Touring Missouri wine country is a great way to relsx and take the edge off of the day. There are a lot of other attractions besides the wine like the quaint antique shops, spectacular scenery, and some very nice bed and breakfasts too.
First stop on our list is the town of Augusta, about 37 miles west of St. Louis. This town is a perfect spot for a day trip or a romantic weekend. The German tradition of the area also includes beer. The Augusta Brewing Company offers a great selection of microbrews, good food, and the view overlooking the Missouri River isn’t so bad either.
Mount Pleasant Winery, located on High Street in Augusta, is up on the bluffs overlooking the Missouri River Valley and offers a good selection of estate-bottled, award-winning wines. Check out the ports, they are especially full-bodied and flavorful. Then visit Augusta Station, on Locust Street, and take a peek at the world’s only functioning train clock. They also have model train exhibits, a gift shop, and its all interactive.
In the events area, in September the Swingin in the Vines Swing Dance Festival and Contest is held. The third annual Augusta Beer Festival is in October. For twenty five dollars you get to taste the micro wares from about six different local breweries. There will be plenty of food and music on hand and each guest receives a free beer mug. When the weather turns cold, how about a warm glass of wine and a candlelight Christmas walk on the first and second Friday in December?
A short skip from Augusta is Defiance, Missouri. While in Defiance, check out the Sugar Creek Winery, 10 miles southwest of Hwy. 40. Overlooking row after row of French and American Hybrid grapes, the Sugar Creek’s wine terrace is a great place to relax and enjoy a sip. If you were thoughtful enough to bring your bicycle along, the Katy Trail, the largest bike/hike trail in the Midwest, is nearby.
Rounding out our trip is the tiny town of Dutzow. Dutzow is located on the Lewis and Clark Trail and the Katy Trail. It is home to the Blumenhof Vineyards and Winery. This winery features award-winning wines and free music every weekend.
A word about Missouri’s official State Wine, The Norton: If you like a big , earthy red wine like the Cabernets from California and France, then you’ll love Missouri’s Norton. The grape is named after Daniel Norborne Norton, a doctor from Richmond, Va. It is believed that he discovered it growing wild on his farm. Recent genetic tests have revealed that is a hybrid of several grapes from Europe, including the Cabernet. Currently you can only find this grape growing in Missouri and parts of Illinois and Virginia.
The wine is earthy, with lots of spice and all the wineries in Missouri age it in French Oak which gives it an intense flavor. It has won many awards dating all the way back to 1873, when it was described as “the best wine of all nations” at an international wine contest. The wine sells for about $18 a bottle, a little expensive compared to other sweet Missouri wines. But if you are in the mood for something different, give it a taste. Its available at most of the wineries in the state.