Adam Puchta Winery Rich in History and Flavor
Nestled in the German town of Hermann Missouri is the oldest family winery in Missouri.
Adam Puchta Winery is filled with history, strong family roots, perseverance and a love of wine.
The story of Adam Puchta Winery began in 1839 when Adam Puchta, then seven years old, emigrated from Bavaria to Hermann along with his older brother and three step sisters. Adam and his brother worked on the family farm until the prospect of gold in California lured them away.
After two years away, Adam returned to Hermann with his pockets a little heavier. Having some success in California allowed Adam to purchase 40 acres of land from his father. Clearing the land, Adam built a log cabin and planted crops and a vineyard.
1855 saw the birth of Adam Puchta Winery. Adam married Clementine Riefenstahl, the daughter of a noted winemaker. Adam and Clementine lived in the log cabin at first, but later relocated to a stone residence Adam built himself.
The couple’s old stone home now serves as the winery’s sales and marketing offices.
Sadly, Clementine died in childbirth. On her death bed, Clementine made Adam promise to marry her older sister, Bertha. Bertha was considered a something of a “spinster,” but true to his word, Adam married Bertha and they had one child together.
From 1855 to 1919, Adam Puchta was a thriving commercial winery. The winery even shipped wines back to Bavaria.
When Prohibition hit, the Hermann wine region suffered tremendously. Vineyards and wine making were the major industry in the area. Before, during and after the Civil War, Missouri was the biggest producing wine state in the nation.
Having no income, winemakers had to sell off land to make ends meet, including the Puchta family. After Prohibition ended in 1933, laws were left in place in Missouri that did not allow commercial wineries. It was almost 30 years later before there was a rebirth of the Missouri wine industry.
During 1989, Timothy Puchta, Adam’s great great grandson with support from his father Randolph, began making plans for reopening the winery. By 1990, Adam Puchta Winery was back up and running, producing 10,000 gallons of wine of a year.
With continued growth and popularity Adam Puchta Winery was producing 75,000 gallons a year during 2007.
A wine tasting at Adam Puchta is no ordinary tasting. Tim Puchta has a love of food and cooking, so it’s not surprise that two of the three structured wine tastings at Puchta pair food and wine. (As part of future expansion, Tim would like to put in a restaurant serving local foods with a simple, seasonal menu.)
The Featured Wine Tasting has eight pre-selected wines. Some of the wines are paired with gourmet “straws” and crackers. (A straw is a type of cookie popular in parts of the Southern U.S. Puchta gets their straws from Mississippi.)
The cost of the Featured wine tasting is $5.00. The Vintner’s Select Tasting will allow you to sample the premium and special release wines such as the Estate Bottled Norton and the Signature Port. The cost of this tasting is $5.00.
The $8.00 complete Wine tasting is the best way to find your favorite Adam Puchta wine. Tasting room staff will guide you through the wine tasting with wine history, tasting notes and food pairing suggestions. The Complete Wine tasting will allow you to try all of the wines, excluding the Vintner’s Select wines. Again, some of the wines will be paired with gourmet straws and crackers.
All the tastings come with a 10% coupon valid for a single bottle purchase. One wine that pairs well with food is Vignoles, a semi-sweet white with flavors of strawberry, kiwi, and peach. After taking a sip of the wine, you will be instructed to eat the Key Lime straw and take another sip of the Vignoles. The combination of the two will taste like a traditional lime margarita. Tim has even made Vignoles margaritas at one of the many events for the Hermann Wine Trail.
Traminette, a semi-dry white with flavors of honeysuckle, jasmine tea and kiwi is paired with cinnamon pecan gourmet straws.
This would be a great wine for Thanksgiving, a perfect complement to pumpkin and pecans pies. Rose’ is a dry full bodied wine made from cold pressed Norton. It rings with flavors of raspberry and pineapple guava. This wine is best served slightly chilled and pairs well with spicy food, grilled chicken and soft shell seafood.
In the tasting room, the Rose is paired with Asiago Cheese straws. (Asiago is a strong cheese similar to Parmesan.) The Asiago Cheese straws will smooth out the Rose’ which makes it more palatable for people who prefer sweeter wines. The tasting experience at Adam Puchta would not be complete without chocolate.
The Winery offers two wine choices of that complement chocolate: Jazz Berry, a sweet wine with an intense raspberry flavor, and Berry Black, which is like a burst of fresh picked blackberries. Both pair well with dark chocolate or you can even pour it over ice cream. It’s like an adult float!
If you are visiting during one of the many popular Hermann Wine Trail events, Tim often comes up with special creations. These have included BBQ sauce using Port, White Chocolate Key Lime Cheesecake Bars and Bacon Pineapple Upside Down Cake. The recipes are either made with Adam Puchta wines or paired with them. For the next Wine Trail event, Tim will be making Jazz Berry Lemonade.
You can experiment with this yourself using Adam Puchta Jazz Berry wine with your favorite lemonade mix. Adam Puchta Winery has won several prestigious wine awards throughout the years. Their Desire wine took home the Jefferson Cup for best white non-vinifera at this major wine competition in Kansas City last November.
By visiting Adam Puchta Winery, you will experience a piece of Missouri’s wine history, as well as an education in wine and food pairings. They have had visitors from all 50 states! Adam Puchta is open seven days a week, excluding certain holidays.
Valerie Swiderski is a Missouri based wine and travel writer.