Vines and Wines

Symposium unites research community to improve Missouri's grape and wine industries

From tales of bold undergraduates who siphoned wine from the basement of Mizzou’s original academic hall while curators met above, to exploring the genetic potential of Missouri’s wild grapes, the second annual Grape and Wine Symposium covered the rich history and recently rediscovered potential of the wine industry in Missouri.

Several Missouri wineries use Norton, Missouri’s state grape, in their wines.

The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources’ (CAFNR) Grape and Wine Institute (formerly ICCVE) hosted the half-day event to showcase current research, provide an environment for dialogue and collaboration among faculty from across the region, and connect with Missouri grape growers and winemakers.

Ingolf Gruen, associate professor of food chemistry and interim director of the Grape and Wine Institute in CAFNR, dedicated the event to the memory of his friend and colleague, Dr. Anthony Peccoux, who died in November.

More than 100 people attended the event, which included presentations by faculty from University of Missouri, Missouri State University, St. Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis.

Justin Fay, associate professor of genetics at Washington University, discussed his research on yeast strains.

In the last 10 years the number of wineries has tripled in Missouri, according to research by Fabio Chaddad, assistant professor of agricultural economics at the University of Missouri. Chaddad is examining what factors lead to success in three emerging wine regions—Missouri, Michigan and New York—and shared his preliminary results at the event.

The Grape and Wine Institute is working to grow Missouri’s wine industry at its experimental wine laboratory in Columbia, at wine-grape cultivar plots at the Horticulture and Agroforestry Research Center (HARC) and Southwest Research Center, through extension outreach programs and industry partnerships across the state.

Ingolf Gruen reflects on the current progress and discusses potential growth opportunities.

Attendees sampled Missouri wines while networking at the symposium