Whispering Oaks Vineyard and Winery

  (Seymour, Missouri)
Vineyard View

June Happenings

May was wonderful.  Good rains, good weather and good events.  Maifest at OOVVDA was a success.  We also attended Spring Fling at Le Cave in Billings, Mo and Pierce City Arts Fest.  It was great to meet so many people interested in wine and in buying locally produced wines and woodworking.

 The vineyard is doing very well.  No fungus issues, and the vines have put on more grapes than usual.  If all goes well, we should have a great harvest.  This means we will have enough grapes for ourselves, our commercial customers and for the home wine or juice makers.  

The 5th Annual Grape Stomp is set for October 2nd.  We have a BBQ crew set and should have the music folks ready to go as well.  It is always a great event with food, music, hayrides in the vineyard and the stomp. 

I have been thinking about the amount of petroleum products it takes to bring wine to Missouri from California, Washington, New York, Australia, South Africa, Europe, and South America. California vineyards demand a lot of water from an area that has no natural water resources.  Buying local wines just makes good sense if you are someone who is concerned about the environment.  We only use what spraying is needed to keep fungus in check, no pesticides and we do not irrigate.  The most our grapes travel is 2 miles from the furthest point on the farm to the winery.  We will be visiting a local bottle producer too.  No more imported bottles for us.  This keeps local people employed and cuts down on the petroleum used.  One more element is that our customers get to try our products before buying them.  Its a win for us, the planet and the customer.

Okay, off the soap box.  Have fun in the summer heat and we'll have the wine chilling in the fridge for you!


 
 

May's Update

Wow!  April was so busy!  The pruning is pretty much done.  We participated in the Missouri Food and Wine Festival at Chateau on the Lake in Branson, Mo.  We also participated in Maifest at OOVVDA Winery in Springfield, Mo.  We'll be at Le Cave Winery in Billings, Mo and at Pierce City Mo's ArtsFest in June.  Details coming soon!

 The vineyard looks so lush and thriving.  We could do with a bit more rain, but otherwise, all is going very well.  The grapes bloomed on schedule and the berries should be setting soon.  Yes, grapes do have flowers.  It is not something most folks get to see.

 Nathan and John took some of their wares to Bakersville for the Spring Garden Festival.  John sold a lot of his metal work.  He is completely out of his treble clef dinner bells.  It was wonderful to meet so may people who are interested in buying locally produced good.  John and Nathan demonstrated metal working using John's portable forge.  It was great!

 Hope to see you soon!

 
 

Spring in the Vineyard

April is almost here.  Time to switch to the spring and summer schedule.  We will be closed for Easter Sunday.  Monday, April 5th we go back to 11 am to 7pm, 7 days a week.

The vineyard looks much better after getting its late winter/early spring "hair cut".  The sickle bar mower did a great job of clearing through the worst of the canes.  It really let us get the vines back to the cordons.  The Catawba were absolutely wild looking.  They are the most vigorous of all the varieties we grow and they are the least fun to prune.  

It looks like the vines are slowly waking up.  As long as the nights stay cool, the risk of losing buds to a frost is reduced.  This is probably the most anxious time of the year for us.  Harvest means all is well so it is good stress.  Spring makes you sit and wait and hope you make it through without a sneaky killing frost. Mother Nature can be fickle.  2008 was the worst.  Many Missouri vineyards lost their harvest.  Ours was significantly reduce by that late frost.  

We are looking forward to spring and summer.  Come by and have a picnic on the veranda.  Enjoy a beautiful day in the Ozarks with some good food and a glass of wine.

Happy Easter! 


 
 

March came in like a lamb.

March came in with wonderful temperatures and great weather.  Hopefully it is "goodbye" to the below average temps.  We are trying some new pruning techniques, mostly due to being so behind schedule.  Hedge trimmers seem to do a great job when used with care.  The wires and the trimmers do not get along.  We are looking at using some methods used in the larger vineyards out west.  We just don't have the people power to take care of the 13 acres (more or less) that we have in production.  The younger vines near the winery still get the TLC that only pruning by hand can provide.

 

I get lots of questions about starting grape planting this time of year.  The secret is to wait.  I know it looks nice and the breezes are warm, but don't be fooled.  The night time temperatures can really drop in a hurry.  April 15th isn't just Tax Day, it is the "average" last frost for southern Missouri.  After this time, go ahead and give it a go.  Grow tubes are advisable as well.  Use a bamboo stake and a grow tube to prevent critters from eating the tasty shoots that will soon appear.  It also keeps them from being accidentally mowed over or stepped on.  The tubes are reusable so they are friendly to the earth.  They are great for berry bushes/canes and other garden goodies.

 

If you are interested in vineyard management, give us a call or send an email.  We'll be happy to talk with you.  Better yet, stop by and we'll give you a tour.

 
 

Spring is on it's way!

February is the shortest month on the calendar, thank goodness!  This month brought snow, rain, wind and cold temperatures.  Today it was over 50 degrees.  Strange weather when El Nino is in full swing.

 We finally made it to the vineyard for some pruning.  Things look very good so far.  We're almost out of the coldest part of the season.  We are expecting rain, which will make the vineyard soggy again.  Pruning is vital to a healthy, productive vineyard.  We'll just have to slog on and get it done.

Valentine's Weekend was great!  Lot's of folks out with their sweeties.  Visiting the winery and vineyard is a great cure for cabin fever.  The promise of the summer can be seen in the vines.  It makes the gray days of winter a little warmer.  

If you have any questions about vineyard management, feel free to visit, give us a call or fire off an email.  The best way to learn about vines and wines is hands on experience.

Stay warm, spring will be here before you know it!

 
 

Valentines Day

Wow, what a winter so far.  Record cold the first week of January and then snow, and more snow... Yikes!  It is making it tough to get to the vineyard.  The ground is just saturated making it difficult for the truck.  We don't want to do any damage.

Hopefully the worst is behind us, but being an El Nino year, we tend to have a wet winter. 

We've been bottling to restore our stock after Christmas and New Year's.  So far, everything has been tasty, no leaks in the seals on the tanks to get oxygen to the wine. That happened in the past and ruined some great vignoles.  It was sad to see all that time and effort destroyed.  It pays to do QA when you bottle.

 An economical and fun Valentine's treat might be a trip to the winery to select the perfect wine to accompany a wonderful home cooked meal.  A day with your special someone in the country, antique shopping, wine tasting, and then an evening to snuggle and enjoy your finds.

 Best wishes!

 

 
 

January

We are on our winter schedule.  We may get to do some pruning now that the temperatures are bearable.  The first week of the year was abnormally cold.  Hopefully, there isn't too much frost kill to remove.

 Nathan now has his wooden bowls on Etsy.  Another venue to sell his artwork.  We also joined the Missouri Tourism website VisitMo.  This should be a great opportunity for us.

We are looking at visiting the small fruit and vegetable producers conference in February.  They partnered with the Missouri Department of Agriculture to emphasize agritourism this year.  Great speakers from the Mountain Grove Fruit Station, MU Extension centers, Lincoln University and MSU.  Tours of local producers and many people in the value added agriculture business.

 Stay warm and give us a visit soon!

 
 

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!  We'll be on our winter schedule now that the holiday season is past.  Our hours will be 12 to 6 Wednesday to Sunday.  Closed on Monday and Tuesday.

This is pruning season in the vineyard.  We usually start in February and prune through March.  This has to be done in a time when the coldest temperatures are over, but the sap has not begun to move back up to the vines.  It is nice to get outside if the weather is cooperating.

There is a lot of artwork on display at the winery.  Nathan continues to create bowls and vases.  The photography of the Ozarks is still available.  A good friend of ours is making great decorative metal works. 

A great way to beat cabin fever is to get out into the country and see what the Ozarks has to offer.  Antiques, flea markets, wineries, and great restaurants are open for business on this side of Springfield.  You can also tour Amish Country in the Fordland and Seymour area. 

Check us out on Facebook as well.

 
 

Holiday Musings

The year 2009 is nearly at a close.  It has been 12 years since we began the endeavor into the grape and wine business. It will be our 6th year at the location on Highway 60.  It seems like yesterday when construction began on the wine cellar.  It is amazing how time flies.

 We look to 2010 and for more events, more opportunities to share the art and science of wine making and to teach others about vineyard management through VESTA.  

Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year!

 
 

Winter is on!

The holidays are upon us and the cold air has arrived.  The grapes are getting their well deserved winter's nap.

 We still have some juice to sell.  Catawba and Saint Vincent.  Great for jellies or home wine makers. Please call the winery for availability.

 We have lots of turned wood, metal works, and photography by local artists in our tasteing room.  We have Amish made "Goot Essa" natural cheeses and many wine related gifts.  Don't forget sparkling wine for New Year's!

Pruning season will be here before we know it.  You have to time pruning to be when the vines are still dormant, but you are past the worst of the cold weather.  That will make it easy to identify any winter kill so it can be removed to maximize fruiting.  If you have vines of your own, please contact us if you have questions about proper pruning.


 
 

Fall Is Here!

Wow!  It is November 1st already! 

Things have slowed down since harvest.  We've done some bottling to catch up with sales.  The reds have been taken off their skins and put into barrels to rack.  The whites should be ready in January. The flavors are great so far, despite the large amout of rain we've had this year and the very cool summer temperatures.    

We are working on an experimental batch of peach wine.  A local orchard had a large number of "ugly peaches" and wondered if we could try to make some wine from the pressed peaches.  My fingers are crossed.  I love peach wine!

 Nathan is getting a lot of turned wood projects done.  Beautiful oak, cherry, honey locust and walnut bowls, vases, and boxes will be added to the works he has on display now.  He also has some wine bottle stoppers made of burl wood that are gorgeous.  The are heirlooms in the making.  Most of his materials come from the farm.  The trees are usually damaged, diseased or felled by one of the many storms we had this summer. 

We are looking into having a tasting on the day after Thanksgiving.  A nice relaxing event that involves no malls, traffic jams, parking lot trolling or long walks to the door.  Free tasteing and lots of great gift ideas, many of them produced by local artisans.


 
 

Harvest Season Summary

The grapes did very well this year.  The cool temperatures and rains slowed things down, but overall a good year.  Sold Catawba to some wineries north and east of us.  

We made some Traminette wine for the first time this year.  So far, it is very citrusy.  It should develop some nice tropical fruit flavors over time.  There was only enough for a carboy this year, hopefully more next year as the vines mature.

 There was enough Frontenac to ferment this year.  We had an unofficial "QA" tasting as a "beaujolais nouveau".  Lots of flavors for such a young wine.  There is a lot of potential for this wine.

 The grape stomp was a success despite the cool weather.  The hayrides were very educational.  Many visitors picked Catawba, St. Vincent, and Vidal grapes for a snack on the way back to the winery.  The St. Vincent vines are turning a vibrant shade of red this year.

 

 
 
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