VisitMO editor's note: This article reprinted with permission of 417 Magazine; to see the original content, please click here.
The Ozark Mountain Wine Trail might be one of the lesser-known gems among wine connoisseurs, but don’t let the sometimes-quiet tasting rooms keep you from sampling some of the best wines the region has to offer.
Located in southwest Missouri, the trail winds through picturesque terrain from Joplin to Seymour, offering visitors breathtaking views and a relaxed, country atmosphere.
The Ozark Mountain Wine Trail is a Missouri non-profit organization established in 2007 that is made up of 10 wineries and distilleries in the Ozark Mountain America Viticultural Area. Wine trail members include: 7C’s Winery, Walnut Grove; Keltoi Vineyard, Oronogo; Lewsi Winery, Galena; Lindwedel Winery, Branson; OOVVDA Winery, Springfield; Tyler Ridge Vineyard Winery, Springfield; Whispering Oaks Vineyard & Winery, Seymour; White Rose Winery, Carthage; Williams Creek Winery, Mount Vernon; and Copper Run Distillery, Walnut Shade.
“We aim to promote grape growing and the wine industry in the area, increase public awareness of growing grapes and the making of wine in the region, and to exchange information and work together for the betterment of the wine industry in the region,” says Jim O’Haro, association member and owner of White Rose Winery in Carthage.
Established in 1986, the Ozark Mountain American Viticultural Area (AVA) is the sixth largest wine area in the United States, covering southern Missouri and parts of Oklahoma and Arkansas—totaling 3,500,000 acres.
It includes five smaller AVAs within its boundaries: the Hermann AVA, Augusta AVA and Ozark Highlands AVA in Missouri.
Missouri wine-making dates back to the late 1830s, when German settlers arrived and planted grapevines in the town of Hermann, on the flanks of the Missouri River. That makes Missouri the oldest wine region in the country.
The rolling hills and rocky soil in the Ozarks help to grow great wines and offer beautiful views, but the climate and the soil can be challenging for wine makers. It takes a hardy vine to grow well under those circumstances. Vintners along the Ozarks Mountain Wine Trail have helped to develop strains of grapes that are perfectly at home in the Midwest climate.
Indulging in wine tasting along the trail means becoming one with the outdoors. As you sample the hand-crafted wine, you are encouraged to bring a picnic full of food to nibble on.
At the Keltoi Vineyard, you can picnic beside the Little Northfolk Creek. Live music is the norm at many vineyards on the weekends. Some locations sell food on-site, and the 7C’s Winery also offers grills for people to use, so they can prepare their own meals.
So pack up the cooler, find a designated driver, and spend the day navigating some of the state’s juiciest wines.