|(Wenwood Farm Winery is located about 35 miles southwest of Hermann. Follow Hwy. 19 south from Hermann to Hwy. 50. Turn west on Hwy. 50 and travel approximately 10 miles to Mt. Sterling. At Mt. Sterling travel south on Hwy. A for 4.6 miles to Brick Church Rd. Turn left onto Brick Church Rd. for 1 mile to the winery.)
Got wine? That's the question often asked at Wenwood Farm Winery, a Century Farm that has been in the Neese family for four generations. Current owners, Laura Neese and her husband, Tom Kalb, live in the old farmhouse on the 400-acre farm. "It's Grandma's house to me," said Laura, who has many memories of visiting her grandparents at the farm.
The bucolic setting for the winery is a former dairy farm that produced award-winning Guernsey cattle. When Laura and Tom took it over nearly 10 years ago, they converted the calf barn into a tasting room, the dairy barn into the wine production area, and the bull barn into the event pavilion. Many items used to decorate the tasting room - tools, photographs, and old deeds - were found in old sheds on the property. "They were a good old German family. They never threw anything away. I pooh-poohed it, but they came in handy," Laura said. There is a lot of history here.
Winemaking is something Tom has been interested in since he was 14 years old. Raised in Wisconsin, he worked at a fruit and berry winery there for 10 years. "That's where he gained an affinity for wine making," Laura explained. Tom got additional experience working at Stone Hill Winery and Bias Winery when the couple moved to Missouri in the early 1990s. Laura worked several years at Hermannhof Winery.
The couple does not maintain vineyards at this time. They purchase grapes locally for their wines. Production began in 2001. Laura mentioned that milk production and wine making are similar in several ways. Everything must be kept very clean and both require lots of stainless steel tanks. In fact, Laura and Tom use some of the old milk chillers for the cold stabilization process in making their wines.
A large part of the business at Wenwood Farm Winery involves special events. The open-air pavilion is used most Saturday nights during the summer months. In winter, they move into the sales and tasting room. Summer concerts feature musicians, mostly from the Jefferson City area, who play a wide variety of music including bluegrass, jazz, folk, blues, and even some Cajun. Winter events include a hayride, a nouveau dinner and Christmas gatherings. A special menu is available during every event. Laura uses Wenwood Farm wines in many of the recipes that are served. Swiss Meat Company sausages and cheeses are available for sale anytime, as are wine and soft drinks. A listing of events can be seen on the winery's web site at www.wenwoodfarmwinery.com. Or, you may contact the winery direct by calling 573-437-3443.
The winery is located at 1132 Brick Church Rd. It is open year round. Summer hours (during Daylight Savings Time) are from 10 to 6 Monday through Thursday, 10 to sunset Friday and Saturday, and 11 to 6 on Sunday. Winter hours are 10 to 5 Monday through Saturday and 11 to 5 on Sunday.