Cottleville Winery Built On Wine, Whiskey & Cigars – The Rack House West Winery
Cottleville, MO/January 31, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) The Rack House West Winery – John and Bridgette Hamilton are wine lovers, but they may seem an unlikely pair to go into the winery business. They both have degrees in Pharmacy. Bridgette also has a master’s degree in counseling. Neither is a restaurateur and neither has a background in wine-making. But they love wine, and they dreamed of someday owning their own winery. They figured it would take them five or ten years to gain the knowledge to move forward. That was until 2013, when John had a discussion with an old high school classmate, Chris West.
Chris West is a Missouri winemaker. He’s been making wines using local fruits and grapes for more than 18 years. In 2007 he and his wife Jen opened West Winery in Macon, Missouri, about 160 miles northeast of St. Louis. Since then, they’ve added two new sites. They also own and serve their wine at Cave Hollow West Winery in Hannibal and West Winery at Jackson Stables in Kirksville, MO.
The Wests and the Hamilton’s joined forces and the result is The Rack House West Winery at 5065 State Highway N in Cottleville. This relaxing urban winery and whiskey bar opened in August 2014. Besides the other West labeled wines, Chris also makes wine on-site that are exclusive to The Rack House, including the Cottleville White, a sweet, fruity blend of Traminette, White Catawba, and Vignoles, and No. 87, a dry red that’s a balanced blend of a big bold Chambourcin with the spicy finish of Syrah. And $1.00 from each bottle of No. 87 sold is donated to the Cottleville Firefighter Outreach. Wines are available by the glass or bottle and there are case discounts.
There’s a tasting bar for sampling. A regular tasting includes half oz. samples of their seven most popular wines. A premium tasting includes samples of 12 currently available wines, including seasonal and reserved offerings. Or enjoy a wine flight—two ounce pours of three wines in a theme. The Crisp Whites flight includes Vidal Blanc, Smokestack White, and White Catawba. The Bold Reds flight includes samples of the Roundhouse Red, Wayward Red, and Norton. There are eight flights to choose from (including a mead flight), or create your own!
Come for a glass of wine and a snack, like bacon kettle corn (bourbon bacon, sweet kettle cooked popcorn, cranberries, and candied walnuts with black pepper), Wild Mushroom and Prosciutto Flatbread, or a charcuterie and cheese platter. Or have a whole meal. The Hamiltons tapped Chef Phillip Day (Café Solae, Lake Forest Country Club) to lead a culinary team that prepares a menu of delicious appetizers, salads, soups, sandwiches and entrees. There are classic done in clever combinations like BBQ pork tacos with cilantro lime slaw and pico de gallo; meatloaf with bourbon tomato jam, sweet potato purée, and hot bacon broccoli salad; and crab cakes remoulade with smashed potatoes and crispy Brussels sprouts. Everything is fresh, house-made, and delicious with wine.
The main dining area and tasting room are smoke free. But cigar patrons can enjoy the ventilated cigar lounge with over 40 selections of some of the biggest names in the industry. You’ll find Rocky Patel, Ashton, Alec Bradley, AJ Fernandez, Macanudo, Romeo y Juliet, Aerturo Fuente, and more. You’ll also find plush, leather chairs, a 60-inch flat screen TV and the full food and drink menus available. The Rack House cigar room is a unique space in St. Charles County.
The Rack House West Winery also specializes in whiskey, to the tune of more than 100 kinds, including bourbons, ryes, Scotches, and even George Dickel Single Barrel 9yr that’s unique to the Rack House. General Manager Josh French (Ritz-Carlton, Oceania) has acquired vast knowledge of whiskey. His expertise is highlighted with his rotation of barrel aged Manhattan’s and other unique blends as well as his Wednesday night Whiskey 101. French makes it a habit to spend a few minutes talking to customers about whiskey or beer and can help pair your drink with your cigar.
General Manager Josh French talked whiskey, bourbon, and Scotch with Great Day St. Louis’ Claire Kellett.
The Rack House West Winery serves lunch and dinner daily beginning at 11:00 a.m. They’re open until 10:00 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday, until midnight Friday – Saturday, and until 9:00 p.m. on Sundays. There are Happy Hour food and drink specials Sunday – Friday, live music most weekends, and they hold “Appreciation Nights” for first responders, health care workers, and teachers.
The Hamiltons wanted the Rack House West Winery to the kind of place they’d want to go to. So it’s a unique destination. It’s a tasting room, a whiskey bar, a restaurant, and a cigar lounge all rolled into one. Bridgette Hamilton says they look at everything from the customer’s perspective. They want everyone to feel welcome, especially those who are new to wine or whiskey. This unpretentious establishment is a great place to discover some great wines and whiskeys. The staff is friendly and knowledgeable. They’re happy to help customers find a wine or whiskey they’ll love. The laid back atmosphere, terrific wine, whisky, and food make the Rack House West Winery something special.