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Adam Puchta Winery, located off Hwy. 100 on the banks of Frene Creek about 2.5 miles southwest of Hermann, is the oldest family farm winery in Missouri. Its true uniqueness, however, lies in the fact that the same family has continuously owned it since 1855.
Bavaria to Hermann
The story of the winery actually begins on May 25, 1839, when Adam Puchta, a lad of seven, along with his older brother Friedrich, his father John Henry Puchta, his step-mother, and three stepsisters ranging in age from five months to five years left the port of Hamburg, Germany for the United States. The family actually emigrated from Oberkotzau, a village in the northeastern corner of Bavaria near the Czech border, where Adam’s father was a butcher.
Upon the family’s arrival in Hermann they settled on a 40-acre tract of land north and adjacent to the land on which the winery is located. Adam’s father built a one-room log cabin, approximately 16’ x 20’ for his family of seven, and a small wine cellar with a press house over it. He purchased the land in 1841 and in 1849 purchased 40 more acres, which is now part of the winery farm.
Winemaking – Then and Now
Only old out-dated wooden winemaking equipment remained in 1989 when the rebirth of Adam Puchta Winery occurred. From the time of Prohibition the Puchta family had preserved the dual stone hand operated grape crusher, the two-man screw-type press and one large fermenting vat. This original equipment will be on display during the 150th Anniversary celebration.
Today all of the winemaking equipment is made of stainless steel—the hoppers and augers, the crusher and destemmer, the pumps, the fermenting tanks and storage tanks, the filters, and the automatic bottling equipment. Most of the tanks are refrigerated.
Pre-Prohibition family farm wineries marketed most of their wine by shipping five, ten, twenty and thirty-gallon kegs and barrels to taverns in Hermann, New Haven, Washington and St. Louis. Local customers would bring their glass bottles or earthen jugs to the winery for refilling. Most family farm wineries did not bottle or label their products.
Adam Puchta Winery Today
Today Adam Puchta Winery has a production capacity of 62,000 gallons. Wine is sold in both the retail market on the winery premises and through mail order to states that allow such trade and in the wholesale market. Adam Puchta wines have won many awards in Missouri, as well as nationally and internationally. The Winery is open seven days a week, except New Year’s Day, Easter, Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
The demand for Puchta wines has increased steadily since 1990 and that trend continues. Adam Puchta & Son Wine Co. proudly continues a family tradition begun 150 years ago in beautiful Frene Creek Valley.