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