During the month of August, St. James Winery is celebrating Vignoles grapes in honor of Vignoles Month!  This French-American hybrid white grape is one of Missouri’s most versatile since it can be used to make dry, semi, sweet and dessert wines. Vignoles plays a large part in our state’s vineyards, accounting for 15% of all grapes grown in the state. Not only do Vignoles grapes thrive growing in Missouri, but they sell well too. Vignoles is Missouri’s most popular white wine.

St. James Winery has had great success with Vignoles and uses the grapes to make both semi-dry and dry wines. Our Frontier Series Vignoles is an easy-drinking semi-dry white wine that contains floral and fruity aromas with flavors of marmalade and pineapple with a crisp, clean finish. This wine is popular among customers and has won several prestigious awards. We take great pride in sharing that our 2016 and 2017 Vignoles together brought home five gold medals in several international wine competitions this year. With wine from all over the world being judged, this is a major accomplishment!

St. James Winery also uses the best of our Estate-grown Vignoles grapes to create our Dry Vignoles as part of our Winemaker Series. It has a beautiful floral nose with juicy, bright flavors of melon, peach and pineapple. Dry Vignoles possesses a crisp, light mouthfeel with excellent acid and a fruity finish. Our Dry Vignoles has also competed well this year with winning a Double Gold and two Gold in 2018. Our 2017 Dry Vignoles took home Best of Class and Gold in the Indy International Wine Competition this year.

We invite you to celebrate “Vignoles Month” this August by picking up a bottle of Missouri’s most popular white wine. You can find our Frontier Series Vignoles in our Tasting Room, online or in a store near you, and our Winemaker Series Dry Vignoles exclusively in our Tasting Room and online.


August’s wine of the month is Traminette!

You may have recognized Traminette before from being part of the Podium Series as sold in our Tasting Room. The Podium Series is designed to highlight certain wines for research and development. After seeing how well Traminette grew in popularity with our customers, we decided to move it to the Winemaker Series. The Winemaker Series contains select wines that are handmade in small batches and features the best grapes within our vineyard selected by the St. James Winery Cellar Crew.

Traminette provides fantastic floral aromas with intense citrus and honey flavors with a hint of white pepper at the finish. Well balanced with a crisp acidity, this wine is perfect with spicy Asian or Thai.

Traminette is a limited release wine and is available exclusively at the St. James Winery Tasting Room and online. Get a bottle of Traminette and check out the rest of the Winemaker Series today!

This refreshing recipe will leave you and your guests wowed and wanting more.


1  1/4cup of Country White Wine

1/4 cup of sugar

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (optional)

1/2 cantaloupe cut into bite-sized pieces

1 pint fresh strawberries hulled and cut in half

1 cup blueberries


Place wine with sugar in a saucepan over medium heat to dissolve sugar. Remove saucepan from heat and add mint. Set aside. Combine fruit in a large bowl and toss with wine mixture until all fruit is covered. Cover and chill to store in refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours before serving.

Our St. James Winery vineyard team works hard year-round to grow the best flavors. Bud rubbing is an important task that typically takes place in late spring and directly impacts the way the grapes develop.

By removing the shoots and buds that are starting to grow on the lower parts of the vine, it helps send all the energy and nutrients into the grapes and canopy during this important growth time.

Watch William McIntyre, a member of our vineyard staff, show how it’s done in the St. James Winery vineyards:

Now that you are familiar with what bud rubbing is and how it impacts our grapes, taste the fruits of our past labors!

Our hearts and souls are poured into each bottle of wine. The story of St. James is found in the Italian culture, and the winemaking and farming traditions of the Meramec Highlands. It’s a special place – like no other, where life is sweeter.

Grape and wine production have a long history in the St. James area. Known locally as the Meramec Highlands, our region is also fondly known as “Little Italy of the Ozarks” thanks to the establishment of an Italian settlement in the area more than 115 years ago. The Italians who settled here planted vineyards, and by the 1930s over 1,000 acres of grapes dotted the landscape.

These Italian immigrants were very important to Missouri’s wine industry. Instead of destroying their vineyards during Prohibition like others in Missouri, they formed a fruit grower’s association in order to keep growing and selling the grapes, as well as other fruits, to grocery stores in St. Louis.

During WWII, Welch’s® steps into the story. Welch’s remembered the quality of the area’s Concord grapes. When they received a government contract to supply the military with juice, jams and jellies, Welch’s contacted the Italian immigrants and set up an exclusive long-term contract for supplying them with grapes from 1941 to 1991.

Within Welch’s agreement, the Italians negotiated to be allowed to sell small quantities or quarts of their grapes to individuals. Every year during harvest, these Italian immigrants would set up grape stands along I-44 and Route 66 to sell their fruit to those living in the area and those traveling along the highways. The original Italian families still carry on the tradition to this day.

Throughout the years, making wine from the grapes they grew for family and community consumption was also part of the Italian tradition.

When Jim and Pat Hofherr established the St. James Winery in 1970, they were inspired by the Italian immigrants and the wines they made. Velvet Red, the winery’s first and still best-selling wine, was developed to pay homage to the Concord-based wines made by the Italian community.

The Friendship School House is the winery’s icon and represents a time when the Italians sent their children to the one-room school and where they gathered for community events. In addition to The Friendship School being our icon, it appears as a drawing on the Velvet Red, Velvet White and Pink Catawba labels.

On the Country Red, Country White and our new Concord wine labels, the drawing of the truck driving on Route 66 represents our vineyards, which are right along “The Mother Road.”

Today, Concord grapes still play a staring role in our Velvet Red, Country Red and Concord wines.

Today, through constant research and development, St. James Winery continues to sustainably grow flavors that reflect the natural character of each of our grape varieties and of the special place they are grown – the Meramec Highlands. This is where we make wine to make your life sweeter.


St. James Winery and the Missouri Wine and Grape Board are excited to announce the launch of the Missouri winery Visitors’ Program (MVP). MVP will reward visitors to Missouri wineries through points redeemable for unique rewards. The program will officially launch on Thursday, September 1, just in time for the first weekend of Missouri Wine Month!

Participating wineries, including St. James Winery, will hand out MVP tickets, each with a unique code, which program participants can collect every time they visit. These codes are then entered into a free account the participant creates on MissouriWineMVP.com for points. The first visit to a winery will earn participants 500 points, with visits 2-10 to that same winery being worth 100 points each, and 11+ visits to the same winery accruing 10 points each. Points are redeemable for rewards on the MVP website. The best strategy to earn points for rewards is to explore Missouri wine country – visit new wineries throughout the state and you’ll not only earn more points, but you will also discover great wineries and award-winning wines along the way!


Wine enthusiasts to those new to the wine scene will have the opportunity to get acquainted with St. James Winery and Missouri wines… and earn points for each winery visit! With more than 125 wineries and 10 wine trails in Missouri wine country, what are you waiting for?

Although wineries will not be handing out tickets until September 1, those interested in becoming an MVP can register ahead of time on the program’s website MissouriWineMVP.com. For more information about MVP, please review the program Terms and Conditions and FAQ on the MVP website.

2015 Vignoles Beat Out 308 wines for Missouri Wine Competition’s Top Award

St. James Winery won the prestigious Missouri Governor’s Cup for the second year in a row. Out of seven best-of-class winners, the 2015 Vignoles, a semi-dry white vignoles, took the top award at the Missouri Wine Competition. A total of 308 wines were submitted from vineyards across the state to compete in the premiere competition designed to recognize and promote quality wines made in Missouri.

The winery’s 2015 Dry Vignoles and Friendship School White also won Gold Medals. Additionally, St. James Winery won four Silver Medals and five Bronze Medals for wines entered in other categories.

“We are extremely proud of Andrew Meggitt and his team on this outstanding achievement,” said Peter Hofherr, St. James Winery chairman and CEO. “Over the last three years, the team has won five international wine competitions, two Governor’s Cups and scored a top 14 ranking in the world. These are truly extraordinary accomplishments given the challenging weather patterns we’ve experienced. Without the day-to-day hard work and attention to detail in the vineyards and cellar, these incredible results would not have been achieved.”

2016_governors_cupThe Missouri Wine Competition took place in Columbia, Mo. on July 19 and 20. The competition is judged by the top wine and beverage experts from around the nation. Only Missouri wines are judged in this competition – those that received best-in-class honors were considered for Governor’s Cup.

Missouri’s premier white varietal, the Vignoles, is a French-American hybrid grape. Out of 150 acres of grapes that St. James Winery farms in the Ozark Highlands American Viticultural Area (AVA) of Missouri, 10 percent are Vignoles.

Founded by the Hofherr family in the Meramec Highlands region of Missouri in 1970, St. James Winery, located in St. James, Mo., is celebrating 46 years as a family owned and operated winery. It is Missouri’s largest and most awarded winery. St. James Winery produces 500,000 gallons (225,000 cases) of wine per year and is sold in 18 states and Washington D.C. For more information, visit StJamesWinery.com or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

A Benedictine monk named Dom Perignon is credited with discovering the artful blends of wine and the process that creates the famous bubbles of Champagne. Before it was fine-tuned by the monk, champagne was originally found the same way many great breakthroughs are… by accident.

In homage, our champagne-making process had some disasters that led to greatness.

It had been 17 years since the last time St. James Winery winemakers put their hand to making our exceptional Brut Champagne American. For last several years, Executive Winemaker Andrew Meggitt and Winemaker Aaron Spohr carefully considered undertaking this laborious (but rewarding) endeavor. The two spent time at several Californian champagne houses, studying various methods. In 2015, the time for procrastination reached an end and they agreed it was time to start the meticulous process again.

During the harvest, juice from two different grape varieties, Valvin Muscat and Aromella, was selected and set aside. Each was fermented separately into a completely dry wine. No sulfites were added to ensure a second fermentation cycle, a critical step in making sparkling wine. The two wines were blended to create a mélange, which became the base for the champagne.

In mid-December it was time for tirage bottling, the all-important start of the second fermentation that produces the smooth bubbles for which Champagne is known. This step happens in the same bottle purchased by the consumer.

The steps immediately prior to tirage bottling have significant impact on the final result. First, a culture is built up by adding wine, sugar, and yeast suited for champagne together in carefully monitored amounts for a few days until the yeast multiplies from a bucket-sized to barrel-sized volume.

Next, sugar is added to the base wine to give the yeast plenty of food for the second fermentation. At this stage, fate stepped in and threw our winemakers a curve ball: because of an error in a set of complex calculations, too much sugar was added to the wine, “overfeeding” the yeast and jeopardizing the fermentation process. Typically at that point, the base wine would have been unacceptable for champagne.

For many winemakers, an error of this magnitude means scrapping the project and chalking it up as an expensive failure.

St. James Winery winemakers, however, are experts—Andrew, Aaron, and their team have the spirit and wisdom to overcome the bleakest of challenges thrown their way.

Using 60 gallons of unsweetened base wine, the winemakers made lemonade from lemons. Hedging their bets, the winemakers created three separate batches, or bins, of champagne, used three slightly different blending methods.

Each bins’ bottles were filled with their appropriate blend along with yeast, and capped with crowns that resist pressure in the bottle as second fermentation proceeds. As with many sparkling wine batches, not every bottle survived the second fermentation, bursting from the pressure.

Next, the remaining wine was aged on the yeast lees and moved to riddling racks that help move the remaining sediment from the yeast into the neck of the bottle. To clear the champagne, an ice plug is frozen in the neck of the bottle. When the plug is removed, the sediment goes with it. This process is called disgorging.

After the ice plug is removed, the bottle is topped off with dosage, a champagne liqueur that fills the remaining space in the bottle. It is then corked and a metal cage is placed on top, holding the cork in place despite the pressure inside the bottle. The bottle is scrubbed clean and a foil cap added over the metal cage. Finally, the bottles are labelled and ready to be enjoyed.

After the earlier miscalculation, the winemakers created the three different bins, hoping that one, if not all, would produce the desired wine. The team was pleasantly surprised to find that all three bins were of excellent quality, each with its own delicate nuances.

From potential disaster to greatness, these three unique Brut Champagne American sparkling wines from St. James Winery surprise your senses. Only available in our tasting room in St. James, Missouri, we encourage buying all three as they are released throughout the year to see if you can detect the subtle character of each. Each bin can be identified by a small sticker on the back of the bottle in the lower right corner.


Sonoma, CA—St. James Winery 2014 Vignoles of the Ozark Highlands, Missouri was voted the Best White Wine at the recent East vs. West Wine Competition held in Santa Rosa, CA. On its way to the top prize, Vignoles was also named Best White Wine at the International Eastern Wine Competition.

The IEWC, which includes wines from all over the east coast and Midwest to the continental divide, determined the best wines in various categories (Sparkling, White, Rose, and Red), with the winners tasted blind against the best from a concurrent West Coast Competition. The St. James 2014 Vignoles won over a noted California Sauvignon Blanc.

“We are delighted at this prestigious honor, and very proud of our team here at St. James for their commitment to quality in the vineyards and wine cellar,” said CEO Peter Hofherr. “Their efforts and the professionalism of the competition judges confirm that we make superb wines here in Missouri.”

In addition to Vignoles’ top prize, St. James Winery Friendship School White, a blend of estate grown grapes, was also judged as Best of Class for white blends. St. James Winery also won several other medals for other wines.

“Vignoles is a grape variety that grows very well in Missouri, and can make different styles of wine from dry to medium sweet and even late harvest dessert wines,” said Executive Winemaker Andrew Meggitt. “It is encouraging that even judges from California, where they don’t grow Vignoles have an appreciation for its special aroma and taste.”

The 2014 Vignoles has already won a host of wine competitions. It was awarded the Missouri Governor’s Cup and named Best Wine in Missouri and a last July. Other awards for the 2014 Vignoles include three Best of Class, two Double Gold, and four Gold medals.

In 2015 St. James Winery wines won a total of more than 200 medals in major wine competitions including 13 Best of Class awards, 7 Double Gold medals, and 36 Gold Medals, and during the first two months of 2016, St. James Winery has already won more than 40 medals.

St. James Winery, the largest and most awarded winery in Missouri, has been making exceptional wines for more than 45 years. Learn more about St. James Winery at stjameswinery.com.

About St. James Winery Vignoles
Bottle Shot
Tasting Notes

About the Wine Competitions
International Eastern Wine Competition
East Meets West Wine Competition

The days are getting longer, and that extra bit of sunshine is perfectly suited to St. James Winery’s newest wine, Sauvignon Blanc.

Our Sauvignon Blanc is a crisp dry white white featuring aromas of guava, kiwi, and white peach. Expect a bright, fresh palate and characteristic flavors of key lime and bell pepper.

Since trout season is right around the corner (opening day is March 1!), plan a day here in St. James Missouri at Maramec Spring Park!

Stop by the winery to pick up some Sauvignon Blanc, and then pair it with appetizers of herbed cheeses on crackers and a main entree off fresh grilled trout.