It has been said that a rising tide lifts all boats.
The aphorism could very well apply to David and Jerri Hoffmann’s grandiose plans to transform Augusta into a national wine destination on the scale of Napa Valley in California or Blackberry Farm in Tennessee.
The Hoffmanns want to do more than raise the profile of Augusta, where they have purchased four wineries and five vineyards, as well as several other businesses and properties, in less than a year.
The Washington natives want to elevate the profile of the entire Missouri wine industry. They plan to establish a national distribution chain for their wines by leveraging the reach of their existing businesses, which are located throughout the country, according to a story in the St. Louis Business Journal.
That could help train a national spotlight on all Missouri wines.
Can they do it? We wouldn’t bet against the Hoffmanns. They have an eye for real estate potential and an impressive track record of successful developments. They have the vision and know-how to get things done. And they have had their sights set on Augusta for some time. They saw the potential for something grand for the region a long time ago.
The speed and breadth of the Hoffmanns’ acquisitions has raised eyebrows, especially from some Augusta natives who fear change and a disruption to their way of life. That’s understandable given the aggressive approach the developers have employed.
But the Hoffmanns’ previous developments in Florida and Colorado have drawn praise from the local civic and business communities there. The Hoffmanns have a reputation for being civic-minded and giving back to the communities where they have invested.
One of the things even the naysayers should appreciate is that the Hoffmanns aren’t some slick, fly-by night, out-of-town developers looking to make a quick buck. They are from here, and have moved back to this area to oversee this project. They have the history and the personal connections to ensure this project works for betterment of the entire area.
But perhaps even more importantly, they are longtime fans of Missouri wines. They’ve known for a long time that some of the best vineyards in the country are planted in Missouri soil, close to where they were raised.
They are tapping into an industry that has momentum and a rich tradition dating back to the 1800s. West Coast wines get the glory, but Missouri has a longer history of growing grapes, and our wines can hold their own against those produced elsewhere. That’s the Hoffmanns’ message to the rest of the country.
If the Hoffmanns are successful, it could be a potential game changer for all of Missouri’s 130 wineries. We hope they are a rising tide.