View of the Augusta AVA from Montelle Winery located on the hill top region around the city of Augusta.
|Type||American Viticultural Area|
|Part of||Missouri, Ozark Mountain AVA|
|Total area||15 square miles (39 km2)|
|Grapes produced||Cabernet Sauvignon, Chambourcin, Chardonel, Chardonnay, Couderc noir, Norton, Rayon d'Or, Seyval blanc, St. Vincent, Vidal blanc, Vignoles|
The Augusta AVA was the first federally approved American Viticultural Area gaining the status on June 20, 1980, eight months before the Napa Valley AVA in northern California. Located entirely within the state of Missouri, the boundaries of this wine region encompass 15 square miles (39 km2) around the city of Augusta near the intersection of St. Charles County, Warren County and Franklin County.
The area around the present day city of Augusta was founded in 1836 by Leonard Harold, a follower of Daniel Boone, as a riverboat landing along the Missouri. The town was originally named Mount Pleasant with the riverboat landing known as Augusta Bend. In 1855, the town was incorporated as the city of Augusta. In 1859, Georg and Friedrich Muench founded one of the earliest wineries in the area, Mount Pleasant Winery. Flooding in the Missouri River valley caused the river to change course in 1872, drying up the area's riverboat landing and leaving a distinct soil type in the area between the town and the river. The area's early vineyards were planted in the 1880s and the area began receiving recognition for the distinctive flavors and profile of the wine being produced there. In the later parts of the 19th and early 20th century, the production volume from the area helped the Missouri wine industry compete with Ohio for market share east of the Rocky Mountains. The advent of Prohibition had a dramatic effect on the area causing the closure of local wineries and the uprooting of vineyards. A revival period occurred in the 1960s that lead to the founding of many of the area's current wineries.
At the turn of the 21st century, wines from the Augusta AVA were exported to Germany. In 2003, Augusta Winery's 2001 Chardonel won "Best US wine" from the German wine magazine Selection at their yearly competition in Mainz.
Geography and soil
Located 40 miles (64 km) west of St. Louis along the Missouri River, the area is known for its river bottoms and alluvial plains that follow the winding river. The soil in this area is a type of loam known as Hayne Silt-Loam which is heaviest in clay composition in the areas closest to the river but has more silt concentration in the higher elevations where most of the vineyards are now located.
The Augusta AVA is planted with some Vitis vinifera including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and Merlot as well the Vitis aestivalis grape Norton which is the official grape of the State of Missouri. French-American hybrid grapes like Chambourcin, Chardonel, Couderc noir, Rayon d'Or, Seyval blanc, St. Vincent and Vidal blanc are also popular plantings.
- Code of Federal Regulations. "§ 9.22 Augusta." Archived January 19, 2008, at the Wayback Machine. Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Part 9 — American Viticultural Areas; Subpart C — Approved American Viticultural Areas. Retrieved Jan. 22, 2008.
- T. Pingelton The Soul of Augusta December 8, 2005 Appellation American
- Appellation America (2007). "Augusta (AVA): Appellation Description". Retrieved Jan. 22, 2008.
- Code of Federal Regulations Title 27, Volume 1 ALCOHOL, TOBACCO PRODUCTS AND FIREARMS
- G. Bardgett "The complex world of viticultural areas is rife with wine-geek trivia" Sauce Magazine May 1st, 2006
- B. Durfur Exploring Missouri Wine Country" pg 43 Pebble Publishing 2007 ISBN 1-891708-30-9
- H. Johnson & J. Robinson The World Atlas of Wine pg 269 Mitchell Beazley Publishing 2005 ISBN 1-84000-332-4
- B. Durfur Exploring Missouri Wine Country" pg 35 Pebble Publishing 2007 ISBN 1-891708-30-9
- B. Durfur Exploring Missouri Wine Country" pg 37 Pebble Publishing 2007 ISBN 1-891708-30-9
- A. Garfunkel "Norton: Missouri’s State Grape Harbors Juicy Little Secrets" Sauce Magazine June 1st, 2004