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Midwest summers are infamous for being hot, sticky, humid, and — above all — unpredictable.  Andrew Meggitt, St. James Winery’s executive winemaker, learned this very quickly when he first began making wine in Missouri after stints in New Zealand and France.

This summer has been particularly difficult for Midwest winemakers because of its unseasonably cool temperatures, heavy rainfall, and high humidity — the perfect recipe for diseases like downy mildew and black rot.

Missouri’s June rainfall was nearly double that of recent years. Add that to slightly cooler temperatures (averaging a high of 84 degrees Fahrenheit compared to an average of 87 degrees) and above-average humidity, and you can see how the weather has presented some unique challenges for St. James Winery.

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There’s always something special about the third Thursday in November — Nouveau Day! Get your first taste of St. James Winery’s 2015 growing season with our delicious Nouveau wine today!

This year’s Nouveau is a beautiful dry red is made from a select blend of grapes. The 2015 Nouveau has flavors of black cherry and plums. A beautifully crafted wine, it’s well-structured with a lasting finish.

Nouveau is specially made to be enjoyed young, so it will taste delicious alongside whatever you’re serving on your holiday table. And because our Nouveau is produced in small quantities, fans of this fall wine know to shop early!

St. James Winery is one of a very few wineries in Missouri to make a Nouveau wine, which makes this Nouveau a rare opportunity for wine lovers to get a sneak peek at the grape harvest which just ended. It’s part of St. James Winery’s end of harvest celebration!

Nouveau wine customs date back many years and find their roots in the Beaujolais region of France where Nouveau began as a celebration commemorating the end of the grape harvest. However, in a cash-strapped Europe after World War II, the Beaujolais wineries and winemakers developed a wine style designed to be enjoyed right away, without an extended aging process. When the Nouveau was sent to stores in Lyon, France, for sale on the third Thursday of November a new tradition was born.

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As of 9:19pm on August 11, harvest is on here at St. James Winery, and so far the results have been absolutely glorious!

“Throughout the summer, our Meramec Highlands region has received abundant rainfall,” said Andrew Meggitt, executive winemaker for St. James Winery. “The fruit quality has been outstanding, and the taste profile of the grapes is excellent. So far we’re very well pleased with the 2015 harvest.”

Already this season, St. James Winery has harvested Aromella, Niagara, Rougeon, Seyval, and Vincent. These blending grapes make up some of your favorite wines. For instance, Seyval finds its home in Pioneer White and Rougeon is found in our Friendship School Red.

We’re all harvesting Vignoles, but the waiting and ripening continue with blocks of Chambourcin and Norton grapes.

Pick up a few bottles of your favorite grapes!

Celebrate Missouri Wine Month

With more than 100 wineries calling Missouri home, there are plenty of places to visit on a wine tasting tour to celebrate Missouri Wine Month. So grab some friends, get in the car, crank up the tuns, and enjoy a wine-tasting road trip!

Be sure to schedule time for at stop at the St. James Winery Tasting Room to sample the 2015 Missouri Governor’s Cup award winner: St. James Winery’s 2014 Vignoles!

Visit the Missouri Wine and Grape Board at MissouriWine.org to learn more about Wine Month and winemaking in the State of Missouri!

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Wine making begins in the vineyard, so when the summer growing season becomes the fall harvest season, things get busy in both the vineyard and the cellar at St. James Winery. The 2014 harvest is underway and looking promising.

Each year the start of St. James Winery’s harvest is officially marked when the first grapes hit the crush pad at the winery. The 2014 harvest began when a load of Cayuga grapes arrived from the vineyard on August 17 at 7:51 pm. Since then, the winery’s harvest crew has been working around the clock to bring in the rest of this year’s grapes.

“A long, cold winter left us wondering if spring would ever arrive. The summer growing season was quite temperate, but the last bit of late summer heat put the finishing touches on the grapes and they ripened quickly,” said Andrew Meggitt, Executive Winemaker at St. James Winery. “This year the grape quality is exceptional. The grapes really look good. What we’re noticing in particular is that the fruit is especially aromatic and flavorful.”

Since the beginning of harvest, St. James Winery has processed over 1,000 tons, or two million pounds of grapes. Cayuga, Chardonel, Chambourcin, Concord, Niagara, Rougeon, Seyval, Valvin Muscat, and Vignoles have all seen the crush pit. Norton, the official grape of the State of Missouri, and Traiminette are still hanging on the vines, but are expected to be harvested soon.

“Our vineyards are producing world class wines.” said Peter Hofherr, CEO at St. James Winery. “St. James Winery won three major international competitions and earned over 70 gold medals in 2014, which makes us, once again, one of the most awarded wineries in the country.”

St. James Winery, the largest and most awarded winery in Missouri, has been making exceptional wines since 1970. St. James Winery wines are sold in stores throughout the South and Midwest. The winery is online at www.stjameswinery.com.

Summer is winding down at St. James Winery. Harvest is well underway, and now the trick is to make room in the cellar by moving out the last of our summer seasonal Mango Wine.

That’s where you come in!

Take advantage of our end of the season special pricing on Mango Wine. At only $8.99/bottle, it’s a great deal, and when you fill a case box with Mango or any combination of 12 bottles of our wine, you automatically receive our 10% case discount.

And when the temperatures begin to feel like fall, try a little Mango Heat.  Pour the Mango Wine in a snifter glass, add a little splash of brandy or moonshine, then give it a stir with a cinnamon stick.  You’ll be warm and toasty in no time.

Grape harvest is getting closer, and the St. James Winery winemaking staff is checking on the grapes regularly to see how they are doing.  It’s always a guessing game as to when the grapes will be ready, so each year the winery has a Harvest Pool to predict the start of harvest.

Please join our Harvest Pool with your best guess!  Here’s what you need to know:  1) at St. James Winery, we mark the official start time of harvest at the moment the first grapes hit the crush pit, and 2) think late in the day when those sugars get all nice and happy.

The person who picks the date and time closest to the actual harvest start time is the winner!  The lucky person will receive:

  • Official 2013 St. James Winery Harvest Crew T-shirt
  • Opportunity to join Andrew for a private barrel tasting

Go to our Harvest Pool Entry Form and enter your best guess.  Harvest Pool closes at midnight August 4th, so visit us online and enter today!

Harvest 2012 is has proven to be one for the record books.

In all the years St. James Winery has been in operation, no one can ever remember harvest beginning in July, but thanks to very hot summer temperatures, the grapes were really on the grow.

Usually at the end of August, harvest crews would still be in the thick of things, but because an early start means an early finish, harvest 2012 is really winding down. The only grapes remaining in the vineyard are a few Chardonel grapes and, of course, the Norton, which always takes its good sweet time to ripen.

What does the harvest look like so far?

Around 1,200 tons of grapes — including Seyval, Niagara, Cayuga, Rougeon, Chambourcin, Valvin Muscat, Vignoles, Catawba, Chardonel, Concord — have hit the crush pad. We expect the Norton to be ready very, very soon.

Everyone in Missouri has complained about the heat and drought this summer (did we mention it’s was brutally hot here?), but because the vineyards are irrigated, the lack of rainfall was not problematic.

There was, however, another side effect to the drought. The minimal rains paired with our carefully controlled watering meant less disease pressure on the vines. There were fewer insects, and the rot issues which can arise with too much rain were non-existent.

Everyone on the winemaking staff is thrilled with the exceptional grape quality and outstanding flavor profiles, so we’re already looking forward to the third Thursday in November (the 15th this year!) when we release our 2012 Nouveau — a first taste of this season’s harvest!