Great Wineries on St. Louis’ Doorstep
St. Louis, MO/June 18, 2017 (STLRestaurant.News) – Missouri has always been wine country. The rich, fertile soil, abundant sunshine, and crisp, cold winters make it ideal for growing grapes. German immigrants began growing grapes and producing wines here in the early 1800s. By the middle of the century, so much wine was being made that the region was nicknamed the “Missouri Rhineland.” Later in the 19th century, Italians came, bringing their own winemaking techniques. By the time Prohibition banned wine-making in the U.S., Missouri was the second-largest producer of wine in America. Fortunately, Prohibition was repealed. In the 1960s and early 1970s, Missouri’s winemaking tradition was beginning to come back. So it’s no real surprise that in 1980 the August Wine region along the Missouri River in St. Charles County was the first federally designated as an American Viticultural Area. That means there’s some really fine wine right on St. Louis’ doorstep.
We wanted to know where to find the best winery experience closed to home. So we checked customer reviews to find out where St. Louisans go for great wine and a beautiful place to drink it. We limited the results to wineries situated within an hour’s drive of the city center. That way, we knew these would be great daytrip destinations—no luggage required. That did leave out a lot of great wineries in places like St. Genevieve and Hermann, but what we found was a list of classic Missouri wineries along the Augusta Wine Trail, and a burgeoning selection of vintners in Jefferson County!
These wineries to the south of the city may be the best “unkept” secret in St. Louis, as is evidenced by this top 10! Leading the list is Wild Sun Winery in Hillsboro. Open since 2015, Wild Sun is one of the newest wineries on our list. The winery sits on an old country estate that dates to the 1870s. The winery is the collaboration of two experienced beverage professionals—former Anheuser Busch Marketing Manager Ed Wagner and veteran wine-maker Mark Baehmann (Montelle, Mount Pleasant, Chaumette). They don’t grow their own grapes like some wineries, but instead source their grapes from other Missouri growers to create a portfolio of wines that include an array of whites and reds that run from sweet to dry, and include a barrel-aged Chardonel, a well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon, and a port-style dessert wine.
Enjoy Wild Sun wines in their tasting room (inside the nearly 150-year old mansion), at an umbrellaed table on one of the spacious patios, or under the pavilion. The 10 acres of rolling hills and lush, green lawns make for great picnicking, and you’re welcome to bring a basket, blankets, and lawn chairs, but no outside beverages. They do offer a limited menu of light fare to accompany their wines, including pizza, soup, sausage, cheese and bread. There’s live music on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and Friday evenings too. Wild Sun is one of the newer wineries in the St. Louis area and it’s only 25-minutes south of the city.
We found lots of great wineries just a stone’s throw from St. Louis. It seems any direction you head from the city, and you’ll find a unique winery waiting for you. Here are the top 10 wineries within an hour’s drive of St. Louis:
1. Wild Sun Winery (4.82 stars/28 reviews) Jefferson County, 4830 Pioneer Road, Hillsboro, MO 63050, (636) 797-8686.
2. Lake Creek Winery (4.72 stars/27 reviews) Warren County, 15088 Boone Monument Road, Marthasville, MO 63357, (636) 242-2036.
3. The Terrace at French Village (4.68 stars/28 reviews) Sainte Francois County, 6188 Hwy Y, French Village, MO 63036, (573) 358-7177
4. Augusta Winery (4.32 stars/36 reviews) St. Charles County, 5601 High Street, Augusta, MO 63332, (636) 228-4301.
5. The Weingarten (4.26 stars/28 reviews) St. Clair County, 1780 East State Rt 15, Belleville, IL 62221, (618) 257-9463.
6. Villa Antonio Winery (4.25 stars/48 reviews) Jefferson County, 3660 Linhorst Road, Hillsboro, MO 63050, (636) 475-5008.
7. Balducci Vineyards (4.24 stars/56 reviews) St. Charles County, 6601 South Hwy 94, Augusta, MO 63332, (636) 482-8466.
8. Noboleis Vineyards (4.23 stars/44 reviews) St. Charles County, 100 Hemsath Road, Augusta, MO 63332, (636) 482-4500.
9. Blumenhof Vineyards & Winery (4.23 stars/48 reviews) Warren County, 13699 South Hwy 94, Dutzow, MO 63342, (800) 419-2245.
10. EdgeWild Restaurant and Winery (4.02 stars/330 reviews) St. Louis County, 550 Chesterfield Center, Chesterfield, MO 63017, (636) 532-0550.
Montelle Winery (3.74 stars/193 reviews) St. Charles County, 201 Montelle Drive, Augusta, MO 63332, (636) 228-4464. This is the classic Augusta Wine Trail winery experience. Montelle Winery offers some of the best views of the Missouri River valley from its perch atop the Osage ridge. Montelle is known for making comfortable wines that people like to drink. Their Dry Vignoles won the 2008 Missouri Governor’s Cup (best overall wine), and Montell was the first winery in Missouri with a distillery that produces four kinds of brandy: apple, peach, cherry and grape (grappa).
LaChance Vineyards (4.32 stars/20 reviews) Jefferson County, 12237 Peter Moore Lane, De Soto, MO 63020, (636) 586-2777. Located just 45 minutes south of St. Louis, you will find this elegant, family-owned vineyard nestled amidst the picturesque, rolling hills of southern Jefferson County. The LaChance wines are distinctive, with a well-balanced menu of sweets (both red and white), blushes, dry wines and a very fine Norton. Enjoy the splendid views of the vineyards while you sip wine and nibble local sausage and cheeses, or bring a picnic basket to enjoy.