In the 1800’s Christopher Roethemeier left the Alsace-Lorraine region of Germany and settled in Lawrence County, Missouri. There he built a home near Freistatt and began farming grain and dairy.
In 1918 his son Edward purchased 280 acres in Lawrence County, and the land was just 4 miles northeast of the village of Freistatt. Edward was one of the first farmers in the region to begin cultivating grapes to bottle and sell as wine. Much like others in Missouri at the time, selling wine was a profitable business for Edward until the beginning of Prohibition. However, unlike the rest of Missouri (and to the chagrin of at least one sister-in-law), Prohibition did not affect Edward’s business. As the story is told, he pointed out to many that the law was written in English and he could only read German. Because of this “language barrier,” selling wine continued for several more years.
In 1925, Edna Sophie Roethemeier married Emil John Meyer. The newlyweds moved into the original homestead built by Christopher Roethemeier, which was on 160 acres of fertile Lawrence County soil. Edna and Emil had four children, the eldest being Kenneth Edward Meyer.
As a child, Ken Meyer spent many hours in his Grandfather Roethemeier’s vineyard, picking grapes for pocket money. He never realized this chore would provide the memory that would become the driving force behind Meyer Farms Wine.
Meyer Farms began in 2007 with Vignoles, Norton, and Seyval Blanc. Now the vineyard cultivates 30 acres, adding Catawba, Chambourchin, and Muscat Valvin (a hybrid grape developed at Cornell University).
Bonnie Bell is the president of Meyer Farms.