COLUMBIA — The Missouri Wine and Grape Board launched a new mobile app this week to increase tourism to the state's wineries and vineyards.

The new program, Rewards Uncorked, replaces the board's previous MVP program. 

"We really hope that it encourages people to visit their local winery or to expand their travel plans and visit maybe a winery that's off the beaten path or one that they didn't even realize was nearby," Annette Alden, the marketing director for the board, said.

Alden said of the 128 wineries in the state, 70 are already signed up for the program.

In the first week of the app's launch, 302 participants have signed up. It costs nothing to the wineries or participants to join the program.

Katy Dale, co-owner of the Dale Hollow Winery in Stover, is anticipating a busy summer season with warmer weather and the new app.

"It really benefits if you are a small winery to join because it gets more foot traffic to you from that geolocation read," Dale said. "But there's also a map too, which I find super beneficial."

The Wine and Grape Board, which is part of the state's Department of Agriculture, has been planning the new project for years, Alden said. 

"They challenge us to develop new innovative ways to drive traffic to the wineries and to encourage people to get out and explore wine country," Alden said. "A lot of our smaller wineries have commented that the previous program has driven traffic through the doors that may not have otherwise explored a new winery."

Points earned through the new program can be redeemed for prizes such as foil cutters, cork holders and tasting cups.

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