This Concord sweet red wine is a tribute to the Concord grapes grown in the Ozark Highlands along Missouri’s Historic Route 66 for over 115 years.
When Italian immigrants settled in the St. James area, they planted vineyards. By the 1930s, over 1,000 acres of grapes dotted the landscape. When Prohibition started, grape vines across the state were ripped from the ground. The Italians in the Ozark Highlands region approached the situation differently and were key to keeping Missouri’s wine industry alive.
“Instead of destroying their vineyards during Prohibition like others in Missouri, the farmers formed a fruit grower’s association in order to keep growing and selling grapes, along with other fruit, to stores in St. Louis,” said Peter Hofherr, St. James Winery chairman and CEO. “During WWII, a long-term contract with a prestigious juice, jam and jelly company helped make the local Concord grapes famous. The farmers even negotiated to be allowed to sell small quantities or quarts of fruit to individuals. They set up grape stands and sold grapes to those traveling along the highways.”
Every year during harvest, Italian descendants from the St. James area still carry on this tradition by setting up Concord grape stands along Historic Route 66 to sell their fruit to travelers.
The Concord wine is juicy and sweet, with an intense grape jam flavor and light finish. Serve it at refrigerator temperature, over ice or mixed with a club soda to create a light, grape spritzer