Celebrate your next success by skipping the Champagne, and raising a glass of sparkling wine from a Missouri winery instead.

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Recently I've developed a taste for good Champagne, and I don't mean the cheap stuff that's available around New Year's at Walmart that isn't from France and isn't Champagne. I mean the good stuff where you'll pop 50 to 75 dollars a bottle. The kind that doesn't leave you hung over the next morning. In fact, there's a bottle on our counter right now.

Yet, an article on Only In My State about a day trip exploring Missouri's wineries and waterfalls got me thinking about an old memory. One that includes Missouri's sparkling wines, one of my first mentors, and celebrating some early career successes at Loyola University in Chicago.

One of my first mentors, the late Dr. Sammy R. Danna, completed his Ph.D. in Communications at the University of Missouri. Dr. Danna, or Doc, as we affectionately called him was not only my mentor but one of my favorite professors and academic advisor for both the college radio station and the Loyola Radio Conference, both of which I was a part of.

I mention this because Dr. Danna liked to celebrate the successes of his students at the radio station and the radio conference with his annual Sammy Awards ceremony. Doc would hold court in his office. Invite several of his favorite former students, that year's award winners, and radio station and conference managers to the ceremony and hand out trophies to those students who had excelled at working at the conference or the radio station.

Now, here's why Doc and his University of Missouri association and the Sammy Awards fit into a story about good Champagne and Missouri sparkling wines. Doc's Sammy Awards ceremonies always involved a glass of Champagne, Spumanti, or yes, Missouri sparkling wines.

The first year I was honored with a Sammy Award, Dr. Danna was holding court in his third-floor office above the radio studios. Many good conversations were had, and I and the other winners received our golden microphone trophies.

During the conversation, Doc broke out a couple of bottles of some type of sparkling wine from a Missouri vineyard that he picked up on a recent research trip to Mizzou. To this day I remember that wine as one of the best glasses of sweet sparkling wine I've ever enjoyed. It also set the foundation for many friendships with other Loyola alums who came through the radio station before my time there.

So tonight when I stumbled upon that article about a day trip exploring Missouri's vineyards and waterfalls I thought of that sweet sparkling wine I enjoyed at that get-together, and thought I'd share some of Missouri's award-winning sparkling wines with you.

A little research on the Missouri Wines website found the following four award-winning sparkling wines, which might make celebrating your next victory just a little bit sweeter:

2021 Best of Class Winner for Sparkling Wine: Stone Hill Winery Demi-Sec

According to the Stone Hill Winery, their Demi-Sec has won gold awards in the Missouri Wine Competition in 2019, 2021, and 2022. The wine's flavor profile is, "Fresh melon with a touch of floral and citrus notes on the nose. The pallet introduces itself with zippy bubbles followed by a sweet, very soft, and silky mouthfeel. The honeysuckle and sweet Meyer lemon flavors from the Muscat is quite apparent on the palate."

The cost of a bottle at the Stone Hill Winery website is very affordable, $26.00.

2019 Best of Class Winner for Sparkling Wine: Stone Hill Winery Brut Rose

Stone Hill Winery picked up the Best of Class award in the Missouri Wine Competition in 2019 with their Brut Rose. The wine also won gold awards in the Missouri Wine Competition in 2015, 2019, and 2022. According to the winery, "The beautiful deep rosé color makes an instant impression. With its enticing fruity aroma and flavor, and vibrant and mouth-watering acidity, the food pairing options are endless! A great match with everything from potato chips and popcorn to oysters and shrimp." They recommend serving this chilled and expect bubbles, lots of bubbles.

The cost of a bottle at the Stone Hill Winery website is affordable, $30.00.

2021 Silver Medal Winner: Les Bourgeois Vineyards Brut and Brut Rose 

Les Bourgeois Vineyards won Silver Awards in the Missouri Wine Competition for their Brut and Brut Rose sparkling wines. According to Missouri Wines, the Brut's profile contains an "Aromatic bouquet and crisp palate stun with fresh baked bread, apple, melon, white flowers, lemon curd, and black raspberry. The Brut Rose's profile contains "Distinctive aromas of lemongrass, red fruit, apple, and toast. Crisp, vivid bubbles lead to a refreshing apple and red berry finish."

The Brut sparkling wine is currently unavailable for purchase on the Missouri Wines website, but the Brut Rose is available. The cost of a bottle of either kind is affordable, $30.00.

There may be other sparkling wines from Missouri wines worth trying. Some I may not have found since they weren't award-winning, but that doesn't mean they're not worth trying. Isn't that some of the fun of it?

I'm also not telling you to not experience a great real bottle of expensive Champagne either, variety is the spice of life. So why not enjoy both?

Have you tried a Missouri sparkling wine that you think I should put on my list to try? Drop me a tip at rob.creighton@townsquaremedia.com or drop me a message on the app.

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