes, who probably won't be ready for a couple weeks. As we pick more and more grapes, the wildlife seem to hone in on what's still out there to munch on. Hopefully this soldier is doing his part.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Jump, Jive and Wail.

Here is a picture of the blackberries we have fermenting right now. Not too many people had blackberries for sale this year. I think with the frost and now all this dry weather, this isn't too good of a growing year for most things in Missouri. These blackberries sure are beautiful though, and their perfume radiates the air around them. When you stir them, or punch them down, a pink foam forms and bubbles up and looks like sherbet.

Harvest is soon approaching. We are greasing the harvestor today and I am furiously taking berry samples, mainly the Vignoles right now. I think we will be harvesting early this year, with the small crop and draught. The wildlife are in full force, birds, turkies, squirrels (who knew squirrels ate grapes?) We have caught (and released far far away from us) 3 raccoons. Raccoons can eat a lot in one night. The scarecrows are in effect also, and they make me jump when I 4-wheel past them. Then again, I'm jumpy. The amount of crop that we have lost already in the Vignoles to wildlife makes me very sad. There needs to be a better solution. Maybe we need our border collies out there all night to howl at the moon and anything else that crosses their path.

Monday, July 30, 2007


Long rows of Vignoles

Friday, July 27, 2007


This is a picture of the Norton going through veraison, which is when the berries begin to soften, and the grapes start to turn purple. It will be a while before we harvest these grapes, but this year, we're just happy to have them.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

My Dad is a Farmer At Heart

My Dad is about as old fashioned as they come. Last weekend we made ketchup in a copper kettle (as if that doesn't prove my point enough) we started talking about the recipe for the ketchup and he said, "OK, the first thing we should start with is a peck of tomatoes." I had to stop him right there, and give a little laugh. He would have been perfect growing up in the 1850s, with his German ancestors that made the trek from their homeland to Missouri.
I will have to say that this scarecrow is doing his job, though. I went out to get a berry sample of the Vignoles, and gave this guy another look.
Another fine example of not being organic but using what the good Lord and this farm supplies and try to grow excellent grapes all at the same time.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

41st Annual

Jour de Fete
August 11 and 12th
Arts and Craft Show
Food, Drink, Entertainment and Great Things to Buy!
For Info Call: 1-800-373-7007
Come into the winery for some great wine and air conditioning!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Brilliant idea.

Why didn't I think of this? Think anyone would want to rent a row of Missouri Vignoles?

Thursday, July 05, 2007

We borrowed a post hole digger that attaches to the tractor. My husband, John, is a band teacher, and during the summers he helps us here in the vineyard. He is so excited about this post hole digger, because now he doesn't have to dig holes in the ground by hand.

Although we aren't organically certified, we do what we can to help the enviroment and at the same time help our farm. These are the cedar posts we cut from our forests to use as end posts for the trellis.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The blackberries are not quite ready yet.

Monday, July 02, 2007

All This in One Spot?

FĂȘte de Chaumette

Proudly presents their annual
A Celebration of Regional Wines, Cuisine & Goods

Saturday, July 14th 2007
11-8pm at Chaumette Vineyards & Winery

Proudly featuring & promoting Missouri Regional Products
Join us for the day to sample, shop and enjoy what our region has to offer!
Families welcome, kids activities will be held throughout the day, including
turtle racing, kite flying, bobbing for apples and boules!
Chaumette's Grapevine Grill will serve a full BBQ buffet all day,
featuring menu items that include ingredients sold at this event!
free admission; parking $20 per vehicle

Participating Wineries
Chaumette Vineyards & Winery
Charleville Vineyard & Winery
Claverach Vineyards
Durso Hills Vineyards & Winery
Meramec Vineyards
Peaceful Bend Vineyard
River Ridge Winery
Sainte Genevieve Winery
Shady Grove Vineyards
St. Francois Vineyards
Tower Rock Winery
Twin Oaks Vineyard
Vance Vineyard & Winery
Villa Antonio Winery
White Rose Winery
Participating Food Producers
Alpine Dairy Goat Farm, Webster Groves
Claverach Farm, Eureka
Family Friendly Farm, Cape Girardeau
Missouri Grass Fed Beef, Jackson
Goat's Beard Farm, Harrisburg
Hinkebein Hills Farms, Cape Girardeau
Living Springs Ranch, Belleview
Missouri Elk Farmers Association
Monroe Farm, Berryman
Pioneer Apple Orchards & Market, Jackson
Prairie Grass Farms, New Florence
Sayersbrook Bison, Potosi
Sunflower Savannah, Beaufort
Windrush Farm, Farmington

Participating Local Retailers:
The Show Me Shop
First Settlement Country Store
Ivy & Twig
Joyce & Choyce's Antiques & Collectibles
Odile's Linen & Lace
The Stained Glass Shop
Sweet Things
Candle Corner
Deb Says Sew
The Racing Edge
Nancy Dee's Antiques & Collectibles
Lulu's Antiques
Only Child Originals
Ste. Genevieve Tourist & Info Center
Stonie's Sausage Shop, Perryville
The Tiger Sanctuary, Bloomsdale
J. Brick Pottery, Jackson MO

Live Entertainment:
11-2pm: Elsie Parker (French classics & originals)
2-5pm: House of Bishops (Blues, R&B, & Oldies)
5-8pm: Dennis Stroughmatt & L'Espril Creole(Louisiana Creole Zydeco, Cajun & Blues)
For directions and more information visit Chaumette

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Progressive Dinner

The Wineries of Ste. Genevieve
“Progressive Dinner” Weekend on Ste. Genevieve’s Route du Vin
June 2nd & 3rd, 2007
11am - 5pm
Journey down Ste. Genevieve’s wine trail, the Route du Vin for a unique Progressive Dinner!
Along the way, you’ll be treated to fine wine perfectly paired with a delicious
“Progressive Dinner” course at each of our distinctive wineries within our scenic region.
If your ticket is stamped at all 5 wineries, your name will be entered for special Route du Vin giveaways!
A little more than an hour’s drive from St. Louis and Cape Girardeau, journey through the rolling hills,
big skies and beautiful views of the 5 unique wineries on the Route du Vin:
Sainte Genevieve Winery Cave Winery Chaumette Winery
Crown Valley Winery Charleville Winery
Cost: $15/person until May 25th; $20/person after May 25th
(includes complimentary wine glass, and 10% off wine purchased that day)
Please call for advance reservations: Sainte Genevieve Winery (800) 398-1298

Wine & Food Pairing Menu:
Sainte Genevieve Winery
Appetizer Course: serving Mini Quiches paired with their Estate Seyval Blanc

Cave Winery
Salad Course: serving Poppyseed Salad: Spring Greens, Strawberries, Walnuts & Feta, paired with their Chardonel Off-Dry

Crown Valley Winery
Entree Course: serving Norton Braised Crown Farm’s Bison Shoulder with Seasonal Vegetables, paired with their Norton
Proprietor’s Select

Chaumette Winery
Cheese Course: serving Assorted Imported & Local Cheeses, Berries & Homemade Breads, paired with their Estate Chardonel

Charleville Winery
Dessert Course: serving Fruit Dip & Pastries paired with their Genevieve Rivard, Sweet Chardonel

Sainte Genevieve Winery: $50 Gift Certificate Cave Winery: Wine Tasting & Food Pairing for 10
Charleville Winery: $20 Gift Certificate Crown Valley Winery: Crown Country Gift Basket
Chaumette Winery: Signature Chocolates Gift Basket

Join us on the Route du Vin year round for these seasonal events!
November 17th & 18th, 2007: Wine Diva Weekend
February 9th & 10th, 2008: Aphrodisiac Weekend
April 19th & 20th, 2008: “Jour de la Terre” Weekend

For more info, hours and directions, visit:,,,

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

This is a picture of my friend, Julie, passing out the chives on the front porch at the last Route du Vin Passport Weekend, the Jour de la Terre. Stay tuned for our next Passport Weekend Event coming up very soon!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I am happy to announce that we have won more medals. At the National Women's Wine Competition our Cranberry and Red Raspberry won a bronze, the Cherry won a silver, and the Cherry also won a bronze in the Special Womens Winemaker Challenge. Hurray!

Friday, May 04, 2007

I know I asked for rain, but I'm not sure I asked for three days of rain. Can you see the ground hog in the picture? Even he's trying to get out of the rain and into the barn.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

This is one of the better looking Seyval Blanc grapes. You can see a fair amount of new green growth all through the arm. The clouds indicate a storm, and we could use the rain. The weather here is so crazy. I guess every spring is crazy. Yesterday we hit record high temps in the 90's. Today it's 80 something and the humidity is about the same. I'm sitting in front of the computer sweating. Here's hoping the cool front and rain gets here sooner rather than later.
We have very sporatic growth right now in the vineyard. This is one of the worst looking Seyval Blanc grapes. You can see only one bud on the whole arm. Most of the Concord look like this, and we are not expecting too much if any crop on the Concord.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Last field trip for my class; we headed to the Crown Valley Champagne House in Farmington, Missouri. This is a picture of Bryan Siddle showing us the equipment they plan to use when they make their methode champenoise style of sparkling wine. Right now they use the charmat process. The Crown Valley Champagne House just opened last month, and there are some excellent pictures of the opening day event on the Missouri Wine Country website. Thank you, Bryan, and winemaker, Daniel, for an excellent tour.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Red Raspberry is a winner!

More good news streaming in from the Wine Competition world; our Red Raspberry won another Gold medal at the Finger Lakes International Wine Competition. The results are here. The Cranberry also won a bronze.

In my humble opinion, I find that wine competition results are much more accurate than the number system that one editor from one magazine puts on a wine. I could be biased because I am a wine judge, but when you have 2126 wines entered, and being drank and tasted by top wine professionals, sommeliers, winemakers, etc, that is much more reliable and note worthy than any other sort of wine rating system around. So, if you are truely interested in drinking excellent wines, look for the wine competition results- those are the ones that count.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Damage Control?

On Friday, Keith Striegler, director of The Institute for Continental Climate Viticulture and Enology came out to survey the frost damage to the vines. Keith was one of my teachers and mentors from Fresno, and now he works for us here in Missouri. He cut into some buds with a razor blade to see if they were green in the middle, to see how much bud damage we had. If a vine looked really bad, he shaved a small piece of the bark to see green to tell if the vine was even still alive. The Concord and Vignoles are not good at being fruitful on secondary or tertiary buds, so if we get any crop on them it will be a miracle. The Norton and Vidal look about the same, with about 60% damage, and the Seyval is supposed to be one of the most fruitful on secondary and tertiary buds, so he thought we would get a full crop from those vines. He said a frost of this much devastation, from Oklahoma to North Carolina, has not been documented in 118 years.

The next 6 weeks are the most critical, to see what if anything comes back and buds and sets fruit. Our hearts are heavy, our babies are sick, and we will have to be patient for their recovery. As Keith says, "this is a learning experience."

Friday, April 13, 2007


I am very pleased to tell you that our Red Raspberry wine won both the Gold and Best of Class medals at the New World International Wine Competition. What this means is that not only did it win a Gold (an award I have only won one other time) The Best of Class part means that it was the best berry wine in the competition. Yay. Go us!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Remember those healthy looking new Concord shoots I showed you last week? The story is not the same this week. Mother Nature can be cruel. As soon as you feel like you've got the whole growing grapes things figured out, you've mastered your spray schedule, you've pruned to perfection, you've picked a perfect trellis system, something comes along the next year and throws a wrench into your wheel. Is that how the saying goes? The good thing for us, one of the many reasons we grow French hybrids here in Missouri, is that fact that secondary buds are fruitful. How fruitful is the question at large. I'll keep you updated on this dramatic turn of events.

Sad, frost damaged grapevines

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Baby chives waiting for a new home; maybe yours?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Concord grapevines this morning. I was so surprised to see the amount of growth. They are much earlier than last year. I was posting a picture of a grapevine with much less growth last year on April 12th. They are calling for a frost maybe Wednesday night. Here's hoping the weatherman is wrong.

Seyval blanc grapes at bud break. Actually I consider this a little past bud break.
This is a Vidal blanc grapevine at bud break.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Spring is planting time and this spring is no exception. This is our vineyard crew planting cuttings made from existing vines in our nursery rows.