In the early 19th century Germany was not a unified state, but rather a confederation of many small provinces. Germany’s lands provided a constant battlefield for its warring superpower neighbors. In the 1830’s, weary from centuries of political and religious unrest, a small group of artisans and farmers from the province of Westfalen immigrated to the New World.
They crossed the vast Atlantic and settled in the heart of Missouri, a fertile area of tree-covered rolling hills that resembled their homeland. It was, for the most part, educated Catholic artisans and farmers who eventually settled there on the banks of the Maries River. They named their settlement Westphalia after their beloved home. They were hard-working, self-sufficient, good-humored people who prized the land, their faith, and the finer things in life. Of course, one of these was the nectar of the grape. Indeed, they so prized their wine that they brought cuttings with them to America.
Anchored by the large stone church and the faith of its members, the town prospered. And with it prospered strong traditions, among them the production of homemade wine. Perhaps one of the well-respected town fathers, having returned from a-year-and-a day sentence in a federal penitentiary for bootlegging during Prohibition, said it best:
"I believe these are mighty fine people, even if they do make a little beer and wine on the side."