Tag Archives: Crown Valley Winery

Marriage between wine and whiskey: it’s all in the barrel

By Rachel Dotson

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Whiskey barrels age 500 gallons of chardonel and norton wine at Crown Valley Winery. Photo by Rachel Dotson

STE GENEVIEVE, Mo — Wine enthusiasts may not agree with Alwyn Dippenaar’s latest project, but that isn’t stopping him from trying his hand at aging wine in whiskey barrels.

Crown Valley Winery is planted among the rolling hills in Ste Genevieve, Missouri, and is known for its winery, brewery and distillery. Six-year winemaker at Crown Valley Winery, Alwyn Dippenaar’s new project is one of only a few that experiments with chardonel and Norton in whiskey barrels.

The concept isn’t very common amongst winemakers. Typically, wine is aged in American or French oak barrels made and toasted specifically for wine. The wine gains different flavors and aromas from the oak, which adds to the tasting quality of the wine.

Not only are whiskey barrels smaller, many winemakers believe that the darker toast of the whiskey barrel can have a major effect on wine flavor, Dippenaar said.

Dippenaar said he is experimenting with the concept as he goes.

“It’s got a charcoal character to it,” Dippenaar said. “That is why I need to keep tasting it and make sure (that flavor) doesn’t get too (strong).”


Alwyn Dippenaar, winemaker at Crown Valley, describes the fermentation process for white and red grapes. Photo by Rachel Dotson

His experimental batch of 500 gallons has been aging for around six months. The barrels once stored whiskey that was scored at 95 out of a 100-point scale by Wine Spectator, Dippenaar said.

Crown Valley Winery offers 25-minute winery tours at 12 p.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. For information Crown Valley can be reached at 886-207-9463 or visit its website.

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Filed under MU Journalism Abroad, Science ad Agricultual Journalism, wine

Sippin’ soda in the vineyards

By Shane Sanderson

HERMANN, Mo. — Skip the grocery aisle and head out to Missouri wine country to find craft sodas to whet your whistle. Here are my two favorites found in the shadows of grape trellises—

Black cherry Wurst Soda from Hermann Wurst Haus, Hermann

The walls of the Hermann Wurst Haus are lined by awards owner Mike Sloan has won over the years for his bratwurst. Sausage, bacon and numerous flavors of brats pack meat coolers. Make sure you don’t overlook the sodas.

The brat-shop stocks five in-house flavors of soda, all made with cane sugar—black cherry, root beer, orange, cream and grape–no cola on the menu. I went for the black cherry option, which the house advertises as “reminiscent of fresh picked cherries.”

The taste has almost none of the bite I typically associate with a black cherry soda. The mouthfeel is light, moderately carbonated, accentuated by a subdued sweetness. The color is rich, dark ruby.

The flavor doesn’t quite touch the experience of eating cherries by the side of the road in front of an Ontario, Canada, cherry farm, but it comes as close as a soda can.

You can find the full line of sodas at Hermann Wurst Haus on 234 E. First St. in Hermann, or you can order it online.

Country Folk Cream Soda from Crown Valley Winery, Ste Genevieve

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Tiffany Campbell, bartender at Crown Valley Winery in Ste Genevieve, says the in-house cream soda is their most popular soft drink. Photo by Shane Sanderson

Intricate wood carvings on the bar stand in striking contrast to the cutting-edge stainless refrigeration systems poking out over the catwalk from the lower floor of Crown Valley’s massive wine operation. Try sipping cream soda in the midst of the fermented products next visit, not wine.

Crown Valley stocks nine in-house flavors: eight “Country Folk” options—black cherry, root beer, grape, orange, cream, diet root beer, two colas, and Fizzy Izzy root beer. After resisting the temptation to try Kickin’ Cola, I grabbed a cream soda.

The rich amber color of the soda sparkled in the light. After cracking the twist top, I was blown away by the crisp cream flavor. There is no mistaking this cream soda for anything but. On the back of the sip, however, surprisingly nuanced flavors of pear and spice come through the soda’s mellow sweetness. Mild carbonation keeps the drink refreshing, not heavy.

You can find the sodas online, or at Crown Valley’s winery or distillery, both in the hills outside Ste Genevieve.

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Filed under craft soda, MU School of Journalism, Science ad Agricultual Journalism, Uncategorized