Missouri festival showcases area winemakers - KCTV5

Missouri festival showcases area winemakers

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EXCELSIOR SPRINGS, MO (KCTV) -

The Missouri Wine Festival is now seven years in and getting bigger and better at showcasing the fruit winemakers have become great at tweaking - the grape.

"Missouri wines are just easy to approach, wonderful to drink. We have all kinds of flavors - sweets, dries, reds, whites, pinks, everything you could possibly want," festival co-chair Jim Bowman said.

And with the growth of the wine industry in the state comes events like the festival, where the emphasis is education as much as enjoyment.

"That is key for consumers to know what they're drinking, what kinds of wines we can produce here, because we're not a California," said Sarah Schmidt with the Missouri Wine and Grape Board. "We can't do a lot of the varieties, the Cabernet Sauvignons, the Merlots, but we do produce good, quality wines and wines that we can grow here in the state."

Last year's drought did a number on farmers and winemakers, but there is actually a silver lining when it comes to the grapes that make up these wines.

"As a grape grower, it was very hard on the grapes, and over-wintering with a lot of stress. On the wine side, if the grapes are stressed just a little bit, it really brings out the characteristics of the wine," Schmidt said.

According to the Missouri Wine and Grape Board, the 120-plus wineries account for $1.6 billion and 14,000 jobs for the state.

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