Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Earth Day Missouri Style

Last weekend I celebrated Earth Day in a most unusual and totally fun way!  I toured the St. James Winery and Public House Brewing Company in nearby St. James. The two businesses sit side-by-side and share several important business practices ... including an Earth Day festival with sustainable tours through both facilities.

 (Above:  St. James Winery)

I learned how most organic waste is recycled back as compost for the vineyard, even the waste from the brewery goes to its neighbor's farm. Oak barrels are used time after time in both facilities and most of the brew pub's interior furnishings were made from recycled wood.  Twelve years ago, all the light fixtures were changed to LEDs and low energy fermentation and storage processes installed. They are in the process of writing a grant for solar power.
(Above: Tasting room and gift shop at St. James Winery.)

I was totally unaware that Missouri had been the second largest wine producing state before prohibition.  The soil is perfect for grapes but the come back was slow. It was helped along by Jim and Pat Hofherr when they established St. James Winery nearly fifty years ago.  The winery is still family owned and operated.  They produce about 500,000 gallons of wine annually, and it is sold in sixteen different states.

The tour was excellent and I really enjoyed sampling the wines.

Most impressive were the oak barrels.

 (Above:  Public House Brewing Company tour.)

Not to be outdone, the beer barrels were also impressive.  Many came from the winery!  When no more flavor can to sapped from the barrels, the pub uses them in their interior design scheme.

 (Above:  Public House Brewing)

In fact all the tables and the entire bar area were built from salvaged wood by a local craftsman.  I stayed for an excellent pizza.  I went home with a six-pack of IPA and a t-shirt.

 (Above:  Garden area behind and between St. James Winery and the Public House Brewing Company.)

Before leaving, however, I had to visit the gardens where music filled the air and tents were set up for local, environmental non-profits to distribute information and discuss their missions.

 (Above:  Hill Hollowell, environmental specialist for the Meramec Regional Planning Commission.)

That is where I met Jill Hollowell, an environmental specialist who was sharing artwork made by local students.  It is all part of the 28th annual Earth Day Poster and Trash Art Contest centering around the theme BE WASTE WISE.

It is great to know that Missouri has such a dedication of environmental issues and a long history in making change!

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