Whispering Oaks Vineyard and Winery

  (Seymour, Missouri)
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Fall Update

It was a great harvest this year.  It wasn't our best, but better than last year.  The hot weather really concentrated the sugars, so it should be a good vintage.  The yeast is almost done doing it's magic to convert sugar to alcohol.  

The stomp was phenomenal!  We doubled our attendance and had a great time.  We added a 3rd hayride to make sure everyone got a vineyard tour.  

The foliage is brilliant this year, the vineyard is gold and crimson.  Stop in for a tour and a picnic on the veranda.  The sunsets are so beautiful, the really make the color stand out.


May Showers

It's been a rather rainy and cool May.  The vines are looking good, but we've had to use fungicide rather early in the year.  We fertilized and are spraying for phylloxera as well.  It's all just general maintenance to ensure a healthy vineyard and increase our chances for a good crop.

 We had a nasty hailstorm on the 12th, but it looks like the golf ball sized hail did no harm to the buds.  

We encourage you to check us out on Facebook.  Nathan and I frequently post pictures, events, and other vineyard news. 

 The Slow Foods folks will be out June 25 for a tour and wine tasting.  Should be a fun event!


April Showers Bring Great Wines

After a long, nasty winter, spring has arrived.  We've had great weather for working in the vineyard the last few days.  The Catawba are starting to get their leaves.  This is a nervous time for us as we hope the temperatures stay above freezing.

 Nathan and Larry have discovered Eutypa (Dead Arm Disease) in the St. Vincent vines.  They are working to replace the blighted plants via trunk renewal.  This explains why our St. Vincent harvest has been getting smaller.  Literature shows that this vine is particularly vulnerable to this disease.

 The folks from Slow Food Southwest Missouri will be visiting the farm for "Get a Farmer Day" on June 25.  This should be a great educational opportunity.  Great people who love local products. 

Nathan sold a few more bowls and I sold a pewter grape cluster I cast in soapstone I carved.   Nathan is looking forward to making more things for the gift shop.  He tried turning some sassafrass.  Not a good idea.  The root beer smell gets too strong.

Hopefully we'll have good April showers and no late frosts.  Here's to a great growing season in the Ozarks! 


Marching Toward Spring

Lots of pruning going on in the vineyard.  The Catawba had a lot of frost damage from 2008 to clean up.  We are definitely going to fertilize, boron and love these guys back to good health.  They should have a much better harvest if the weather place nice for us this year.

 We will be at The Library Center on March 29 for a Meet the Farmer event with Slow Food Southwest Missouri.  This should be a lot of fun!

 The days are getting longer and warmer.  We'll be back on our Spring and Summer schedule on April 4th.  Our hours will be 11am to 7pm, 7 days a week.  We'll be closed on Easter Sunday. 

Soon we'll have dogwoods and red buds in bloom, then the leaves will start to unfurl.  Those are wonderful days to sit on the veranda and sip some Whispering Oaks Rose'.

 Here's to a spring with no late frost, gentle rains and some sunny days!



Pruning Season

We survived the blizzard of 2011.  Seymour got sleet more than anything.  All the snow and sleet are gone and we are in the vineyard pruning.  The mechanical pruner is doing a great job.  It really speeds things up for us.  

Our St. Vincent seem to be struggling at the south end of the vineyard.  It looks like they are staying too wet for their liking.  We're going to have to add more plants in the more sloped northern portion.

We bottled Catawba and Whispering Oaks Red last week.  They are really popular these days. 

 Come by for a free tasting and tour.  The weather has been perfect for it!


Old Man Winter

Old Man Winter is here and he seems to be staying for a spell.  The snow blanketing the vineyard is beautiful.

We're testing out our newly created mechanical pruner.  The first trial looks great.  This will really help us manage the vineyard better.  We have at most 3 people to do the pruning on 14 acres of grapes.  If the weather is uncooperative, it becomes hard to keep up with pruning.  The tractor mounted pruner will do the hard part of removing the overgrowth so we are freed up to do the fine tuning of the fruiting wood.

 Our wines are now available at Mama Jean's in Springfield, MO and at 2 local restaurants.  Mama Talis' Mexican Restaurant in Fordland, MO and The Tank Room Steakhouse in Seymour MO.

 If it gets too drab in the city, come on out and enjoy winter's beauty in the vineyard.  The view from the St.Vincent portion of the vineyard is breathtaking.



I have been a bit negligent in my blogging.  It's been a very busy late fall and early winter.  The new bottles from A Glass Container are wonderful!  We love them.  I am pondering getting some of their jars for home canning.  Jelly from our grapes...it could be yummy.

Now that the holidays are near, keep your neighbors in mind who have great local gifts.  Wine, hand turned bowls, cheeses, and other wonderful locally made items are unique, use less carbon, and keep our dollars close to home.  Our bubbly wines are a must for New Year's Eve parties.  We have a white and a "pink" that is just sweet and tart enough to partner well with most snack foods.

We are looking for outlets for our wine in the Springfield metro area.  More info to come soon.

The vineyard looks great, the vines are in their winter slumber.  We could use a little more moisture to keep them happy.  They will look so beautiful then the snows finally arrive.

May you have healthy, wealth, peace and happiness in the New Year.

 Merry Christmas and have a wonderful 2011!


October Events

The newly created pruner attachment for the tractor is completed and testing is underway.  This will really help with vineyard management.  We could even expand a bit since this will speed up the late winter/early spring pruning schedule.

 The stomp was a great success.  We had lots of new customers and some long time friends out to visit.  Mike and Nancee Micham (EzNDil) put on a wonderful show.  The day was a bit chilly, but the sun shone and the food was good.  Couldn't ask for much more.

 We will be at White Rose Winery in Carthage on October 16 for the Ozark Wine Trail event.  This will be part of the Maple Leaf Festival. 

 The foliage is beginning to really show it's colors.  Ava is having their annual Glade Top Trail Tour on October 17.  Stop in and see us on your way to the tour.  It is gorgeous country in Douglas and Ozark county.  There is music and BBQ at Caney Mountain Pavilion.  Check the Ava Chamber of Commerce for more details.

 We will be closed Monday, October 11th.  We are going to visit Arkansas Glass Containers.  We hope to buy our bottles from them instead of the imported "stuff" we've gotten in the past.  Local saves us shipping and reduces our carbon foot print.  It also helps a business that employs over 100 people.  Buying local is a good thing!


Cool Front Happiness

The cool front yesterday made it feel like fall.  Woohoo!  The Virgina Creeper and Sumac are turning crimson.  The vineyard is starting to change to yellows and reds.  It is gorgeous.

 The grape stomp is on October 2nd.  The weather is looking very promising.  Bring a lawn chair and enjoy EzNDil from noon til they get tired of us.  Stomping starts around 2.

 We'll be road tripping to Jonesboro, AR to visit a new to us bottle vendor.  They make the bottles in Arkansas.  No imports! This will save us on shipping and will help 100 people in Arkansas grow their business.

 Happy fall to you!  Hope to see you soon!


September to Remember

Harvest is still going strong.  We're down to Catawba, Vidal and St. Vincent.  We've had more orders than ever for our grapes.  We've taken what we need and selling the rest.  It's been great meeting some of the other wine makers in the area.  We seem to be one of the few who started their vineyard first, then opened a winery.  

 The grape stomp is coming up October 2, 2010.  It should be a great time.  I can't wait to hear Ezra and Dilly (Mike and Nancee Mitchum).  They are great!  They are often at Bakersville (Baker's Creek Seed) and they used to perform at Silver Dollar City. 

 My good friend Karen Light will be serving her wonderful Honduran/Mexican/Hispanic food from Mama Talis' Restaurant in Fordland. 

 We may have a few grapes for home wine/juice/jelly makers.  Please give us a call or an email to check availability.

 I hope the cool temperatures hang around.  It's been great a great harvest season so far, if the weather could hold on just a little longer.



Harvest Set to Begin

August is here and so is harvest.  We will pick the noble Vignoles and the Traminette on Monday, August 16, 2010.  The Vignoles look to be the best harvest in years.  The vines are so loaded with clusters, they are pulling the trellis down nearly to the ground.  Viva Vignoles!

The varmits have been troublesome this year.  The normal predators seem to be scarce.  We have know something big has been in prowling about, but we won't "go there" else we'll be accused of wearing "tin foil hats".

 The vines are very healthy and doing well.  The heat has not hurt at all.  Rain has shown up at all the right times this year (knock on wood).  Hopefully, the stress of the high heat will convert to extra sugar and flavors in the grapes.

 If you are interested in grapes or juice, please contact Larry at the winery.  We have lots of orders from our commercial customers, but we often keep juice around for the home wine maker or jelly makers.

Happy harvest season!  May the cool weather come in time for picking and processing.


July's Update

July has arrived and the Frontenac are beginning to show verasion.  They are usually our first variety to harvest.  We should get enough this year to have Frontenac wine to sell soon (but not too soon).  

 The rain we got this past week should really help the fruit.  It is almost at the point that we don't want a lot of rain because it will reduce the sugar and flavor in the fruit.  It can also cause the skin to rupture, much like tomatoes will do.  

 The grape stomp is coming soon, October 2nd will be be for we know it.  We've confirmed that Ezra and Dilly will be back and we have a BBQ crew lined up.  It should be a great day!

 If you are interested in grapes or juice, please contact us and we can discuss what you are looking for and what we should have available.  We have orders in from 2 wineries and some individuals, so do get in as soon as possible.

 So far, the growing season has been generous to us.  It should be a great harvest this year. 


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!


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.

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