More than 30 people interested in promoting the area for its food, wine and cultural heritage met at Robller Winery near New Haven Monday, March 22, to discuss the concept of a regional cuisine project.

During the meeting, Letitia Johnson, community development specialist with University of Missouri Extension based in Ste. Genevieve County, outlined the goals and accomplishments of a similar organization based along the Mississippi River starting with Jefferson County and extending south to Scott County.

The Mississippi River Hills Association has as its goal to develop, connect and market products that are grown or otherwise produced in the region.

One significant goal of the project is to develop name recognition for distinctive products that reflect the rich cultural heritage and diverse ecological region.

European countries have used this concept for many years to identify their products with appellations - the name of the region or origin.

The group meeting at Robller chose to name the association and the area it represents Missouri Rhine Valley.

Those in attendance spent time discussing the benefits of a regional cuisine project, assets of the region and how the region is connected.

Future meetings will focus on committees, focus areas and projects the group will want to start.

Anyone interested in being part of the group is encouraged to contact Matt Herring at 636-583-5141 or or Shelley Bush at 636-456-3444 or