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Hermann Hill Vineyard & Inn

 OCTOBER 2005 NEWSLETTER

To our Guests & Friends,

During our first few years of operation, October was like most other months. Fridays and Saturdays were extremely popular, but mid week primarily was devoted to business guests. As more visitors discovered Hermann as a destination, our mid-week bookings have gradually increased to where we run about 95 percent occupied for 300 days a year. That includes many multiple night, mid-week stays. October is the month that began this trend and perhaps best illustrates some of the changes that we see in visitors' perceptions of Hermann.

We take this to mean that our guests come here to experience Hermann and the surrounding area because of its broad appeal year round. They come to relax in the country, visit the wineries and breweries, museums, shops, and restaurants, and attend art events, house and garden tours, and musical and theatrical productions. Tourism here is a 365 days-a-year business. (Check the local calendar on our web site for upcoming events.)

The evolution of October in Hermann
October in Hermann does not mean what it did a few years ago -- a place to come to party on weekends. There are still special events planned most weekends in October that draw lively crowds, but activities are not limited to just weekends. For many local businesses like Stone Hill Winery* whose Winefest in 1970 became the forerunner of Oktoberfest, nowadays it's 'business as usual' every day in October, and throughout the year.

Stone Hill Winery
Visitors in Hermann will experience the beauty
 of wine country during the month of October.
 This photo of Stone Hill Winery was taken from
 Hermann Hill Vineyard and Inn.

Winefest started as a one-day celebration to mark the end of the grape harvest at Stone Hill. Visitors were invited to tour the winery, sample wines, visit a crafts show, and listen to live German music. By 1974 it had grown to include four Saturdays during the month and the name was changed to Oktoberfest. Later, the festival grew to include Sundays.

By 1984, the festival had grown so large that the city passed an ordinance requiring the event to be sponsored by an organization -- not just by Stone Hill Winery. Since there were three productive wineries in town (Stone Hill,* Hermannhof,* and Adam Puchta), the Hermann Vintners Association was formed. With three wineries participating, a larger advertising budget was possible. In 1990, Bias Winery joined the vintners organization.

But in the early 1990s, attendance had increased so much at Stone Hill that changes had to be implemented to actually decrease the size of the crowds at the winery. Since 2000, all reference to Oktoberfest has been dropped, and it's 'business as usual' at Stone Hill on October weekends. As the winery's public relations director Patty Held-Uthlaut said, "We're open the beautiful month of October for tours, wine tastings, German food, and to let our guests experience the beautiful countryside. We tell our guests about the wonderful things they can do in the month of October in the heart of Missouri wine country in Hermann. We feel it creates a more family-friendly atmosphere, especially for our long-time customers who prefer to sit on the hill and just enjoy the beautiful countryside."

Carolyn and Glenn Warnebold, owners of OakGlenn Winery, recognize that much of any winery's annual revenue comes from events such as Oktoberfest. "We believe the continuation of Maifest is also very important because the roots of tourism in Hermann have grown from both Maifest and Oktoberfest." But, the Warnebolds also are promoters of year-round tourism and host live entertainment most weekends from spring through fall along with other special events.

The folks at Adam Puchta Winery feel much the same way. They are all about family, wine tasting, and having fun, but not to the extent of out-of-control partying. "Oktoberfest is very important to our revenue as well as the other events happening year round in Hermann," said winery owner Tim Puchta.

Paul LeRoy, general manager and winemaker at Hermannhof Winery said, "Hermannhof Winery continues to support year-round tourism in Hermann as well as Oktoberfest. October in Hermann provides our many visitors a family-friendly atmosphere during a beautiful time of the year. The Oktoberfest affords economic conditions that are so important to the small shop owners that contribute greatly to what Hermann is all about. A stroll through the Hermann central business district visiting shops, taking a drive through our historic town, visiting a museum or two, or stopping at a winery or two to enjoy some wine, food and music (on weekends) is a perfect way to spend an October day."

The Hermann Vintners Association was re-formed last January. It consists of seven family-owned wineries within 20 miles of Hermann. In addition to the four wineries that were part of the former association, OakGlenn, Bommarito, and Robller wineries have joined the new organization. In an effort to attract tourists to the Hermann area all year, the association is developing special events to be held along the Hermann Wine Trail. The next event is the Holiday Fare Wine Trail scheduled for Nov. 19-20. So far, the vintners have four events lined up for 2006. For a listing of Hermann Wine Trail events, click on www.hermannwinetrail.com.

Brush and Palette Club to the rescue -- again

It has been said that the Hermann Brush and Palette Club contributed to bringing Hermann into the modern era of tourism in 1951 when the organization presented a resolution to the Hermann City Council to raise funds for the preservation of an important historic building, the Rotunda*. Now, 54 years later, they are at it again.

The building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, also is listed on Missouri's Ten Most Endangered Historic Places for 2005. Built in 1864 by the Gasconade County Agricultural Association, the Rotunda is believed to be Hermann's and Gasconade County's oldest publicly owned structure. It was used for agricultural fairs, mainly associated with the wine industry. When Prohibition put an end to wine making, the building was sold to the City of Hermann. For several decades it served as a center for community events, but lack of funds contributed to its deterioration, and demolition was imminent. 

Rotunda
The historic Rotunda and bandstand are being
 restored as part of a revitalization project at
 Hermann's city park.

But, the Brush and Palette Club stepped up to the plate in an attempt to save the Rotunda from the wrecking ball. The organization, comprised of a group of people whose common interests were to draw and paint, met weekly to do just that. They were students of the late Anna Hesse, an artist and historian. During the winter they mostly painted indoors, but when weather permitted, they headed outside to paint Hermann scenes.

During a session at the Hermann City Park,* the artists noticed that the Rotunda was in need of repair. It was missing doors and windows and the floor was rotting away. Learning of the city's plan to demolish the building, the group decided to save it by organizing art fairs and bazaars to sell their artwork, offering the proceeds for the repairs.

Once again, the Rotunda will be repaired and restored through projects spearheaded by the Brush and Palette Club. The estimated cost of repairs is $300,000, a far cry from the $1,500 price tag 54 years ago. The first fund-raising event was held on Sept. 25, supported by concerned, historic-minded citizens.

On October 8 and 9, the club will host the 54th Annual Arts and Crafts Festival at the Hermann Elementary School and Community Center. Admission is free. Proceeds from the event will benefit the Rotunda and the revitalization project at the Hermann City Park. Check the local calendar on our web site for a listing of this event.

Up, up, and away with Bart Engemann's scenic tour flights

What are the most important things kids take to college -- computers, sound systems, electronic equipment, maybe even books? For Bart Engemann it was his airplane. While most 18-year-olds don't know what they want to do when they finish college, Bart not only knew, but had accomplished much of his dream before he even left home.
Bart's head has been in the clouds, so to speak, since he was about 11 years old, the age at which he decided he was going to be a pilot. Two things happened that clinched his decision. When ground conditions prohibited crop spraying on the family farm in 1990, a crop duster was hired. At the end of the workday, Bart watched the pilot do a couple maneuvers over the Engemann's home in Rhineland. "I can directly relate that day to saying, 'I want to do that,'" said Bart. A few weeks later, Bart showed up at the local municipal airport and saw Harold Bish, a retired commercial pilot, with his plane. Harold offered young Bart a ride. "Once I got off the ground I really knew what I wanted to do," he said.

Bart Engemann

Bart Engemann offers scenic tour flights of the Hermann area in his Cessna 172.

When he was 13, Bart took an airplane ride with Howard Wehrmann, a flight instructor in Montgomery City, Mo., " ... and that turned into a lesson," explained Bart. He was hooked.

With his parents' blessing, but not their financial support, Bart found ways to earn money for flying lessons with Wehrmann. He did odd jobs around the family's grain elevator to earn enough money to purchase one lesson at a time. Sometimes it would be several months until he could afford another.

At 14, he was too young to get a pilot's license, but he was old enough to fly on his own. He arranged for a loan from a local bank to purchase a single-seat, ultra-light plane. Before his 15th birthday he soloed in it, counting down the days until his 16th birthday when he could earn his license.

A FFA requirement during Bart's freshman year at Hermann High School was to select a project that involved running a business. His teacher allowed Bart to set up an aerial photography business. About the same time, Bart had his eye on a bigger plane. "You always want something bigger and faster, so I purchased a kit to make a two-seater." For his shop project, the teacher allowed him to build several sections of the new plane at school. "It was pretty neat for them to let me do that," he said. This was the CH-701 kit plane Bart took to college.

Bart earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Aviation Technology with a focus on piloting from Central Missouri State at Warrensburg. He was a member of the school's intercollegiate flying team his freshman year when the team won at the nationals. At Warrensburg, he built up flight time and improved his skill levels in navigation, landings, and the like.

Going to off to college with a pilot's license already in hand put Bart a bit ahead of some of his classmates. Therefore, he could spend his time earning more ratings. The summer between his sophomore and junior years Bart got his first flight instruction job at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield, and he instructed at Central Missouri State during his junior year. By then he was qualified to fly for a cargo company in Kansas City. He flew light, twin-engine planes at night for eight months and attended school during the day.

Bart explained that aviation is a stair-step process to getting enough experience to continue to the next level. He said it was a combination of starting early and the support of willing parents who allowed him to build, and buy and sell, airplanes that gave him a jump-start. With the ultra-light he learned the basics of flying. Building the two-seat kit plane contributed to his understanding of the mechanics of a plane. A four-seater he built allowed him to fly in the clouds and earn an instrument rating. Then he acquired a twin-engine, six-seater. "I gained a whole bunch of experience on my own by buying and selling, rather than renting, airplanes," he said. By his fourth year at college, Bart was qualified to fly with the commercial airlines.

Allegheny Airlines, a subsidiary of USAirways, hired Bart right out of college in 2001. He flew for a couple of years until he was furloughed in the fall of 2003. By early 2004, Bart decided to go into business for himself. "Basically, I've always been very interested in the business side of aviation. I'm still a pilot number one, but it's always interested me to start a business in aviation."

Bart owns and operates Engemann Aviation Service LLC, which is based at the Hermann Municipal Airport near his boyhood home. He offers scenic tour flights of the Hermann area, instructional flights, and charter flights. "I'm a year and four months into the business, and I'm still enjoying it. I get to fly every day, and the flight instruction is very rewarding," he said.

Scenic tours give visitors a wonderful way to experience the Hermann area any time of year-from the air. The half-hour flights cover about a 30-mile circuit along the Missouri River during which Bart points out local wineries, vineyards, and various points of interest while sharing his knowledge of local history. He'll customize the flights so guests can fly over their bed and breakfast, a restaurant where they might have had a meal, or a winery they may have visited. Local passengers can request a flight over their own homes. As Bart said, "They're the boss for that half hour."

Bart flies a four-seat Cessna 172, and can take up to three passengers at a time. He describes the plane as a single engine, propeller airplane with good, solid, flying characteristics. "I really enjoy tour flights, especially with people who haven't done it before."

For a guaranteed reservation (weather permitting), Bart recommends making reservations at least a week in advance. However, some days he can take passengers on short notice. Bart can be reached by calling 573-690-4812 or at EngemannAviationService@hotmail.com.

Artists of Wine Country open their studios in October

Potter's Wheel
Hermann potter Artur Hohl is one of the artists
 whose studio will be open during the Artists of
 Wine Country tour in October.

Eight Hermann artists will open their studios and galleries for a two-day tour October 15 and 16. Some will demonstrate their craft, and all will have their artwork available for purchase. Several of the venues are located in the historic district in downtown Hermann along the route of Hermann Hill's three-mile walking tour. Others are just a short drive from town. No admission is charged to take the tour.

A printed tour guide that includes artist profiles and a map is available at Colorful Brushes* on Fourth Street on tour days only. Studios will be open from 10-5 on Saturday, Oct. 15, and 11-4 Sunday, Oct. 16. A number of the artists' shops and studios are open to visitors throughout the year.

Beer is always in style at the Hermann Brewing Company

Twice a year, Hermann Brewing Company* produces festival brews-Oktoberfest and Maibock. These represent actual European beer festival styles. But, no matter when you choose to visit, beer is always fresh and in season at the local brew-pub. Seasonal beers include Spring Ale, Summer Blonde, Winter Ale, and even Pumpkin Ale.

Joe and Crissy Hoefle, owners of Hermann Brewing Company, produce beer all year, except during December and January when it is too cold for fermentation to occur. Crissy said that unlike wine production, beer must be produced constantly because of its short life. Also, since beer does not age like a fine wine, the Hoefles rely upon daily tourism to drive the need for ongoing production.

The production schedule at the brew-pub allows it only to be open three days a week (Friday-Sunday). However, pre-scheduled activities are held during the week: Beer School 101 and Private Tasting Parties. Groups of 4-50 can participate. Reservations must be made two weeks in advance. For reservation information, e-mail Hermann Brewing Company at operations@hermannbrewing.com.  

Hermann Hill Village update

We now have four of the first five footings and foundations completed, with only #4 remaining for phase 1. Cottages #1 and #2 are under roof and Cottage #5 has the sub floor. Most of the stucco is completed on Cottage #2 and stone work is just beginning.
We have also posted 2006 rates on the web site for both the "Hill" and the "Village". You will note that two couples can stay in a cottage for the same price as on the hill, and if more than two couples book Cottage #1, the rate is less for the third and fourth couple. Cottage #1 is the only one of the first five that will accommodate more than two couples.

Cottage 3
Foundation of Cottage #3

We obviously have not yet selected names for the first five cottages, but you can expect that their names will reflect Missouri River historic themes and events. Cottage #1 will probably be associated with Lewis and Clark, Cottage #2-Riverboats, Cottage #3-the Hermann wharf, Cottage #4-building the 1929 Bridge, and #5-building the 2005 Bridge.

To view more photos of our progress, click on the Hermann Hill Village page.

Hermann Hill Village

* (You will note an asterisk (*) throughout the newsletter. This indicates a reference to Hermann Hill's Three-Mile Walk. Information about the walk is on our web site.)

November newsletter: The Shops of Hermann.


Hermann Hill Vineyard and Inn
711 Wein Street - P.O. Box 555 - Hermann, Missouri (MO) 65041
Phone: (573) 486-HILL (573-486-4455)  |  Fax: (573) 486-5373
Email: info@hermannhill.com  |   Website: www.hermannhill.com