The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Lifestyles

July 25, 2012

Carthage couple makes award-winning wine at home

JOPLIN, Mo. — The large, elegant house with thick, stone walls that’s surrounded by 10 acres of land seems to be the perfect place for a serious winemaker to set up shop.

In fact, the White Rose Irish Estate, located at 13001 Journey Road, just northeast of Carthage, is such a logical place for a winery that most people naturally assume that when Jim and Jan O’Haro purchased the property in 1998 they had winemaking in mind. But that’s not what happened.

Jim O’Haro said he and his wife originally moved to Carthage to help out a friend. They purchased the White Rose, formally known as the Overlook Farm, in October of 1998. Shortly after they purchased the property, Jan O’Haro informed her husband that she had agreed to allow their new home to be featured on a December homes tour.

“We did two years worth of work in two months to get ready for the tour,” O’Haro said, laughing.

It wasn’t until a few months later that Jim O’Haro, who had been making wine for years, began considering putting a winery on his property. In March of 1999, O’Haro planted four acres of grapes. Four years later, the first bottles of White Rose Wine were corked, and today some 80 barrels of wine are produced annually at the winery.

O’Haro’s wines have earned a reputation for quality. That reputation was further enhanced in June when the 2010 White Rose Winery Norton wine earned a gold medal at the 29th Annual Lone Star International Wine Competition in Grapeville, Texas. Another White Rose wine, the Sweet Lady in Red, earned a bronze medal at the same competition.

Jim O’Haro said he first learned to make wine in 1962 while working at the Navel Research Lab in Washington, D.C. A co-worker from a large Italian family befriended the O’Haros, often inviting them to his home. Over time, the co-worker’s family taught O’Haro how to make wine the way they make it in northern Italy.

O’Haro said having a background in science helps in winemaking, but so does having a love for wine in the first place.

“There is an art and a science to wine making,” he said. “Art makes wine good, science allows you to repeat it.”

The key to the richness and depth in O’Haro’s wine can be found in the large basement that serves as his winemaking headquarters: Row after row of large, French oak barrels.

The barrels, O’Haro said, allow the wines to develop a deep, almost buttery flavor. Because French oak barrels typically cost $1,000 apiece, many wineries opt to use large metal vats in which to age their wine. The metal vats are cheaper, but tend to give the wine a thinner taste.

In addition, unlike many wineries, O’Haro does not add sulfites to his wines. In order to hasten the winemaking process, many wineries add sulfites to halt the second, naturally occurring fermentation process. O’Haro allows the additional fermentation to proceed, even though doing so is more labor intensive. But the result is a more flavorful wine. Sulfites are thought to cause headaches and allergic reactions to some people who drink wine.

O’Haro uses grapes from his own vineyard, as well as grapes purchased from other local growers, for his wines. In order to be classified as a Missouri wine, the grapes used in the wine must have been grown in the state, he said.

In addition to the winery, the O’Haros also operate a bed and breakfast on the White Rose property and a by-appointment restaurant. An authentic Irish breakfast is served as part of the bed and breakfast experience, and lunch and dinner are also available. The O’Haros also offer special White Rose “Wine-Maker Dinners”.

For information about the White Rose Winery, or its bed and breakfast and restaurant, people may call 417-359-9253 or visit the White Rose website at www.whiterosewinery.com.

While we can’t teach you how to make wine, we can offer you a few suggestions for cooking with wine. Included below are a few recipes from allrecipes.com.

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