By Kaitlyn Wallace
Missouri is gaining a hot new destination for unique and relaxing meetings and events. Augusta, Missouri has long been locally famous for its small-town charm and peaceful natural setting; between beautiful expanses of hiking trails and a mild climate, Augusta provides a gorgeous backdrop for unwinding and escaping from the fast-paced and hyper-efficient culture of modern business.
And Augusta will now take on another destination descriptor: national winery destination. With an investment of over $100 million from the Hoffmann Family of Companies, Augusta has reached over 750 acres of vineyards and four wineries owned by the Hoffmann family alone. While these acquisitions will certainly increase general tourism in the area, they have also been explicitly designed to pull in business from the meetings and events industry and will undoubtedly contribute to Augusta’s growing reputation as a hub for Missouri business.
Up and Coming Attractions
Augusta’s revitalization is not limited to the development of new wineries. As Katie Adams, Managing Partner of GlobalWorks Events & Destination Management (part of the Hoffmann Family of Companies), explains: “Augusta will have all the elements for a meeting destination, including a 5-star hotel to be constructed starting next year with a premier 12-hole golf course designed by Rees Jones, a destination restaurant, riverboat cruises, trolleys, gator vineyard tours, private cellar tours and more.” Other attractions include weekend horse carriage tours, a trolley service running to and from the wineries, a just-opened emporium and general store, and bike shop. The Hoffmann Family has also arranged for Miss Augusta, a 96-foot luxury yacht, to offer private events and sightseeing tours come fall of 2021. As the revitalization project continues to grow, so will business-relevant attractions; plans for vineyard and winemaker tours as well as local history excursions will emphasize Augusta’s role as a national hotspot for meetings and events as well as a blooming national winery destination.
Augusta in the Spotlight
Augusta has always held a special charm in the hearts of surrounding cities. Only an hour away from downtown St. Louis, Augusta provides a perfect destination to incorporate rest and relaxation into any corporate venture. With sweeping views of the newly acquired vineyards and of untouched swaths of natural beauty, visitors will feel a sense of remote peace and quiet without being too far from a major metropolitan city. Katie Adams seconded this depiction, describing Augusta as “an area with a rich history, easy accessibility, and enjoyable climate. It has a real small-town charm from a bygone era– visiting there feels like going back in time. It provides an easy escape from the hustle and bustle of a major city.” With current trends in the meeting and events industry emphasizing the value of rest and of work-life balance, current developments in Augusta are bound to attract a variety of professional events looking to cater to employee’s renewed preferences for a peaceful meeting or conference setting.
There is no doubt that the Augusta revitalization project is bound to change the landscape of meetings and events in Missouri. “I personally think that this project will enhance other areas in Missouri as well,” Katie Adams projected, “The hype is out there. People are really excited about the project. It’s going to benefit businesses not only in Augusta, but also Washington, St. Charles, and other surrounding areas. It’s a very positive project for Missouri in general.” The incredible scope of the project underlines this sentiment; countless press releases and articles have explored the impact that the Augusta revitalization will have on all aspects of Missouri business. Thankfully, the meetings and events industry is high on the list of affected business areas: “David and Jerri Hoffmann have such a genuine love for the area. They’re very passionate about elevating the hospitality sector, and Augusta was a perfect fit for that,” says Katie Adams. With activities catered specifically to draw in corporate conferences, retreats, and meetings, Augusta is primed to become a business hotspot in Missouri.
Change is always on the horizon for the meetings and events industry. This has been especially true in the past year, in which the industry has struggled to return from an era in which large gatherings have been severely restricted. But as Katie Adams reminds us: “The meeting and event industry is coming back with a vengeance. The scene is evolving very quickly. Corporate groups are always on the hunt for new and unique destinations, and Augusta will be a unique destination for corporate retreats, weddings and more.”
Kaitlyn Wallace is a contributing writer from St. Louis.