David and Jerri Hoffmann have a vision.
We know The Hoffmann Family of Companies for their success in helping strengthen the commercial skyline of Naples, and now the couple is returning to their Missouri roots to help energize the region as an agri-tourism destination.
Before Napa, there was Missouri, the home to the country’s first designated AVA. An American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The Hoffmanns are honoring this unique destination around their investments in four wineries, six vineyards, more than a dozen small-town businesses, a five-star hotel, luxury riverboat, amphitheater, and golf course. Combined with their other business ventures there, the Hoffmanns expect to one day employ as many as 2,000 employees in the Augusta and Washington market.
When the Hoffmanns set their goals, these wineries were collectively doing about 650,000 bottles a year in sales. Last year, that number climbed to about a million, with a plan to bottle about 2 million bottles a year and plant about 50 acres of new grape vineyards each year.
One of the larger projects in the new portfolio is an amphitheater that will hold up to 500 guests. Construction is expected to be completed soon and the venue will host events and concerts, featuring well-known artists, an important slice of the pie to the Hoffmanns, bringing a well-roundedness to the destination.
And, Mid-American Coaches, a tour agency out of Washington, Missouri, was also purchased by the Hoffmanns, operating a trolley that will transport guests between wineries in Augusta and Washington.
Next up are plans for a 100-acre resort including a five-star hotel on 100 acres with 53 rooms and seven suites. Other amenities will include conference and meeting room space, a wedding venue, spa, gym, yoga studio, indoor and outdoor pool, walking paths, a lounge, and a restaurant.
A former seminary campus will be renovated to house a second hotel to accommodate what will surely be an influx of visitors from Naples and around the country.
In total, the company has purchased more than 25 properties in the Augusta area — including Augusta Winery, Mount Pleasant Winery, Montelle Winery and Balducci Vineyards — that span more than 700 acres.
One of the company’s most recent businesses is the Augusta Clothing Co., a fashion boutique that is the creation of Jerri Hoffmann and a 96-foot luxury yacht named "Miss Augusta" —offering daytime excursions and private events.
The entire regional investment by the Hoffmanns tallies at least $150 million.
When settlers established the first 60 wineries in the area in the 1850s, they couldn’t have dreamed of what the rolling landscape would look like 170 years later. And, when Italian immigrants established vineyards in the St. James area of Missouri, their wine industry thrived at the turn of the century, with about 100 wineries throughout the state. Wine connoisseurs enjoyed 2 million gallons of Missouri wine each year. Missouri wines began winning international awards and acclaim. It is this rich history that the Hoffmanns are building on. And, to that, we say CHEERS!