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BizBeat: Grocery story turns tasting room at Westphalia Vineyards

BizBeat: Grocery story turns tasting room at Westphalia Vineyards

January 20th, 2019 by Philip Joens in Business

Mark Wilson/News Tribune Mary and Terry Neuner own Westphalia Vinyards in Westphalia. The couple opened a new tasting room Jan. 4 at 130 E. Main St. in Westphalia in an old grocery store Mary's grandfather operated.

Westphalia Vineyards' chic new tasting room opened in an old grocery store Jan. 4.

Black tables, a metal ceiling and bright lights adorn the space where the grandfather of owner Mary Neuner once operated a grocery store. Weather disrupted business the past two weeks, but Neuner said she and her husband are excited to open the new tasting room.

"I've got the back rented numbers of times already," Neuner said.

Neuner and her husband, Terry, opened the winery in 2005. Today, the winery makes 10 wines including its Naughty But Nice — a blend of red wine and chocolate flavoring — and its Norton Reserve — the winery's flagship red wine made from Missouri's state grape.

Previously, the couple owned the Westphalia Inn, but closed the hotel in December 2017. Neuner and her husband, ages 72 and 71, decided to close the hotel because they were getting older and wanted to focus their energy on the winery. A party is interested in buying the Westphalia Inn, but Neuner said nothing is final.

The Westphalia Inn sat at 106 E. Main St. in Westphalia and included a restaurant, which could hold 200 people. The old tasting room — called the Norton Room — sat above the restaurant.

Terry worked for 3M for 22 years, which took the couple and their three children to Brussels, Singapore and Japan. For about 10 years, they made wine as a hobby.

"When you move to Europe, you're going to drink a lot of beer and wine," Neuner said.

After moving back to the states, in 1991 they bought the 400-acre farm outside Westphalia from Neuner's aunt, but lived in Austin, Texas. Later, the couple decided to open the winery on the farm.

Neuner's family began farming the ground in the late 1800s. Today, the winery grows about 7 acres of grapes at its vineyard on the farm. In recent years, Terry led an effort to find a previously long-lost Missouri version of the white Riesling grape.

The grape is known for its perfume-like smell and use in dry white wines. Her husband's work allowed the winery to make its own Riesling wine instead of using Riesling grapes grown in California.

"It's a very fruity grape," Neuner said. "Now people are asking us for it."

The tasting room sits at 130 E. Main St. Built in 1895, the space has about 2,700 square feet of room on each of its top and bottom levels.

The tasting room occupies only the front third of the bottom level. A bar seats eight people, and the space can seat about 20 people. In the back of the house, a party room can host groups of at least 40 people.

The tasting room opens at 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. The tasting room does not have a set closing time on days when it is open, Neuner said.

"It just depends on how busy we are," she said. "You can do that in a small town."

Burgers' Smokehouse acquires Tennessee pork producer

Burgers' Smokehouse announced plans to buy a rival Tennessee pork producer Tuesday.

Paris, Tennessee-based Clifty Farm Country Meats produces hams, bacon, sausage and barbecue products from its headquarters in northwest Tennessee. The sale is expected to be completed in early 2019, and the combined company will operate five plants in Missouri, Tennessee and Kentucky, Burgers' Smokehouse said in a news release.

The company previously competed with Burgers' Smokehouse in the cured meats market, but a news release claimed the combined company will be the largest producer of cured hams in the country. Terms of the deal were not announced.

Burgers' Smokehouse President Steven Burger said in a news release the purchase gives the company another reliable source of cured hams to sell.

"Clifty Farm has been a tough competitor over many years," Burger said in a news release. "We look forward to combining the strengths of our organizations to better serve the needs of our customers."

Know of any business happenings in or around Jefferson City? Let us know at bizbeat@newstribune.com.