Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wine For Dessert (Literally)

I feel like I can't be the only with this dilemma. There is nothing worse than finishing a big Thanksgiving meal and looking at all those desserts, knowing that you do not have any more room for any of those delicious pies, cakes, and cookies. You try to walk off some food and make space, bust out the sweat pants, or just gorge yourself anyway, but none of these are ideal.. Well, I have found a solution, and it's wine! Pumpkin Pie Wine, that is, from Wenwood Farm Winery in Bland Missouri. This wine is the closest I've ever come to drinking a liquid version of pumpkin pie with a bonus of alcohol.

This wine can be chilled, served at room temperature, or slightly warmed to enhance the mouth-feel and aroma of the pumpkin pie awesomeness contained within. You could even go crazy and try putting some whipped cream on it! (Let me know how that works out for you. I'm very curious, yet unwilling to risk possibly ruining my wine.) I have tried a few pumpkin wines this year, but this is my first pumpkin PIE wine. Just sit back in your stretchy pants, pour yourself a glass, and enjoying drinking your pumpkin pie dessert.

Fall is also the season for mulled wines. All you need is a good base wine warmed up with sugar, spices, and citrus fruits. Edg-Clif's Hollyberry Red is the perfect wine to make a Holiday Treat Mulled Wine. The holiday gift wine comes complete with a gift tag and the mulled wine recipe. It's fun, easy and a great indulgence on a chilly day relaxing by a warm fire. The best way to warm your wine is too use a crock pot and share with good friends.

There are also times when I feel like I have to choose... wine or dessert? I usually pick wine (priorities), but now I don't have to. In the small town of Hermann, Missouri, I have made a wonderful discovery at Jillsie's Bistro & Boutique Cafe. Along with numerous lattes, smoothies, and breakfast delights, you can also order Norton Ice Cream. Yes, you read that right, and no, it's not just Norton flavored ice cream.


Real Norton wine from Stone Hill Winery is an ingredient in this splendid treat. This homemade ice cream is a beautiful lavender hue. When you taste it, you will immediately taste pure, simple homemade ice cream, and it finishes as if you just took a sip of a delicious Norton.  Stone Hill's Norton really enhances the vanilla and is not at all overpowering. Jillsei's has combined wine and ice cream, and it's pure genius!

So there you have it; these three excellent options to finish off your Thanksgiving dinner with that incorporate fabulous Missouri wines. What is your favorite wine-related dessert? Please share with on MO Wine Please's Facebook page.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Autumn Recipe: Soft Pumpkin Cookies - Paired w/ Cynthiana

Looking for a quick, easy way to please the pallets of loved ones (especially the kiddos) while at the same time your own?  These soft, pumpkin cookies are simply wonderful!!  

Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Prep: 10 min.
Cooking: 18 min.
Level: easy (peasy)
Cooling: 15 min.
Yields: about 36 cookies

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
    1 cup 100% Pure Pumpkin
    1 large egg
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease baking sheets.

    COMBINE flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in medium bowl. Beat sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla extract until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto prepared baking sheets.
BAKE for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely. Drizzle Glaze over cookies.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Route du Vin's Wine Diva Weekend

The Route du Vin wine trail throws so many great events throughout the year. 

On the weekend of November 16th & 17th, Route du Vin will be helping to bring out the WINE DIVA in everyone! Grab your winery hopping buddies and head to Ste. Genevieve for two days full of fabulous wine pairings. All 6 wineries will be participating and have delicious wine and food pairing planned that highlight their Missouri wines. The event runs for 11am  -5pm each day and costs $25 per person. 


Semi Sweet White Chambourcin paired with Chocolate Wine Cake

Corn and green Chili pudding paired with Off Dry Chardonel

Crispy County Line Farm sweet potato Samosas with cranberry chutney paired with Mosaic wine

Sand Creek Sweet Chardonel served with Flaky Apple Turnovers topped with caramel glaze

Cranberry wine paired with Cranberry Turkey Pinwheels

Decadently sweet Wolf Creek wine with rich Brownie, Chocolate Mousse and whipped cream cups

Monday, October 14, 2013

The Hunt for Pumpkin

I do consider myself a connoisseur of pumpkin beers from the various microbreweries here in Missouri, but pumpkin that is something you have to hunt for.

Why is it that a state that is perfectly capable of producing pumpkins on a wide scale has yet to produce a popular pumpkin wine?  Perhaps it is the amount of change one must do to the pumpkin with regards to additives to get the yeast really pump(k)in'.  It's really hard to imagine why though a winery wouldn't at least try a seasonal wine such as this.

It already is a norm for a winery to go as far as to add spices to their wines during the holiday season.  This addition of what most wineries refer to as "mulled spices" can be pleasant, but for me can be  overwhelming and sometimes barely tolerable for more than a taste (in my opinion).  Though I will say we have had a few mulled wines that were palatable for at least a glass (Blumenhof is our favorite), however, I do not recall ever finishing a mulled wine bottle of any kind.  Endless Summer Winery in Hermann has posted they'll have a mulled Apple Wine (while supplies last) and they also have a Pecan Wine that is "fallish".

Some wineries do have seasonal wines that they carry, and that are primarily purchased during the fall and winter seasons.  St. James Winery for example carries a fall seasonal, their Cranberry Wine.   Also, Sainte Genevieve Winery has their Christmas Plum Wine that is made from fresh plums and is only available from November to December (though I have seen it lurking around a little before and a little after at times).  The Campfire Mead from Windy Wine Co. is also one that could be enjoyed in the fall and winter.

So far, we've only heard of a few wineries in Missouri that have attempted pumpkin in wine and that is Hemman Winery & Windy Wine Co., 7Cs Winery, and Wenwood Farm Winery's "Pumpkin Pie" that  I hope we have the opportunity to taste theirs before they run out of this seasonal rarity.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Happy Missouri Wine Month

What better way to celebrate Missouri Wine Month than by popping open some bottles of MO wine and reminiscing about some of the amazing wineries we have visiting this year, as well as more wineries we are still hoping to experience before the year is up. So far our Missouri Wine Passport has 74 stamps in it, and we still have are hopes set at reaching 100 by the end of the year. We have visited many wineries for the first time this year.

One of my favorite was Bushwacker Bend Winery in Glasgow in a milling town over looking the Missouri River. We had such a pleasant time chatting with the owners, touring their wine-making facility and sipping their splendid Chardonell on the deck watching the river flow.


Speaking of views, this was the first year I got to experience the overwhelming beauty of Vance Vineyard & Winery in Fredricktown. After 30 minutes of country road, you pull up to what looks like a large display house with a perfect pond, landscaping, and patio. Inside the area is massive and open, perfect for a wedding or party. The grand bar samples their large variety of wines, and you can't help but thinking, "I wish I lived here!"


Michael has a couple wineries that really made a lasting impression this year, they were Ladoga Ridge Winery and West Winery in Macon, MO.

Ladoga Ridge Winery is a family owned establishment that was first started by Galen and Leinda Haddock.  Located in Smithville, MO, Ladoga Ridge Winery offers visitors the feel of a winery in the countryside with the convenience of being quite close to civilization!  Find yourself impressed by one of their many wines that are made, on site, by Galen himself.  Time and time again during our visit we were assured that the utmost care is taken with the crafting of every single bottle of wine that Ladoga Ridge Winery produces, and it showed.  Every wine that we tasted was a perfect representation of its varietal.  They even had some blends and fruit wines that were very tasty.

We were disappointed that in Northeast Missouri there are only a few wineries, but the few that we encountered were well worth the drive, especially West Winery in Macon, MO.  Located in the heart of  downtown Macon, West Winery offers its visitors quite an experience through their wine list.  In addition to tasting their many Chambourcin options (which are all very good and give you an idea of how this particular varietal can be transformed from dry to semi-sweet) one is able to tour their wine production facility while enjoying a glass.  West Winery is Missouri's first "urban" winery where they produce their wine completely in an urban setting.  Visitors are able to enjoy a glass in the tasting room or stroll over to the wine making area of the establishment and join in the fun and magic of the grape to wine adventure.

Thursday, September 19, 2013


Fall officially starts Sunday, September 22nd! Leaves are falling, pumpkin lattes are steaming, and the air is brisk. Last year, we gathered a group of friends to celebrate the autumn start in the best way we know how... WINERY HOP! To make this trip more festive we paired our favorite wine trail with apple picking and fall beer tasting. We started our day off at Augusta Brewery Company. I always enjoy their beer sampler, and they also offer 18 local wines if you want to keep it consistent all day. This year we highly suggest checking out the Augusta Bottoms Beer Fest  on October 5th. We have never been, but we have heard great reviews from our friends in our home-brew club, The Brewminati. Over 20 microbreweries will be sampling including Crown Valley Brewing. Tickets are on sale now, and you're sure to find a plethora of Oktoberfest and Pumpkin beers to quench your fall thirsts!


The next stop on our #FallingForFall day was Mount Pleasant Winery to get some Missouri wine is us! As Wine Club members we were able to get free tastings for ourselves and our friends which is always a great perk of the club. After tasting, we found a sunny spot on the hillside to enjoy a couple bottles and take in the view of the beautiful Augusta landscape. 


If you have never been apple picking, I highly suggest you make a trip this fall to my personal favorite, Centennial Farms. I have been visiting this farm since I was a child, and it never disappoints. We rode the tractor back to  the orchard where we had our pick 24 varieties of apple to pick from. The pure pleasure of picking an apple straight off the tree and taking a bit, easily makes Fall my favorite season. Aside from purchasing apples you pick, they also sell honey, apple butter, relishes and other homegrown options. 


We had to end on a 'wine note', so we heading to Montelle Winery to finish our epic Autumn Adventure. We sipped on Vidal Icewine and grooved to the music of the live band. Our Fall Winery Hop was complete, and we are already planning another one for this Fall. Follow our itinerary or make your own plan to get out there and enjoy the Fall season. If you would like us to create a custom trip just for you, we would love to help and can provide insight into most winery regions in Missouri. Contact us here


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Stone Cellar Fondue & Wine

Along with Missouri wines, I have a passion for exploring new restaurants and experiencing new foods. I didn't have to go far to find Stone Cellar Fondue & Wine. I had literally walked by it dozens of times on Historic Main Street St. Charles with ever noticing it. It is tucked away in the basement of Garden Cafe Ala Fleur and has a small sign which they only display while they are open (Thursday -Saturday, 5-11pm). This tiny restaurant, bursting with ambiance has been providing the a unique dining option in St. Charles for over a year now. We had the pleasure of being served by the Director of Operations, Lincoln Blaire. Him and his wife, chef Krista Farmer, provide spectator service along with adventurous, delightful fondue! For our first visit we decided to go with "In The Mediterranean" and added steak as an additional dipper. The Mexican Fiesta and At the Ballpark were close runner ups!

Touring Tuscany - Red wine fondue infused with garlic marinara sauce, fresh parsley and ground black pepper: Ziti noodles, broccoli florets, cannellini beans, roasted potatoes, hand rolled meatballs, crusty bread, and cauliflower.

They have about 20 options on their wine list as well as domestic and craft/import beers. They even have one Missouri wine, Augusta Winery's Vidal Blanc, which was a pleasant surprise! A red wine was suggested to pair with our meal choice, so I went with the Cocobon from California. The meal was exquisite. The fondue was prepared on our table, and the smell made our mouths water. The dippers paired well with the cheese. My favorite was the hand rolled meatballs and Ziti noodles which when dipped in the fondue made me feel like I was really in Italy.

This restaurant probably holds no more than 40 people, so make sure you have a reservation. It is perfect for a romantic date night or a late night happy hour destination with friends or colleagues. The cheese is to die for, the service is top-notch, and the cellar environment will make you want to visit again and again!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

End Summer with a BANG!

It feel like just yesterday, we were eagerly anticipating the long summer days with which to fill winery trips and trail hopping. As the end of summer quickly approaches, we realize we need to make the most of every hot weekend we have left. (Not to say, we don't LOVE fall and all it has to offer, but summer is always hard to say goodbye to!) The coolest thing about late August and early September are all of the grape stomp events held at Missouri wineries. This traditional method of crushing grapes dates all the way back to the Roman Empire and continues to entertain the masses today! Allow me to present some Missouri winery events that I believe will be an excellent way to send summer on its way and welcome the cooler fall days.

Red Fox Winery

Urich, MO
Saturday, August 24, 2013
Putting your grape stomping abilities to the test as Red Fox kicks off it's harvest season with their 5th annual Grape Stomp. Pick your partner wisely as a wine basket is the prize up for grabs. You could also compete in their Lucille Ball and Elvis Presley look alike contests. Live music and Argentine style cow roast makes this an event you don't want to miss. Register your grape stomp team here.

7C's Winery

Walnut Grove, MO
Sunday, August 25, 2013

Are you a fan of the Medieval times? The Society of Creative Anachronism of Oakheart will be performing living history along with performances from Gypsy Sol and Project Vagabond. The SmokeShack BBQ of Warsaw will be serving up BBQ and turkey legs, and you can wash it down with cold bottle of 7C's wine and mead. This is a free event.

Twin Oaks Wineyard & Winery

Farmington, MO
Saturday, September 7, 2013

This is the 7th year Twin Oaks has hosted their traditional wine making event, and this year it will benefit Walker Johns Childhood Cancer Foundation. This event boosts big cash prizes for it's top 3 winning teams as well as best costumes and Lucky Look-Alike winners. The event is limited to 35 teams and will go on rain or shine. Register your team here.

Hemman Winery 

Brazeau, MO
Saturday and Sunday, October 5 & 6

Hemman Winery invites everyone out to join the "Purple Food Club" and stomp some grapes! All you need is a partner and some clean feet. Conact the winery for more information.

Jowler Creek Vineyards & Winery
Saturday September 7 at 8:00 am

Ever wonder what it's like picking grapes? How about a delicious varietal like the Vignoles grape!? Well, Jowler Creek is offering you and your friends a chance to get some fresh air and have a grape picking party! Their grape harvest event begins at 8:00 am where you'll help the winery pick Vignoles grapes. They are providing lunch and the wine of course, but space is limited so contact them today to reserve a spot for you and your friends! RESERVE your spot today by sending an e-mail to

Jacob's Vineyard Winery
August 31, from 3 - 12 am

Jacob's Vineyard Winery hosts a great event every year for a great cause.  They raise money to support DELTA (Developing Essential Learning Through Agriculture).  Their mission is to serve individuals with disabilities by providing agricultural opportunities and training to enhance their everyday living and future livelihood.  

They will have a CELTIC band, food, and of course plenty of grapes to stomp.  They will also have games available for playing.  From what we understand it's a blast!  

If you're interested in becoming a sponsor and/or donating (tax deductible!!) then contact one of the following

LAZY DAYS ALONG THE WINE TRAIL (Customer Appreciation Event)
Mississippi River Hills Wine Trail

Month of August

Mississippi River Hills Wine Trail is saying so-long to summer by thanking its visitors and loyal customer! If you visit each of their 6 wineries (Apple Creek Vineyard & Winery, The Barrens Winery, Hemman Winery, Hunter Valley Winery, Rothbrick Winery, & Tower Rock Winery) in the month of August, you'll receive a FREE ticket to Reuther November wine trail event, Taste of Holidays!

Don't let these last precious summer days slip away from you. Make the most of them at a Missouri Winery! Find more events in our Calendar.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Jowler Creek - Quiant, Personalized, & Environmental

Jowler Creek Winery was just one of many wineries we visited while touring the Greater Northwest Wine Trail back at the beginning of July.  We had no idea what to expect, but were pleasantly surprised when we rolled up to this country winery, complete with all natural weed control via the sheep in their vineyard, and rustic feel of the duo running the show: Jason and Colleen.

Jowler Creek is a winery that is the spawn of two loves, one of agriculture and one of viticulture.  Combined, Jason and Colleen form the perfect team not only to produce high quality wines, but to produce a relationship that intermingles their love for the countryside as well as wine.  They care for each step of the wine making process by utilizing sustainable means, including focusing their energy on quality and not quantity; so you know you are getting wine that was made with tentative eyes.  Because of this, Jowler has won many awards for their efforts.

They began by planting Norton vines in 2004 and have since added to their vineyard a plethora of varietals including: Vignoles, Cabernet Franc, and Traminette.  Officially opening their doors in 2005, Jowler Creek attracts many a visitor in their tasting room, where one can enjoy their many dry - sweet wines (we recommend their Norton, Butterfly Blush, and their Nort) from 11 - 5pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

This place is teaming with personality.  The tasting room is a brown metal building, built to resemble an old barn.  It tricked Davina into thinking the doors on the front were the entrance, but alas are only for show; the entrance is just off to the left.

The wine selection is well balanced, from beginning to end and offers a novice to Missouri wines a multitude of pleasant varietals that are capable of growing here.  The advanced wine drinker can also find something here as well.  They have a unique 'Nort' that is very tasty and is easily one of the better 'Ports' we've had in Missouri.

Jason and Colleen are knowledgeable about their wines and are quite friendly.  They took their time to explain every detail about each wine and even admitted to some that weren't up to par for their standards.

The winery itself is very nice, but it was unfortunate that one could not easily walk around the vineyard and enjoy the scenery due to the livestock living in their.  This con is but a small one because Jowler Creek is one of the few wineries that we know of that takes care of their weed issue the all natural way, without using herbicides.
We aren't sure if they are used to larger crowds or not, but when we were at the winery the tasting room was a bit cramped.  Of course, this is a great thing and shows one that their wines are obviously very good and very popular.  Jason and Colleen both admitted that they've already outgrown the building which houses not only their tasting room, but their entire production facility.

The Vignoles sampled at Jowler Creek was not to par with a typical Vignoles.  The wine makers admitted it, but it was something to note.  As a Vignoles fanatic it was disappointing to see it on the list, but then to taste what it turned out to be.  Looking forward to seeing how it turns out next year though.

However, despite these two environmental cons and the Vignoles disappointment, the winery is very well kept up.  The vines are very pretty to look at, the inside of the tasting room was regulated temperature wise and was a great break from the beating sun.  It was also nice that the production facility was right there so one could get a sneak peak at their establishment.  All too often we find a tasting room with no view of the production facility and in my opinion, this is one of the more exciting things about going to wineries.  Getting the chance to see how it's all made; from vine, to crush, to fermentation, to bottle, to taste.  All these steps are part of the winery experience and you get to have it all at Jowler Creek.

Notable Wine:

Jowler Creek Chambourcin - Earthy, but balanced with cherry and a little bit of vanilla, this dry red wine was our favorite of the dry options.

Jowler Creek 'Muskrato' - Though this wine is not featured on their website, it is a very pleasant, sweet white wine.  A light floral bouquet followed by a very delicate, fruit forward pallet; light in color and very easy to drink,.  Be careful, before you know it the bottle is gone.

If you find yourself in the Kansas City area and have time to kill, make your way north to Platte City and stop in at Jowler Creek Winery.  Where the owners are friendly, knowledgeable, focus on sustainability and make quality wines that show how Missouri varietals can truly taste.  For all this, we are giving Jowler Creek Winery a 4.5 out of 5 on our scale of notable wineries.

MO Wine Please rates wineries on a scale of 1 - 5.  Here are the factors taken into consideration when rating:
  • Environment - 5
  • Tasting Experience - 5
  • Wines - 4.5
  • Knowledge of Winery - 5
  • Location - 5