Because atmosphere, accessibility to the metro area, amenities and quality of product are all important criteria on our winery scorecard, we just don't think you can beat the experience at Mount Pleasant in Augusta, Mo. (5634 High St., 636-482-4419). There's the charming estate and rolling vineyards; the range of live music; the mystery dinners and the superstar culinary events like the James Beard extravaganza; and the winemaking risk-taking, like trying to produce French- and California-style wines despite climatological obstacles. (Sometimes they succeed wildly, as with the Belle Yvonne red blend, and sometimes they reinforce why certain grapes just aren't grown around these parts.) But even if it's just a loaf of bread from the on-grounds Augusta Grocery and a jug of Mount Pleasant's vin ordinaire
, this 140-year-old landmark is still our favorite place to pass the time with our favorite thou.