Break from the monotonous and experience something truly unique with one of the vast wine offerings from Endless Summer Winery.
Gary Hoover, along with his wife, Lois, and his son, Mark, own and operate Endless Summer Winery in Hermann, Missouri. A vintner devoted to creating a plethora of fruit wines, Gary Hoover prides himself on his ability to produce wines without overbearing sweetness.
“We have this idea that fruit wines have to be super sweet, and the truth is they don’t,” Hoover says. “I have such a wide range of flavors, and most [visitors] are surprised the fruit wines aren’t as sweet. I do that by design.”
Starting out as a chef, Hoover began making homemade wine as a hobby 24 years ago, quickly graduating from mediocre-quality kits to his own recipes and techniques. In the early 2000s, the family traveled to France and toured many of the small wineries in some of the best winemaking regions of the world, and this is where Hoover says the idea to have a winery was planted.
Recognizing his prowess for delicious fruit wines, the family decided to turn the hobby into a way of life. In 2011, Endless Summer Winery opened in the heart of Missouri wine country. From its pineapple, blackberry, jalapeno or one of the many other wine offerings, Hoover’s intention was to transport you to an oasis when the sun always shines and summer never ends – hence the winery’s name.
This winter, customers will find a new flavor offering from Endless Summer Winery: cranberry-tangerine. Combining cranberries from Wisconsin with tangerines from Florida, the Hoover family spent two full days zesting and peeling all the tangerines by hand. The end result is a wine that balances tartness and sweetness that’s perfect for the holiday season. The goal is for the wine to be available in December.
The winery is open all year long, and anyone can come in for free tastings of any available offering. When you visit, you won’t find fields of fruit trees, however. Hoover purchases all the fruits from growers he’s developed relationships with throughout the years. This enables year-round production and the ability to produce wines from fruits not available in this region.
This process of procuring whole, often frozen fruit from around the world is actually better for the wines’ quality, according to Hoover.
“I always buy my berries frozen; it ruptures the cell walls and allows yeast to enter,” he says. “You get more flavor and more complexities with whole fruit.”
This is only one example of how the expertise developed from Hoover’s culinary background has affected the end product. Some popular offerings, such as the pecan wine and the raspberry-chipotle wine, require deft hands, a trained mind and creativity to pull off. As there isn’t juice to extract from a pecan, the nuts are first cooked in water to extract flavor. All the while, Hoover has to carefully monitor protein content and remove oils to ensure the wine stays fresh without spoiling.
Furthermore, Hoover smokes his own chipotles for quality control. “It’s a chore because I don’t buy chipotles,” Hoover says. “I smoke my own – I feel like I get a fresher smoke taste. I know how much smoke I want. I use pecan [wood] to smoke the chipotles because pecan has a sweeter flavor – it gives it just a tad of sweetness that goes through the raspberry wine.”
Demand has been tough to meet given Endless Summer’s current facility, but operations are underway to expand production. This will enable the winery to produce more of each offering while maintaining space to add new flavors, like the cranberry-tangerine.
Endless Summer Winery, 11 Grosse Lane, Hermann, Missouri, 573.252.2000, endlesssummerwinery.com