So the best friend got married last weekend and needless to say it was beautiful! She lives in Eastern Missouri, which is home to a little thing I like to call “Missouri Wine Country.” I know when one pictures Missouri, wine probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Actually I don’t know what anyone pictures when they think of Missouri. I can only hope it’s awesome things, like Nelly. And Tech N9ne for their crazy flow. Back to my point though, the unappreciated Missouri wine industry basically saved the world’s wine producers back in the day.
In the mid-1800s, Missouri received a great deal of German and Italian immigrants. These immigrants settled along the Missouri River bluffs in Eastern Missouri and planted clippings from European vineyards that they had brought with them from the Old Country. At the turn of the century, Stone Hill Winery in Hermann, Missouri was the third largest winery in the world, producing more than a million gallons of wine annually. Missouri was actually the nation’s second largest wine producer for some time, and its wines won numerous awards internationally. And then it gets better. In 1876, a parasite began attacking vineyards in France and Italy. Luckily a strand of grapes resistant to the parasite was found in – you guessed it – Missouri. So you’re welcome France and Italy, the Show Me State has your back. Apparently there are statues in Montpelier, France commemorating Missouri!
Prohibition kind of put a damper on things, and the 100+ wineries in Missouri were forced to close. However, the wineries experienced a revitalization period beginning in the late 1960s, and today the industry is again thriving and Missouri is currently the tenth largest wine producer in the U.S.
So there’s your fun fact of the day. And I’ll admit it, I think my standards for fun facts have gotten lower since graduate school. Lo siento! But hey, use it on Jeopardy. Or at your next cocktail party, you’ll be the hit. Man, the Missouri tourism board owes me.