ST. LOUIS — A Florida company has acquired several vineyard properties around Augusta, Missouri, with plans to invest as much as $100 million in a project its founder believes can turn the region into a rival to some the nation's most prestigious wine regions.
The Naples, Florida-based Hoffmann Family of Companies on Monday said it has already acquired several properties in the August area, around 50 miles west of St. Louis. They include: The 90-acre Balducci Winery and Vineyards at 6601 Highway 94; the 53-acre Knoernschild Vineyards and related buildings on Highway 94 and Jackson Street; The Old Augusta Wine Company Building on Historic Walnut Street; and the old country feed store and grocery. The company will also close on a piece of vacant property on Locust Street in mid January.
Founder David Hoffmann, who along with his wife, Jerri, is a native of Washington, Missouri, said the company is in negotiations with two additional wineries in deals that could close in late January and early February, totaling 250 acres. He declined to identify the wineries.
The plan is to consolidate the wineries in a 700-acre area, creating what Hoffmann believes will become the largest vineyards and winery in the Midwest. He said the company plans to soon meet with Augusta city officials to detail a broader plan that includes a hotel, a nine-hole par-three golf course, a five-star restaurant and other attractions.
Ultimately, he envisions the development will become a national destination, similar to the famed Napa Valley region in California or Blackberry Farm, a renowned wine destination in Walland, Tennessee.
"It’s going to be a significant venue and the land lays as well as Napa Valley (in California)," Hoffmann said in an interview Wednesday morning. "It’s every bit as pretty and the vineyards out there (in Augusta) have done a wonderful job."
Missouri's wine industry has an estimated annual economic impact of about $3.2 billion and has created around 28,000 jobs, according to a 2017 industry report. Yet in terms of production and reputation it still falls short of the nation's more prestigious wine regions in California, the Pacific Northwest and Virginia.
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