Wineries Triple in Missouri

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MILLERSBURG - The number of wineries in Missouri has tripled since 2000.

According to Fabio Chaddad, an associate professor of agricultural economics at MU, Missouri had 31 wineries in 2000 and grew to 108 last year.  The figure has climbed to 118 in 2012.

The national growth has been equally great during the same period.  According to Missouri Wine and Grape Board Executive Director Jim Anderson, there were roughly 2,500 wineries in 2000 and 7,000 this year

"I think this is a way to get back into agriculture. They can get a piece of land, grow grapes and make wine and they're working their hands back into the soil," Anderson said.

Anderson attributes the recent growth to an increased interest in local agribusiness, in particular argitourism.  He expects the wine industry to keep growing in the United States for the next five to ten years; something that brings in 850,000 people to wineries across the nation each year.  This is promising news for local winery owner, Regina Ruppert, who is chasing a dream.

  "There are a lot of us retirees and this is us pursuing our dream," she said.  "When my daughter graduated high school, I ended up with cancer the same year and it kind of changes your perspective on life. I had been a stay at home mom and decided to go for it and pursue (this) passion."