“A beautiful home site for famous homemade Rhubarb and Norton Grape wines with a dinner of schweinhaxen and sauerkraut: NewMarket, Marion County, Missouri”
Taking a step back together in history, let’s splice and explore the commercial wine making enterprise within NewMarket. The hillsides and areas surrounding NewMarket were known to have approximately 50 small individual vineyards, along with five to ten rhubarb plots.
During the mid to late 1800’s, NewMarket was known for its famous tasting wines. There was a distillery and wine vats located in the area where made peach brandy and whiskey were made. The wine vats produced blackberry, elderberry and rhubarb wines. Outside vineyards grew grapes for fresh fruit and homemade wines. The excess grapes were sold to the distillery.
In a town which has disappeared, there has not been any information found on how these grapes and fruits were made into wine. Therefore, it leads to falling back on memories of how homemade wine was made dating back to the Civil War era.
Porter Moss’s great grandfather Sickles was with Colonel Porter CSA in NewMarket and met the local families, mostly of German decent, who were making wines and cooking pork dinners. After the war was over, Grandfather Sickles taught all his kids to make wine and to cook pork dinners.
Going back a few years, approximately 50 years to be exact, a person could still find old original home settlement sites where the log cabins have rotted down. A walk through the woods today shows evidence of old grape vines and rhubarb patches, surrounded by brush and home to a lot of snakes. The older grape vines are now referred to as wild grapes. These grapes from the NewMarket era, used for eating and homemade wine, are known as the Catawba, Concord and the best overall was the Norton grapes. Blending the grapes was a practice well known, with the most popular blend being two quarts of Norton grapes and one quart of Concord grapes.
A man named, Frederick Carl Eberle, came to the United States, from Wurttemberg, Germany, in 1850, settling in NewMarket. Eberle was 21 years old when he traveled to and arrived in the United States alone. He had two wives, the first being Katharine (Lanz) Eberle from 1822-1883, and then Rosene Eberle from 1841-1903. Eberle was in charge of the distillery in NewMarket and became famous for his homemade wine.
The grapes were grown North of NewMarket, on top of a hill, above the old stage coach line road. There was a steep hill used to transport the grapes downhill to the wooden vats. The hill was too far to go around, equaling a mile and a half and too steep for horses or wheelbarrows to climb.
Eberle became famous for his special rhubarb wine. No one seems to recall a lot about his grape wines, but when you said rhubarb that could only mean it was Eberle’s. The rhubarb wine was made in large oak barrels in the basement of Eberle’s home.
Eberle lived in a home located on the south side of the road, just south of the Olson house and south of block number 10. The home was one log room and one room of clap boards on the east. Inside, Eberle had a trap door with ropes used similar like a dumbwaiter elevator. The ropes pulled up a wooden platform with bottles of wine for his customers to select their bottle or jug of rhubarb wine.
Eberle had a wooden trough built from large oak trees, which stretched from the top of the hill’s vineyard to the bottom of the steep hill equaling approximately 100 feet. The trough built 3-4 inches thick and in 10-12 feet sections, which were nailed and connected together equaling 100 feet in length. After the six acres of de-stemmed grapes were loaded into a wheelbarrow, the grapes then, were dumped into the top of the wooden trough. The trough, which was a nearly straight slope, allowed the grapes to tumble down to the bottom filling wooden oak wine vats. The grapes ended their journey in the oak wine vats inside the caves.
After the grapes were harvested and delivered down the hill, Eberle would start his famous process of creating wine. The process started with clear spring water, which was brought in by teams of horses, pulling barrels of the spring water on sleds. Although there is no recorded recipe for Eberle’s famous tasting wines, there is information of where the wooden wine vats were stored to make the wine. Caves were dug and carved into the hillside where the vats were placed during the wine making process.
Eberle, stood approximately six feet four inches, had a slim build and was a very industrious man. People traveled miles to drink Eberle’s wine, making NewMarket an attraction to travelers. Not only did he make popular wine, but Eberle developed and grew some of the largest and most beautiful flowers in NewMarket. He grew very high and large spiked hyacinths, tulips and peonies. His entire home was surrounded by beautiful flowers almost year-round. Eberle’s house was the floral showcase in NewMarket for years. The flowers Eberle grew were sold for others for personal use and for funerals.
Eberle lived to be 86 years old, passing away in 1915, and is buried in the NewMarket Cemetery, also known as the Mitchell Cemetery. Eberle only had one child, a daughter named Emma M. Eberle Lear born in 1860, with his first wife.
Today, Eberle leaves the unsolved mystery of how his rhubarb wine was processed to be so potent and what he did to grow such large and beautiful flowers in the little town of NewMarket.
Schweinhoxen (Ham Hocks) and Sauerkraut
-4-large, (3-4 pounds) meaty fresh ham hocks, leave skin on and score 1 inch with sharp knife
-4 teaspoons of Kosher Sea Salt
-4 teaspoon of baking soda
-2 teaspoons of black peppercorns
-1 teaspoon of whole allspice
-1 teaspoon of cumin
-2 teaspoons of Rosemary
-1 cup of apple cider vinegar
-2 baking pans, 9”x13”x2”
Heat oven to 170 degrees – 200 degrees, spray olive oil into a 9”x13”x2” baking pan, place pan of hocks on center shelf and bake for 2 hours with 30 minutes basting as needed with pan juices, after two hours, take out of oven, check internal temperature, need the inside of hock to be 150 degrees, pour half cup of apple cider vinegar over the hocks, turn oven up to 225 degrees for one more hour, check hocks for internal temperature of 170 degrees, take out and set to cool
3-16 ounce cans of quality kraut
1-cup of Stone Hill Norton Red Wine
1-teaspoon caraway seed
1 ½ teaspoon fine grain with sugar
¼ teaspoon medium ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cumin
In a separate 9”x13”x2 pan add SauerKraut, wash SauerKraut twice before adding to pan, place in oven with hocks for 30 minutes at 325 degrees, brown and turn four times, both pans will fit in a standard oven.
If cold outside, warm plates. Place one hock in center of each plate surrounded with 6 ounces of hot kraut. Pour yourself a big Northeast Missouri farmer water glass of Stone Hill Norton Red Wine, Smile and it doesn’t get any better than this.
In the mean time, take care, be good and God Bless.
Grandma Sickles Homemade Wine Recipe
Porter remembers as a kid growing up, being inducted into all the aspects of helping his Grandma around the farm. Remember, if deciding to follow this recipe, it has been recorded by memory only, making no promises of the success of the final product.
Porter shares the making of two different types of wine, the first Norton grape wine, blended with the Concord and the second, rhubarb wine. The Norton Grape Wine is a semi-dry red table wine and the Rhubarb Wine is a semi-sweet, white-blush wine, with a slight after taste bite. Following this recipe is recommended to be done outside or in a place a mess would be welcomed.
Homemade Wine Recipe:
-7 pounds Norton Grapes
-3 pounds Concord Grapes
-7 pounds sugar
-2 gallons extra clear/clean water
-Wash and clean grapes with clean clear filtered water
-Mix sugar with enough water to dissolve the sugar
-Add stomped/mashed grapes to a 5-gallon pottery crock
-Stir with wooden spoon to blend
-Fill crock with filtered water up to five or six inches below full
-Cover with clean cheese cloth
**make sure your crock is in a safe, cool, dark place where it will sit for three months
-The fermentation will cause bubbles and fizzing. Check every few weeks to make sure all is well. When the fermentation has completely stopped, dip out of crock and strain through three layers of cheesecloth into another crock.
-Then locate and sterilize bottles. With a dipper and funnel fill each bottle to 1 inch below top.
-Next, try to find and seal, using corks only. Grandma always used small popcorn cobs, as this was all she had.
-Set the bottles in racks
-If making rhubarb wine, use the same recipe above except do not blend, all 10 pounds will go in the crock, using only large ripe red/pink stalks and cut into ¼ to ½ disks.
-After the wine has been bottled and sealed, it will now need to set another three months
Overall, it will take about 5-6 months for the wine to be ready. On the fifth month, pull a cork on one bottle, tasting to see if and when the wine will be ready.
The wine should be very fine homemade wine. From time to time, Grandma would lose a few bottles, but overall, as time and practical experience evolved, all without electric or modern items, she became a wonderful wine maker. Porter’s Grandma was named Alma Virginia Sickles, born in 1882, died at the age of 97. She was pure Dutch, Dutch and Dutch.