There are a few things I believe every Missouri wine lover should experience in his or her lifetime. Get out there and experience all Missouri Wine Country has to offer!
1. Go on a Missouri Wine Trail Event
With over 125 wineries in Missouri, you may feel a little overwhelmed when you start to plan your excursion. Luckily, there are 9 very different wine trails that make planning a winery hop fun and easy, including The Hermann Wine Trail, Route du Vin, The Great Northwest Missouri Wine Trail, Missouri River Wine Trail, Kansas City Wine Trail, Missouri Weinstrasse, Ozark Mountain Trail, Mississippi River Hills Wine Trail, and Aux Arcs Wine Road. These trails host fun events throughout the year that usually involve theme wine and food pairing. It’s barhopping, winery style!
2. Visit Wineries Off the Beaten Trail
Trails may make planning a winery outing easy, but don’t limit yourself to only trail wineries. Some of the state’s hidden gems will take some hunting to find, but they are well worth the effort. Visiting these lone wineries will give you a chance to take in the Missouri country side and possibly discover new and exciting sites. Plan a road trip to Frankfurt, MO, and you’ll be delighted to find one of the state’s smallest wineries, Claymalnay Vineyard & Winery. It may be tiny, but the friendly owners and distinctive wines will leave a lasting impact.
My favorite part of visiting Missouri wineries is the chance to sample new wines. This isn't something you can do at the grocery store or even most restaurants, so you should take full advantage of tastings opportunities. Don’t be afraid to challenge your palate and indulge in a wine you don’t usually drink. Each winery leaves its own special characteristics on different varietals. Taste outside your comfort zone and discover how your preferences may change over time. Ask questions and engage with the person pouring your samples. They just might be the wine maker, like at Horst Vineyards.
4. Take Part in a Grape Stomp
This is your chance to become part of the winemaking process and all you need is a clean pair of feet! After harvest many wineries throw grape stomp celebrations and invite people to actively participate. You haven’t lived until you've had your feet dyed purple from Missouri grown grapes! Many of these events are free or the proceeds are donated to charity. Les Bourgeois Vineyards and Cave Hollow West Winery are just two of the wineries that throw large crush festivals.
5. Plan a Winery Weekend Getaway
Many wineries in this state have much more to offer than just wine. For example, a weekend at Chaumette Winery can be complete by renting out one of their classy villas, pampering yourself at the spa, sun bathing by the pool, dining at the Grapevine Grill, and of course sampling their wines in the tasting room. Don’t be afraid to book a room at a B&B, and explore what all a winery town has to offer. Your trip may start with wine, but it will end with an adventure!
6. Tour a Wine Cellar or Vineyard
Vineyards offer a spectacular view and perfect backdrop for a romantic picnic date. Take the time to experience where the wine you are drinking started its long journey to your glass. Most wineries that have vineyards are open to giving tours or allowing visitors to wander through their rows of vines. Historic wine cellars also give you an intimate glimpse into the wine making process as it dates back to pre-Prohibition times. Stone Hill Winery, Hermanhoff Vineyards, and Mount Pleasant Estates each have captivating cellars and offer tours. You may even get lucky and receive a barrel sample.
If you love Missouri wine, the best way to capitalize on it is by joining a wine club. Wine clubs help you ensure your wine cabinet is always stocked with your favorite Missouri varietals. They come with great discounts, special offers and exclusive events. Many clubs offer the option for home delivery in case you don’t live near your beloved winery and who wouldn't love seeing a package of wine show up at their doorstep on a monthly or quarterly basis?
If you're looking for a club that offers a more hands on experience, I suggest Edg-Clif Farms & Vineyard's "Grape Friends" Wine Club. Members are given the opportunity to volunteer and work in the vineyard alongside the owners and wine maker. The club also always access to wine making tutorials, opportunitiers to purchase grapes or juice (as available), complimentary wine tastings, and many other perks.
Feel free to use my Bucket List as a jumping off point or create your own. Cheers!