For Wine Lovers, Drive West to Hermann 

click to enlarge Stone Hill Winery, the oldest winery in Missouri, is packed with history.

PHOTO BY MARK SEMKO

Stone Hill Winery, the oldest winery in Missouri, is packed with history.

Pull into Hermann, Missouri, and it's obvious you're not in St. Louis anymore. You'll only be about an hour and a half away from the city, but you'd never guess: The downtown skyscrapers and gritty urban streets are a distant memory. You'll find yourself surrounded by quaint shops, a slew of bed and breakfasts, and a slower pace that you didn't even know you wanted. Oh yeah, and wine. Lots of wine.

So how do you get to this little safe haven in the heart of Missouri wine country? For a journey just as scenic as the destination, follow Missouri 94 through the Missouri River Valley. Along the way, you'll come to Augusta. Here you'll find Montelle Winery (201 Montelle Drive, 636-228-4464; www.montelle.com), Mount Pleasant Estates (5634 High Street, 636-482-9463) and Augusta Winery (5601 High Street, 636-228-4301; www.augustawinery.com), to name a few spots — perfect places to stretch, grab a snack and maybe start sipping. But take it slow, because this is all the warmup, and you'll want to get back on 94 road-ready.

You'll drive for about another hour; when you suddenly feel like you've traveled back in time to a small German town, you know you've reached your destination. Start your Hermann adventure with some window shopping along the pedestrian-friendly streets. Hermann has something for everyone in your party: Saleigh Mountain Co. (124 E. Fourth Street, 573-486-2992) for the leather lover, Buy the Book (303 Schiller Street, 573-486-2722) for the book worm, Antiques Unlimited (117 E. Second Street, 573-486-2148; www.antsunltd.com) for the collector, and much, much more. Be sure to check store hours if you decide to do your drinking before shopping — many shops in Hermann close by 5 p.m.

When you're ready for wine, you'll have more than enough options with the seven wineries that make up the Hermann wine trail. We suggest stopping at Stone Hill Winery (1110 Stone Hill Highway, 573-486-2221; www.stonehillwinery.com), the oldest and second largest winery in Missouri. Gawk at the beautiful view overlooking Hermann, sip wine in one of the elegant tasting rooms ($5 for six samples) and take a complimentary winery tour. And don't forget to make a stop in the Vintage Restaurant at Stone Hill, the carriage house-turned-eatery where you can indulge in impeccably prepared German food.

After you've had a glass or two, you'll want to take the trolley to winery hop. Hermann Trolley Co. ($15 for one day pass, 636-575-6920; www.hermanntrolley.com) has a network of trolleys providing transportation to various stops all over town, including all the wineries. If you're here on a weekday, confirm service times before planning.

We caught the trolley from Stone Hill to Oak Glenn Winery and Vineyard (1104 Oak Glenn Place, 573-486-5057; www.oakglenn.com). With a relaxed vibe, live entertainment every weekend, lots of outdoor seating and an excellent view of the river, it's no wonder you see everyone from families to bachelorette parties congregating here. Sit back with Oak Glenn's best-selling moscato.

Of course, you can't end a day right without a little local dessert. Take the trolley to Downtown Deli and Custard Shoppe (216 E. First Street, 573-486-5002; www.downtowndelihermann.com). Entertain your inner kid with a generous helping of ice cream and some playtime with the 1976 jukebox and 1978 pinball machine along the back wall. You can also indulge in Calvin's 1836 Barrel-Style Root Beer, a locally produced brand made with ginger and sassafras.

Another great dessert option is Sugar Momma's (407 Market Street, 573-486-5263; www.sugarmommashermannmo.com). We'll vouch for the best-selling coconut cream pie, the bourbon chocolate pecan pie (aka "Derby Pie") and the popular bacon apple pie. You can dine-in on a slice or get a full pie to go.

If you want to stay the night, you'll have more than 300 guest houses to choose from. Go to www.visithermann.com and search for a place by category and amenities. If you really want to treat yourself, however, Hermann Hill Vineyard Inn and Spa (711 Wein Street, 573-486-4455; www.hermannhill.com) stands out from the pack. The beautiful spa, hot tubs in some of the rooms and astounding view will have you sold. Just don't depend on your GPS to get here — if you get turned around, call the inn or visit the Herman Hill website for a little directional assistance.

click to enlarge Beautiful wine country. - PHOTO BY ELIZABETH SEMKO
  • PHOTO BY ELIZABETH SEMKO
  • Beautiful wine country.
click to enlarge You can see Missouri-grown grapes ripening in the sun. - PHOTO BY ELIZABETH SEMKO
  • PHOTO BY ELIZABETH SEMKO
  • You can see Missouri-grown grapes ripening in the sun.
click to enlarge Take in a beautiful vista. - PHOTO BY ELIZABETH SEMKO
  • PHOTO BY ELIZABETH SEMKO
  • Take in a beautiful vista.
click to enlarge During the complimentary tour at Stone Hill Winery, you'll learn about wine production, how the winery came to be, and more. - PHOTO BY MARK SEMKO
  • PHOTO BY MARK SEMKO
  • During the complimentary tour at Stone Hill Winery, you'll learn about wine production, how the winery came to be, and more.
click to enlarge Take the trolley for easy winery access. - PHOTO BY MARK SEMKO
  • PHOTO BY MARK SEMKO
  • Take the trolley for easy winery access.
click to enlarge The town has clear German roots. - PHOTO BY MARK SEMKO
  • PHOTO BY MARK SEMKO
  • The town has clear German roots.
click to enlarge Shop for chocolate, books or leather along the way. - PHOTO BY ELIZABETH SEMKO
  • PHOTO BY ELIZABETH SEMKO
  • Shop for chocolate, books or leather along the way.

Tags:

Best Things to Do In St. Louis

Newsletters

Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

© 2017 Riverfront Times

Website powered by Foundation