The RFT's Guide to Visiting Missouri's Wineries

Learn all the secrets to the perfect Augusta or Hermann winery trip

May 24, 2023 at 8:38 am
click to enlarge Augusta is a popular Missouri winery tour destination.
PHUONG BUI
Augusta is a popular Missouri winery tour destination.

It's summer, and it's time to take the biannual winery trip to Augusta or Hermann. For the uninitiated, Missouri wines aren't great, and Missouri summers are even worse (dress to sweat), but sitting outside listening to live music as the sun sets over the vineyards can't be beat. Here is a guide to your summer winery tour.

Tasting

For most wineries, you head to the tasting room (or outdoor bar) and sample the wine so you can decide which you want to buy. Typically a tasting does cost money, and you may be limited to a certain number of pours. After alighting on one you like, you buy a bottle. If you opt not to buy your tasting cup or it's not included in the price of the tasting, don't worry. All of the wineries will provide a plastic cup and open the wine for you. Some wineries also offer the wines by the glass.

Food

Most of the wineries sell food, but be sure to pack some as well, since you can usually bring it in (but double-check) and it helps keep the price down for the trip. Even if you don't want to bother bringing a whole picnic, you'd be surprised how clutch some snacks can be when you're wandering around in the summer sun drinking. Also pack some water for obvious reasons.

Transportation

If no one wants to be the trip's designated driver, don't just "take your chances." There are several options for private group transportation including the St. Louis Winery Party Bus (stlroadpony.net, 314-471-0066), St. Louis Winery Tours (aperfecttouchlimo.com/winery-trips, 314-731-5466), STL Party Bus (stlpartybus.com/services/wine-tours, 314-780-5782) and other services.

If you're in Hermann and want to drink responsibly, the Hermann Trolley (hermantrolley.com, 636-575-6920) runs Wednesday through Sunday and is $25 per person for a one-day pass or $40 for a two-day pass. In Augusta, there's a complimentary trolley on the weekend that travels between Augusta Winery, Montelle Winery, Mount Pleasant Estates and Balducci Vineyards. It stops at each vineyard approximately every 30 minutes, no reservation needed.

Large Parties

Most wineries are pretty casual, but if you are rolling up with a party larger than nine, you will want to call ahead.

Augusta

For those familiar with Augusta, some of the most popular wineries include Chandler Hill Vineyards (596 Defiance Road, Defiance; 636-798-2675, chandlerhillvineyards.com), which has great food and good wine but is on the more expensive end and gets crowded on the weekends; Balducci Vineyards (6601 South Highway 94, Augusta; 636-482-8466, balduccivineyards.com), which has a great outdoor space; and Montelle Winery, whose deck is the peak of a wine tour.

But if you want to get off the beaten path a little bit, start your day at Lake Creek Winery (15088 Boone Monument Road, Marthasville; 636-242-2036, lakecreekwinery.com). The wine here is reasonably priced, and the menu includes a pretty decent pulled pork sandwich and bratwurst plate. The views are killer and spontaneous dancing is not uncommon, but one drawback is they don't allow outside food.

Next head to Blumenhof Winery (13699 South Highway 94, Dutzow; 636-433-2245, blumenhof.com) a laid-back spot that offers wine, wine slushees and German-inspired cuisine. The vibe is very "stumbled upon someone's backyard party, and it's OK if you crash." While the winery stays busy, you can always find a seat, possibly in one of its cute wooden booths.

While Noboleis Vineyards (100 Hemsath Road, Augusta; 636-482-4500, noboleisvineyards.com) can hardly be considered a hidden gem (it's pretty popular), it is a nice addition to a winery tour. It includes pretty decent wines, a nice outdoor area and even some indoor seating if the weather gets weird.

Try to end your day at Montelle Winery (201 Montelle Drive, Augusta; 888-595-9463, montelle.com) because the deck is the perfect place to watch the sunset, and in the summer, it's the winery opened the latest.

Hermann

A little bit further afield than Augusta, Hermann also offers nice vistas and outdoor drinking options for the summer. The most fun part about Hermann, though, is that you can hop on the Missouri River Runner and get there by train. While in Hermann, you can use the trolley (see above), which will take you to some of the area's best wineries. If you want more time, you can always book an overnight stay. Visit amtrak.com to book your train ticket (which starts at $19).

When you arrive, the Hermann Trolley will be there to greet you (Wednesday through Sunday it arrives at the train station to meet each train), and from there you can head to any of the wineries it stops at, including Adam Puchta (1947 Frene Creek Road, Hermann; 573-486-5596, adamputchawine.com), OakGlenn or the Reserve Cellars of Hermann (34 Reserve Cellars Lane, Hermann; 573-486-3320).

We recommend first heading to Stone Hill (1110 Stone Hill Highway, Hermann; 573-486-2221, stonehillwinery.com) and getting a tour of the cellars before going up to the tasting room for some samples. (By then it should be closer to noon and a far more reasonable hour to start drinking.)

When you're ready to leave Stone Hill, head to OakGlenn Vineyards (1104 Oak Glenn Place, Hermann; 573-486-5057, oakglenn.com) for some stunning views overlooking the Missouri River Valley. They offer 17 different wines and are a perfect post-lunch spot.

Before you get back on your train, be sure to stop by Hermannhof (330 East First Street, Hermann; 573-486-5959, hermannhof.com). Not only is the building historical, but the wine is good, and it offers a mix of sandwiches and charcuterie that could be easily packed for the ride home.

For more on how to have a great St. Louis summer, check out our summer guide.

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