Anyone can run to the store and pick up a bottle of wine, but to really get a feel for the vineyard experience, you should visit a winery or two — or a half-dozen or so. With 128 wineries to choose from, planning a Missouri wine tour could get out of hand. So take the guesswork out of your itinerary and check out the wine trails of the Show-Me State.
Nearly half of Missouri’s wineries have organized themselves into 10 regional wine trails. Some are big, some are small — there’s bound to be a route tailor-made for your tastes.
Time for a road trip …
Missouri River Wine Trail
The Big Muddy links half a dozen wineries in Columbia’s backyard. Wine trail members include Les Bourgeois Vineyards in Rocheport, The Cooper’s Oak Winery in Boonville and Higbee, Bushwhacker Bend Winery in Glasgow, Serenity Valley Winery near Millersburg, Canterbury Hill Winery in Holts Summit and Westphalia Vineyards in Westphalia.
Vino Vibe: Find spectacular blufftop views at Les Bourgeois and Canterbury Hill; check out the adjacent A&K Cooperage at Cooper’s Oak; enjoy the laid-back riverbank ambience of Bushwhacker Bend; relax lakeside at Serenity Valley; sample no-added-sulfite wines at Westphalia.
Trail Events: The Missouri River Wine Trail schedules four special events each year to celebrate spring, barbecue, locally grown herbs and other mid-Missouri products. The Bounty of the Harvest Nov. 8–9 will feature chefs creating wine and food pairings from local products in the area. The $20 ticket ($22 online) includes a souvenir wineglass.
Find Out More: www.missouririverwinetrail.com
Hermann Wine Trail
German immigrants settled around the Missouri River at Hermann because it reminded them of the Rhine Valley in their homeland. Home to some of the oldest wineries in Missouri, Hermann’s German heritage offers plenty of festivals to celebrate the seasonal cycles of life — Maifest, Wurstfest, Oktoberfest — amid closely located wineries with stunning views. Wine trail members include Hermann wineries Adam Puchta, Stone Hill, Hermannhof with the adjacent Dierberg Star Lane tasting room, and OakGlenn, plus Bias Vineyards & Winery in Berger and Röbller Winery in New Haven.
Vino Vibe: Sample some of the best Norton in the state at Stone Hill, winner of back-to-back trifecta victories at the Missouri Wine Competition; savor the history at Adam Puchta, America’s oldest continually family owned winery; check out the traditional German Festhalle at Hermannhof and its California tasting room next-door; enjoy the jams late into the night at OakGlenn’s Saturday night concerts; pack a picnic at Röbller; enjoy a craft beer with your wine at Bias’ pioneering microbrewery.
Trail Events: Chocolate, bacon and barbecue enjoyed the spotlight earlier this year on the Hermann Wine Trail. Upcoming events are the Holiday Fare Wine Trail Nov. 15–16, an annual celebration of good food and good wine, and the Say Cheese Wine Trail Dec. 13–14, a sampler of wine and cheese pairings that coincides with Hermann’s Kristkindl Markt, an Old-World holiday market. Each event ticket is $30 and includes a souvenir wineglass.
Find Out More: www.hermannwinetrail.com
Scenic Highway 94 winds through the Missouri Weinstrasse, a 10-mile ramble through the first designated American Viticultural Area. Weinstrasse members include Balducci Vineyards, Augusta Winery and Montelle Winery in Augusta, and Sugar Creek Vineyards & Winery in Defiance. The four wineries offer more than 100 wines.
Vino Vibe: Try Augusta Winery’s award-winning rosé, La Fleur Sauvage; savor the taste of Tuscany at Balducci’s; indulge in fruit brandies and icewine at Montelle; venture onto the Katy Trail at Sugar Creek.
Trail Events: The Missouri Weinstrasse’s only event this year was the Glover/Weinstrasse Road Trip in April, an all-inclusive bus tour that offered transportation, food, wine tasting and a souvenir T-shirt.
Find Out More: www.moweinstrasse.com
Kansas City Wine Trail
Stretching 70 miles from the orchards of Waverly to the heart of Kansas City, this wine trail offers country and city ambience among its nine winery stops. The wine trail includes Arcadian Moon Vineyards & Winery in Higginsville, Odessa Country Winery in Odessa, Stonehaus Farms Winery in Lee’s Summit, Amigoni Urban Winery in Kansas City, Albonée Country Inn & Winery in Independence, La Bella Winery in Wellington, Fahrmeier Family Vineyards in Lexington, Terre Beau Winery in Dover and Baltimore Bend Vineyard in Waverly.
Vino Vibe: Enjoy wine without pretense in Baltimore Bend, home to an excellent collection of blends and fruit wines; check out the lake country surrounding newcomer Arcadian Moon; buy fresh farm products along with your wine at Fahrmeier; indulge your sweet tooth at Odessa; order up wood-fired pizza on the patio at La Bella; explore Santa Fe Trail history at Terre Beau; taste the best Vignoles in the state at Stonehaus; sample small-lot handcrafted wine in the heart of the city at Amigoni; retreat to the country at Albonée.
Trail Events: This is one of Missouri’s newest wine trails. Although no special events are on the calendar yet, the wine trail website offers driving directions for mini tours of clustered wineries and vineyards.
Find Out More: www.kcwineries.com
Mississippi River Hills Wine Trail
The mighty Mississippi rolls through some of the prettiest countryside in the Midwest. Along the river’s route, you’ll find four family-owned wineries that cherish the quiet pace of the Mississippi River Hills Wine Trail. Members include The Barrens Winery in Perryville, Hemman Winery in Brazeau, Apple Creek Vineyard & Winery in Friedheim and Hunter Valley Winery in Cape Girardeau.
Vino Vibe: Drink in the rustic beauty of the Apple Creek landscape while sipping on the deck or the creek bank; listen to the breeze sing through the treetops at The Barrens; savor the sweet life at Hemman Winery while exploring the 150-year-old store it calls home; feed the fish lakeside at Hunter Valley.
Trail Events: There are three “Taste of …” events each year for chocolate lovers, barbecue fans and holiday spirits. The wineries also spent the entire month of August celebrating “Lazy Days Along The Wine Trail” with customer appreciation promotions. A Taste Of The Holidays rings in the yuletide season Nov. 9–10. The $20 ticket ($25 at the door) gets you fine wine paired with a holiday treat at each winery. Visit all four stops to register for prize drawings.
Find Out More: www.mississippiriverhillswinetrail.com
Ozark Mountain Wine Trail
This sprawling trail links a loose confederation of nine wineries and a distillery deep in the Missouri Ozarks. Trail members include 7C’s Winery in Walnut Grove, Tyler Ridge Vineyard Winery and OOVVDA Winery in Springfield, Whispering Oaks Vineyard & Winery in Seymour, Copper Run Distillery in Walnut Shade, Lindwedel Wine Garden in Branson, Lewsi Winery in Galena, Williams Creek Winery in Mount Vernon, White Rose Winery in Carthage and Keltoi Vineyard in Oronogo.
Vino Vibe: Sample delectable meads (honey wine) at 7C’s; meditate in the spiritual Irish calm of “Maynooth” at Keltoi; get up a game of bocce balls on the bluff above Table Rock Lake at Lewsi’s small-batch winery; relax in the Lindwedel wine garden at Table Rock; learn about the Viking heritage of OOVVDA as you savor Ozarks fruit wines; pamper yourself at the Irish estate of White Rose; climb to the highest point in the state to sample the Ozarks terroir of Whispering Oaks; find a hometown welcome in Williams Creek’s historic Mount Vernon; sit a spell in the arbor swing at Tyler Ridge; add some spirits to your tour with a moonshine tasting at Copper Run Distillery.
Trail Events: The wineries participate in a passport program. Visit six wineries and receive a stemless glass; a visit to all 10 nets you a tote bag.
Find Out More: www.ozarkmountainwinetrail.org
The oldest city in Missouri is home to some of the most innovative winery venues in the state. The area’s French heritage is on display in the Route Du Vin Wine Trail. Members include Sainte Genevieve Winery, Cave Vineyard, Charleville Winery & Brewing Co. and Chaumette Winery & Vineyards in Ste. Genevieve, plus Twin Oaks Vineyard & Winery and Sand Creek Vineyard in Farmington.
Vino Vibe: Sip wine in the natural cave wine cellar at Cave Vineyard; picnic under the grape arbor in the French Colonial district at Ste. Genevieve Winery; sample handcrafted wines and microbrewed beers in Charleville’s rustic setting above the Saline Creek Valley; soak up the resort-style amenities at Chaumette; cozy up to the fire pit on the Sand Creek veranda and watch the parade of wildlife in the valley below; revel in the panoramic vineyard view surrounding the tasting room and wraparound “glass house” patio at Twin Oaks.
Trail Events: Route Du Vin will close out its 2014 schedule with Wine Diva Weekend, Nov. 15–16, where each winery on the trail will offer wine paired with a “diva treat.” Next year’s events include Souper Wine Weekend Jan. 10–11, Romancing The Grape Feb. 14–15 and Jour De La Terre April 18–19. All event tickets are $29.66; view menus online.
Find Out More: www.rdvwinetrail.com
Aux Arcs Wine Road
French settlers had a name for the region north of the northernmost bend in the Arkansas River: Aux Arcs. Today, we call it the Ozarks. Missouri’s smallest wine trail has just three stops in two towns — Traver Home Winery in Willow Springs, and Horst Vineyards and Viandel Vineyard in Mountain View.
Vino Vibe: Chat with the winemaker while sampling wines in the production room at Traver Home; relax on the deck at Horst; raise a toast to the gorgeous Ozarks scenery at Viandel.
Trail Events: Make a purchase at each of the three wineries on the Aux Arcs Wine Road and receive a free souvenir glass at the last stop.
Find Out More: www.auxarcswineroad.com
The Great Northwest Missouri Wine Trail
One of the newest wine trails sweeps over northwest Missouri, away from the bright city lights to the south. The trail includes Belvoir Winery in Liberty, Jowler Creek Vineyard & Winery in Platte City, Pirtle Winery in Weston, Riverwood Winery in North Rushville, Windy Wine Co. in Osborn, Ladoga Ridge Winery in Smithville, Fence Stile Vineyards & Winery in Excelsior Springs and Van Till Family Farm & Winery in Rayville. Missouri’s newest winery, Weston Wine Co., should be joining the trail soon.
Vino Vibe: Puzzle over Murder Mystery Dinners at Belvoir; pair a visit to The Elms with a tasting weekend at Fence Stile; keep an eye out for creek critters while sipping the fruits of Missouri’s first green vineyard and winery at Jowler Creek; find respite from the workaday rush at Ladoga Ridge; sample the signature meads and fruit wines of Pirtle; get a “taste of place” from the truly local wines of Riverwood; relish the “farm to table” experience at Van Till; taste the range of traditional grape wines, meads and fruit wines from the century farm of Windy Wine Co.
Trail Events: The wineries have not yet scheduled any trail events.
Find Out More: www.nwmissouriwine.com
Lake Of The Ozarks Wine Trail
The state’s newest wine trail formed in August. Members include Shawnee Bluff Winery and Shawnee Bluff Vineyard in Lake Ozark, Seven Springs Winery in Linn Creek, and Camdenton wineries Golden Rock, Casa De Loco and Sugar Loaf Vineyard.
Vino Vibe: Check out the jaw-dropping views from Shawnee Bluff; leave the driving to Seven Springs with its Lake shuttle service; cast off on a float trip from Casa De Loco; dine on “green” kitchen cuisine at Golden Rock; work up a thirst for waterfront tastings with a kayak adventure on the Lake at Sugar Loaf.
Trail Events: All member wineries will gather Nov. 1 at Poverty Flats in Osage Beach for a wine sampling with Thanksgiving food pairings. The event runs from 1 to 5 p.m. and includes live entertainment. Tickets are $10, and 50 percent of ticket sales will benefit The Food Bank for Central & Northeast Missouri.
Find Out More: www.lakeoftheozarkswinetrail.com.
NOTE: It is against Missouri law to carry any outside beverages of any kind onto a winery’s property — leave your beer, wine (from other sources), soda and other beverages in the car.
Find out more about Missouri Wine at www.MissouriWine.org.