Look who's racking up the wins in national and even international competitions. None other than several regional wineries.
St. James Winery, about an hour south of Columbia, Missouri, returned from the 16th annual Monterey Wine Competition with three double-gold medals and one gold, for chardonel, concord dessert wine, strawberry wine and country red wine respectively.
Three Missouri wineries and a Kansas winery also took home hardware from California's 2009 Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition. Blumenhof Vineyard
, an hour west of St. Louis, earned best of class for a 2008 vignoles, while St. James Winery earned two best of classes and two golds. Les Bourgeois Winery
near Boonville earned two silvers. On the Kansas side, Wyldewood Cellars
, which has a retail store at the Legends (1843 Village West Pkwy) earned silver for a 2008 Blackberry.
Finally, at the 2009 San Diego International Wine Competition, Stone Hill Winery
which has outposts in Hermann and Branson, earned a double gold and two golds, both of the latter coming for the vignoles varietal. St. James Winery walked away with another Best of Show in the fruit category with its strawberry wine. It also took home three more gold medals.
These awards just prove what Doug Frost once told me: that Kansas and Missouri are never going to grow cabernets or chardonnays like California does, but in dessert wines, Missouri has some of the best he's ever tasted. St. James Winery's utter domination of three competitions proves that point.
For those thinking about summer day trips, most of these wineries offer tours, some with little or no advance notice. Go taste a medal winner for yourself.