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Two MSU Norton Reserve wines honored at Midwestern Wine judging

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From left, C. J. Odneal, MSU Winery and Distillery Cellar Technician, Dr. Karl Wilker, Research Professor of Enology and MSU Winery and Distillery Manager Dr. Ron Del Vecchio, Dean of the MSU College of Agriculture share a moment with one of the trophies won recently by the MSU Winery and Distillery at the State Fruit Experiment Station north of Mountain Grove earned at the Mid-American Wine Competition in Iowa.

MOUNTAIN GROVE  — What makes a good wine? Faculty and students at the Missouri State Univeristy Winery and Distillery at the State Fruit Experiment Station in Mountain Grove know.

Missouri State was recently awarded two top wine awards: The Jefferson Cup in the Red Non-Vinifera Wine category at the Jefferson Cup Invitational and the Best Dry Double Gold Sweepstakes winner at the Mid-American Wine Competition.

“The Jefferson Cup Invitational is the only competition that honors the best of the best among wineries from all of America’s wine regions,” said Marilyn Odneal, clinical instructor of agriculture at Missouri State-Mountain Grove campus. “The Mid-American Wine Competition is held in Iowa and focuses on wines of the Midwest.”

2015 Norton Reserve

For both awards, it was the 2015 Norton Reserve that received top honors.

“I think the value of these awards to our research and education winery and distillery is to show that we are producing high quality wines according to commercial standards as recognized by expert wine judges at the competitions,” said Odneal. “This demonstrates the credibility of our practices and exposes students to wine competitions which is an important part of marketing.”

Odneal also believes that winning such high honors works as a morale booster for faculty, staff and students involved in production.

“Our wines are produced exclusively from grapes grown at the State Fruit Experiment Station,” said Odneal. “Our entire crew, including Dr. Karl Wilker, research enologist and winery and distillery manager, C. J. Odneal, cellar technician, and our vineyard manager, student interns, practicum students and field and maintenance supervisors and workers take pride in these awards since all have a hand in production.”

The wine production team looks forward to next year’s competition and defending its title.

Vineyards and varieties used to make wine or distilled spirits at the cellars:

North Vineyard – including Traminette, Norton, Concord and Sunbelt varieties.

MVEC Vineyard – Chambourcin variety. To be planted in 2011 – Valvin Muscat and Sunbelt.

Research Vineyard – Cayuga White, Seyval Blanc, and Catawba Varieties.

West Catawba – Catawba.

Virus-indexed Mother Block – Norton, Cayuga White, Traminette and Chambourcin.

George Freeman is a veteran journalist and photographer. An award-winning writer, editor and columnist in Springfield, Mo., with more than 50 years experience. His preference is for positive and uplifting stories about people, places, traditions and trends that make the Ozarks one of the most livable regions anywhere. A member of the Garden Writers Association of America, he is a past-president of the Society of Professional Journalists of Southwest Missouri, the Kansas and Ohio AP societies; a board member of Friends of the Garden and a member of the Rotary Club of Springfield. In 1976, he traveled to India as a member of a Rotary Foundation Group Study Exchange Team.

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