What is in this article?:
- Wine grape growers find bounty in Missouri
- Expensive to experiment
- Missouri wine and grape growers produced more than $1.6 billion in total economic value to the state in 2009.
- The economic value is almost triple the benefit seen in 2005, thanks to a nearly doubling in the number of Missouri wineries from 50 in 2005 to 97 in 2009.
- Missouri’s continental climate presents significant challenges for grape production.
Expensive to experiment
“It is very expensive for grape growers to experiment, so that’s a service we do for the Midwest wine industry,” Li Calzi said. “With every new vintage you don’t know what to expect, and there’s quite a large variability from vintage to vintage.”
With any luck, these new varieties will join Missouri grape mainstays like Norton and Chardonel, adding to Missouri’s distinctive wine menu.
Experimental wines created at ICCVE also look to expand Missouri wine tastes. Li Calzi draws on his Italian heritage to adapt winemaking styles like that used to make Italian Amarone. To make this wine, he dries grapes on mesh racks for about a month until the sugar reaches a certain concentration. This creates a rich wine with an alcohol content around 15 percent, which is higher than normal.
“All the components in the grapes are concentrated, which make it a full-bodied wine with aging potential that is very long,” Li Calzi said. “Some Amarone’s last for 20 years, and I think by using local grapes we can make an wonderful product.”
Li Calzi said that new wines like this have potential to broaden the love of Missouri wine, adding the breadth of drier, less sweet wines.
People usually start drinking sweet wine, he said. “But after they keep having interesting wine they eventually become dry wine drinkers. We’re trying to improve the culture of the wine, but also educate students, growers and people.”
Find out more about MU ICCVE at http://iccve.missouri.edu.