Monday, May 9, 2011

Found this under Hermann, Missouri Wine Country

About 4 feet under the ground in the dusty-with-history village of Hermann, is this cellar for Hermannhof winery.

Originally built in 1848, as a winery and brewery, hand-dug into the hill under the building was a system of limestone and brick catacombs used for the cellar. When prohibition shut down the operation, people simply dumped their trash into the cellar. Why not?
Out of sight, out of mind.

Then come along Jim and Mary Dierberg, who bought the building in 1974, and spent four years cleaning out the cellar and restoring the winery. One of the finds was the candle holder designed to hang from wine barrels. People had to see in the damp darkness. Check it out in the foreground of the photo.

Oh yes, there is a spring that runs through a channel carved in the ocean-formed bedrock that is the cellar floor.

That's Paul LeRoy, the winemaker and general manager, in the background stirring the barrel contents.
This is the restored winery building, now listed as a National Historic Landmark. I believe that the vines in the foreground are Norton, since that is the big varietal in the area. Never heard of Norton? Well, Norton roots were grafted in the replanting of France's wine industry after phylloxera.

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