Hermannhof Winery & Vineyards
Hermannhof Winery provides a glimpse into small town German traditions of days gone by. Construction of Hermannhof’s ten magnificent arched stone cellars and charming brick superstructure, both of which are on the National Register of Historic Places, was completed in 1852. Hermannhof’s wine making was initially a small part of this very successful brewery. By 1904, the Hermann area produced 3 million gallons of wine, most of which were produced by small wine growers, many of whom utilized the facilities of Hermannhof.
Prohibition began a forced long sleep for Hermann with the vineyards being uprooted and the equipment destroyed or sold to Europeans. In 1974, the Hermannhof Cellars were purchased by the Dierberg family and renewal began. Today, all the cellars are utilized in premium wine production of 15,000 cases. These historic cellars contain casks made from white oak from the forests of France and Missouri. Here the wine continues to improve with age until it is dispatched to bring joy and sunshine to connoisseurs. Other cellars are employed in the making of sparkling wine in the original “méthode champenoise”.
The soil and climate of the Hermannhof vineyards distinguish them as one of those unique pieces of the earth’s surface capable of producing fine wines, with average rainfall of 26.8 inches and 3927 growing degree days (50 F. Base). Some 11,000 Hermann acres were settled and cultivated into grape production prior to Prohibition. However, Hermannhof had limited vines and property.
In 1978, a search was made for the most ideal site for grape growing. Soil composition, micro climate, and historical data were gathered and the University of Missouri consulted. This culminated in the purchase in 1979 of two leading and connecting vineyard/farms of 1837, totaling 300 acres. This consisted of an upper and lower farm with ideal slopes and scenic vista.
A fifty acre vineyard was laid out the next year. The lower farm/vineyard was the Christopher Weber vineyard and farm first planted in 1837. About Christopher Weber, history books read:”…a famed dairyman, vintner, and musician.”Little Mountain vineyard was planted in 1837 by Julius Ruediger-a famous wine grower of his day. His original stone and log vintner’s cabin remains unchanged with rows of vines radiating from its source. This site has one of the highest, if not the highest, elevations and vertical drops along the Missouri River.
Hermannhof’s Ruediger or upper vineyard is located on the high bluffs at the confluence of the Gasconade and Missouri Rivers. The vines are protected from night frosts due to the two rivers, the mist from the river keeping frost away from the grapes. The morning mists rising from the rivers supply warmth and humidity which is often important. Due to the elevated area of the bluffs and the rivers, this vineyard can produce temperature variances of as much as 25 degrees F. from the surrounding valleys and plain.
The soil is Menfro, which is well drained and has a high water capacity. This upper vineyard has deep soils providing root penetration deep within the earth, producing wines which age better than wine made from vines grown in the valleys or in light soil. The incline of these high slopes enable the grapes to utilize the full power of the sun, producing wines of full fruit and maturity which are a delight to viticulturist and connoisseur alike.
Grapes becoming wine is a natural process. Hermannhof is designed to preserve the grapes’ natural character and quality. To make Hermannhof wines the most natural to exist, the winery not only utilizes the latest equipment and methods, but has provided funding, equipment, and personnel that have attained national recognition in original viticulture and enological research. At Hermannhof, the vineyard manager and winemaker are partners in excellence.
This time-honored philosophy imparts a unique sense of place to each of our estate-bottled wines – it’s what the French call “terrior”. This extraordinary dedication to the vintner’s art results in wines of distinction that win gold medals at top wine competitions around the world. Hermannhof is America’s only two-time winner of the prestigious Brown-Foreman Trophy for “Best New World Wine”. There are a few special places on earth where the marriage of soil and climate is blessed by great wine grapes. The vineyards of Hermannhof Winery are among them.
Before Prohibition, some 11,000 acres of grapes covered the hillsides in and around the German community of Hermann. The winegrowers of Hermannhof set out to find the ideal location for their vineyards, studying soil composition, micro-climate, and historical data. Perched high above the confluence of the Gasconade and Missouri Rivers, Hermannhof’s Little Mountain Vineyard has one of the highest elevations and vertical drops along the entire length of the Missouri River.
The sloping terrain enables the grapes to capture the full power of the sun, while rising mists from the rivers below protect the vines from frost. Deep, well-drained Menfro soil allows each plant to send its roots far into the earth resulting in classic, structural wines that improve with age, delighting the viticulturist and connoisseur alike.
Hermannhof remains a small winery dedicated to quality rather than quantity. The quality is apparent as America’s only two-time winner of the Brown Forman Trophy for “Best New World White Wine”. Our wines have also won medals and honors at these distinguished competitions:
- San Francisco International Wine Competition
- Taster’s Guild International Wine Competition
- National Orange Show-Pacific Rim International Wine Competition
- New World International Wine Competition
- San Diego National Wine Competition
- Riverside International Wine Competition
- InterVin International Wine Competition
- International Eastern Wine Competition
- Missouri State Fair Wine Competition
- World Wine Championships
- Grand Harvest Awards
In addition to fine wines, our Hermann MO Winery is also proud to offer delicious locally-made German sausages. The winery offers quaint, intimate settings perfect for a small, quiet lunch by a crackling fireplace, or a spring picnic in the shade of the grape arbor. Our Hermann winery is open daily for tasting, sales, and cellar tours. We are located in beautiful Missouri Wine Country on Highway 100 at the eastern edge of Hermann, near the Missouri River, with easy access to the Amtrak station and antique shops.
Hours of Operation:
10-5 Mon-Sat, 11-5 Sunday