Meramec Vineyards is in the Ozark Highlands viticultural area, where Maramec Spring spawns its trout and pours fresh water into the Meramec River (Meramec has a few different spellings) as it flows on to join Mark Twain’s Mississippi downstream from the St. Louis Arch. Italian settlers with their old-world heritage of vines and wines established vineyards on this Ozark plateau just before the start of the 20th century. In the late 1960’s a resurgence of Missouri’s grape and wine industry drew more people to the world of vines and wines. Meramec Vineyards was founded in 1980 by Phyllis Meagher who purchased a 15 acres Concord vineyard first planted in 1921 by the Tessaros, one of the original Italian families.
Meramec Vineyards continued to grow this quintessential American grape, the Concord. At first the Concords were sold to home wine and juice makers, supermarkets and even in a roadside grape stand, the traditional way of grape growers in the area as well as other wineries. Soon, we began producing our own brand of grape juices from native American varieties, the Concord, Catawba and Niagara.
Meramec Vineyards fostered a dream to produce the full expression of the grapevine – wine.
“Meramec Vineyards Winery will be under new ownership beginning January 26, 2018. Saint James locals, Joe and Michelle Boulware have been working on this purchase for nearly a year. A dream and a vision for this property is finally becoming a reality thanks to hard work and many prayers. After months of preparation and countless meetings planning for the future of Meramec Vineyards Winery, the couple was pleased to work with MRPC and Maries County Bank to bring this dream to fruition.
Joe, a Rolla native, always dreamed of owning a business one day. Marrying in 2011 and purchasing a home in Saint James in 2012, the Boulwares realized the potential of the town they call home. After becoming a father to two children, this became more of a driving force to work in the community. Managing a multi-million dollar business for the last eight years has been vital experience that will serve him well in this adventure. After commuting sixty miles a day, he longed to have an impact in the community where his children will grow and learn. When this opportunity arose four years ago to purchase this business, it was a spark that has continued to grow until the flame of drive and perseverance has fully taken hold. Joe’s main goal is to bring the business back to life and serve Saint James and the surrounding communities.
Michelle, originally from Mississippi, moved to the area in 2000. She graduated from Columbia College in 2009 with a double major in Accounting and Finance, knowledge which will benefit the business. Currently a nurse at Mercy Family Medicine in Rolla, she looks forward to welcoming guests with the same compassion as her husband into the winery for a one of a kind experience. She will take the lead of transforming the winery into a rustic, inviting atmosphere, maximizing the potential of the wooden building and outdoor patio and grounds, named appropriately “The Vineyard.”
The winery will be open for business FEB 1st for tasting daily from 11 am to 9 pm. The Boulwares welcome guests to come in during this transitionary construction and remodel period to meet them and hear first-hand the plans they have for Meramec Vineyards Winery. They also appreciate any suggestions for the future of the business. An announcement will be made for the exciting grand opening, hoping to occur between April and May. The Boulwares thank the community for their ongoing support and look forward to the future of Meramec Vineyards Winery.”