Feel the Charm of Boenker Hill Vineyard and Winery
Bridgeton, MO/December 20, 2016 (STLRestaurant.News) On Friday I spent the afternoon at one of the coziest little wineries in town and I wanted to share my experience with our readers. I’d written about Boenker Hill Vineyard and Winery back in August when I first found out that there actually is a winery located right in Bridgeton. I was pleasantly surprised. I believe many of us associate mainly the Augusta and Hermann areas in St Louis and Grafton on the Illinois side when we think about Wineries.
So why is this so important? It’s because the U.S. is the largest wine consuming nation in the world. It has grown continuously in consumption over the past 20 years. A 1993 study by the Wine Institute revealed that Americans only drank 1.74 gallons of wine per capita that year, but by 2013 that figure had risen to 2.82 gallons. Over 329 million cases of wine were sold in 2013.
It’s evident that today the wine tourism industry is growing across America. It has become an integral and essential component of America’s culture. There are currently over 7,700 wineries across the country, in all of the 50 states. Wineries have become such a popular commodity these days that they’ve all but replaced afternoons hanging out at bars unless there happens to be a sporting event at a Sports Bar.
There are several factors that can be attributed to the increase in popularity. Americans are dining out more and embracing wine as a beverage to complement their foods, and many are simply welcoming that it’s a means of creating a relaxed and fun social atmosphere with friends and family. It has also become a drink of choice for many of today’s Millennials. Any way you look at it…wine plays an extremely important role in our daily lives.
Boenker Hill Vineyard and Winery, is most definitely a well hidden secret that needs to be shared with the thousands of St. Louis’ wine lovers. Opened in 2015, the Winery sits on 34 acres of beautiful country landscape that houses a farmhouse and barn, a beautiful butterfly garden, spectacular 600 feet hill top views, and a tremendous amount of walking grounds.
Video courtesy of Boenker Hill Vineyard and Winery, Bridgeton, MO
The barn, which sits on 4 acres at the top of the hill, underwent an extensive makeover in preparation for outdoor parties such as weddings, family gatherings, and corporate events. Inside, you’ll find an enticing Wine Bar and Tasting Room, a kitchen big enough to support full catering, and a little shopping area filled with delightful wine related novelties and accessories available for purchase. I did not leave empty handed.
I so enjoyed meeting Matthew and JoLynn Boenker, the charming couple that own and manage the Winery. You won’t meet a lovelier or more outgoing couple. They met when they were both young and in the Navy and have been married ever since. The Boenker’s were more than happy to share some of the farms rich history with me.
The long-standing Boenker Hill Family Farm is one of the last remaining Missouri Centennial Farms in St. Louis County. It’s been in operation since the 1800’s. Originally an Indian Burial Ground for thousands of years, it would later be turned into a flourishing family homestead abundant with wheat, corn, soybeans, fruit trees and grapes.
When his mother passed away in 2003 Matthew, one of ten siblings, made the decision to hold on to the property and pursue his vision of re-creating the working vineyard and winery. His labor of love has turned into a rewarding venture. Boenker Hill Vineyard and Winery hosted its first wedding in September of 2014, and the vintage charm of the property continues to draw those from all around to celebrate their love, and life together.
The Winery’s focus is on Missouri wines, and they source all of the grapes from Missouri vineyards. I had the opportunity to taste a sample of each of the wines and one was better than the next. The Norton, Vignola’s, and Vidal Blanc are their dryer wines. From the rich, full-bodied Norton to the luscious floral aroma and fruity flavors of Vignola’s and Vidal’s dry- to semi-dry, zesty, aromatic characteristics…they all had something exceptional to offer.
The Semi-Dry Red Wine, a mix of herbal notes with dark berries and cassis, and the Semi-Sweet Rose Rosé with its lighter and fruitier hints were both outstanding. I tend to prefer the sweeter wines so the last three I tasted made the top of my list. The Sweet Red Wine was the perfect combination of bright, creamy and lush flavors of fresh cherries and juicy peaches, while the Sweet White Wine embodied an abundant “fruitiness” which was delightful to both smell and taste.
Last, but definitely not least, was the Starboard, an amazing port wine. In the case of Port, the addition of the brandy takes place before the wine has finished fermenting, allowing it to retain some of the natural sweetness of the grape, making it rich, round and smooth on the palate. More than any other wine, Port offers endless opportunities for pairing with food.
It was both fun and educational tasting and learning about the different wines and a great way to spend a day or night. While you’re there, you get a relaxed feeling that you’re removed from the bustle of the city, even without having to leave the city. And for wine drinkers, that short drive can be a big plus!
Bridgeton, MO 63044
Phone: (314) 736-6428
Business hours: Friday & Saturday from 12 am (noon) to 6 pm and Sunday from 12 am (noon) to 5 pm
Special note: The Winery will be closed from December 19th through December 28th for Christmas but will re-open on December 29th, just in time to bring in the New Year!
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