A Business Ahead of Its Time

1 decade 7 months 3 weeks ago Friday, April 20 2007 Apr 20, 2007 Friday, April 20, 2007 5:42:08 PM CDT April 20, 2007 in News

Wineries are big business across the country, but the one in Boonville is a little different, it's more than 150 years old. But there's a reason you haven't heard of it.

"Originally, it was a brewery and then when Haas bought it, it had already been converted over to making wine," Dan Brewer, a Boonville resident, explained.

Brewer owns the land where Emile Hass's main wine cellar stands. Originally built in the 1850's. The entrance door is the only thing missing. But the hinges still remain.

"They had the hill here and they came in and they carved the dirt in the shape of the arch," Brewer said.

At one time this wine cellar held hundreds of barrels of wine. Air moves in and out of the cellar from air shafts on each side and on top. Just outside the cellar are hundreds of grape vines and down the hill lies the remains of the Haas winery. After 150 years, the main entrance of the winery is still intact. The building is made up of thousands of stones and if you take a closer look, each stone is hand chiseled.

"The beams of the floor would come in so you had one layer down here. The kegs could be stored here and on that level all the way up. So you have one, two, three, four, five stories," Brewer said.

Only three of the original walls remain but several of the wine cellars are still intact.

The vineyard was at one time the largest in Missouri. The winery burned down and was abandoned in the late 1870's, leaving behind fading memories of a business far ahead of its time. Brewer would like to restore the wine cellar on his property.

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