Mount Pleasant Estates grows its grapes locally in the Augusta Appellation, the first government-appointed wine-growing district in the United States. As the largest purveyor of Augusta Appellation wine, the proprietors of Mount Pleasant Estates hold their product to a higher standard and strive to ensure that Augusta remains one of the leading viticultural areas of America.
There are three valleys that make up the Augusta Appellation: Schluersburg, Augusta and Emke. Estate-grown grapes are farmed on the surrounding hill sides of these valleys. The entire Augusta American Viticultural Area (AVA) is unique, with its deep, dark topsoil left by the Ice Age. However, each vineyard location is different in makeup and lends itself to different taste profiles. The experienced vineyard master makes the decisions as to where the different varieties are planted.
The bluffs along the Missouri River act as a natural barrier and protector from the extreme elements. Mount Pleasant grows their grapes on the hillsides rather than in the fields of the river bottomlands, because these areas are not susceptible to frosts and floods. Hillside plots allow optimum sun exposure and access to southeasterly breezes prevalent in the Augusta Appellation.
Small-plot, hillside farming involves some of the most expensive, agricultural techniques in the world, yet provide the highest quality fruit year in and year out. It takes three years for a vine to bear fruit and five years before it is at full production. Every year Mount Pleasant plants additional vines to keep up with the demand for Augusta Appellation wines.
All of Mount Pleasant's grapes are grown using sustainable viticulture; an integrated system of wine grape growing that is economically viable, socially supportive and ecologically sound. Click here for more information on sustainable viticulture.
During late summer, the vineyard crew harvests the grapes. The fruit is quickly transported to the "crushing area." Here, the grapes are crushed and pressed into juice. Once the juice is extracted from the grapes, it is transported through underground pipes to several large tanks located at the winery and to small barrels located in the cellars.
According to the winemaker's discretion, some of the wine is aged in oak barrels, while some varieties remain in stainless steel tanks. Fermentation is the natural process of yeast converting fruit sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. This process can vary from three to sixty days, depending on style, variety, temperature and selected yeast strains.
Winemaking is not only an art; it is a science as well. The laboratory is used throughout the winemaking process to test the wine for proper blending, pH, acidity, tannins, alcohol content and overall quality assurance. Once the wine meets our high standards, the wines are bottled on the bottling line. Even after the wine is bottled, the winemaker utilizes the lab to insure quality and proper aging.