Arkansas Historic Wine Museum
The Arkansas Historic Wine Museum was officially incorporated in 1994. Owner Robert G. Cowie began collecting historic artifacts in 1967. The Arkansas Historic Museum is the only wine museum in the United States that is dedicated solely to preserving the wine heritage of a single state and is the recipient of numerous awards.
Backstory and Context
Cowie traveled throughout Arkansas, visiting current and former winery operators to collect artifacts from nearly every winery that had operated in the state in the past half-century. Many of the state's wineries were operated by immigrants from Europe who arrived in the states with wine-making skills. In addition, there were also Catholic Priests from Europe that brought wine with them to Arkansas to perform their Mass ceremonies. Many of these wine-makers made their way to the Ozarks and Ouachita regions. When Prohibition ended, the state of Arkansas again became a major wine-producing region with as many as 1,000 wine permits being issued by the state. Of course, many of these permits were not for commercial use.
he museum is home to many presses and crushers that were used to manufacture wine in Arkansas. The museum also holds a collection of historic bottles, some with unique labels and names that reflect the culture of the South. One of the highlights of the museum is its 2,000-gallon wine tank that came from the Henry J. Sax Winery. There is also a cask housed in this museum that can hold up to 1,800 gallons that came from the Cowie Wine Cellars. Another highlight of the museum is the "Gallery of Barrels" assembled by Bette Kay Cowie.