Every industry needs a cheerleader. Someone who not only strives to succeed individually but also offers guidance to others in his field and extolls the virtues of what he and his contemporaries have set out to accomplish. For Missouri wine, that person is Tony Kooyumjian, and his mission is to share the beauty and history of the land, the efforts of its grape growers and winemakers, and the potential of Missouri wines to compete with the rest of the world.

Kooyumjian moved to Augusta, Mo., in 1988, and today he owns and operates Augusta and Montelle wineries. His wines have won numerous awards in Missouri, California and Germany, and he is the chair of the Wine and Grape Research Committee for the Missouri Wine and Grape Board. His efforts have helped grow the research objectives of the University of Missouri’s Institute for Continental Climate Viticulture & Enology (ICCVE), which in turn has made education and resources readily available to local vintners and viticulturists. The next time you pour a glass of your favorite Missouri wine, give a little cheers of thanks to the work – past, present and future – of Tony Kooyumjian.