When you think of Missouri, Arch or St. Louis often comes to mind. But what about Missouri’s wine country? This historic wine region is one of the best kept secrets in the Midwest. Missouri has a long and proud history of viticulture and winemaking, dating back to the early 1800s. And while the industry has gone through its ups and downs over the years, it is currently experiencing a resurgence.
The most popular region of Missouri’s wine country is located in the eastern part of the state, stretching from north of St. Louis to Ste. Genevieve County. Missouri wine country is home to approximately 130 wineries, vineyards, and 11 wine trails, making it one of the largest wine-producing regions in the Midwest.
What makes Missouri wine so special is the terroir. The state has a unique climate and soil composition that allows a wide variety of grape varieties to be grown here.
There’s something about wine country in Missouri that just speaks to the soul. Maybe it’s the peaceful rolling hills, the fresh air, or the way the sun sets behind the vines, but there’s no doubt that Missouri’s wine country is a must-see.
Official Wine Regions in Missouri
Missouri has five official wine regions: Ozark Mountain AVA, Hermann AVA, Augusta AVA, Ozark Highlands AVA, and Loess Hills District AVA.
The Ozark Mountains region is located in southwest Missouri and is characterized by mountainous terrain. The most popular varieties grown in the region are Franco-American hybrid grape varieties, and Chamborcine, Seval Blanc, Traminate and Vidal are often found in the region’s vineyards.
Herman AVA is located along the Missouri River in East Missouri. The region is known for its German heritage and produces a variety of German-style wines. A wide variety of grapes are grown in Hermann, including Norton, and several hybrid varieties, including Chambourcin, Seval Blanc, Saint Vincent, Steuben, Traminette, Vidal Blanc, Vignoles, Chardonnay, Cayuga, Edelweiss and de Chaunac.
The Augusta AVA is located in eastern Missouri and is known for being the first official AVA registered in the US. Augusta AVA is planted with the Vitis estivalis grape Norton, the official grape of the state of Missouri. French-American hybrid grapes such as Chambourcin, Chardonnay, Couderc Noir, Rayon d’Or, Seval Blanc, Saint Vincent and Vidal Blanc are also popular plantings.
The Ozark Highlands AVA is located in the Ozark Mountains in southern Missouri. The AVA was founded in 1987, and all grape varieties are grown in the region, including Vitis vinifera, Vitis labrusca, and French hybrids.
The Loess Hills District AVA is located in northwestern Missouri and is characterized by the Big Sioux and Missouri Rivers with its long, narrow, north-south oriented landmass. The Loes Hills District AVA is planted with grape varieties such as Noiret, Saint Vincent, Vignoles, Traminette, La Crosse, Chambourcin and Norton.
Explore Missouri’s Wine Country
When it comes to planning your trip, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, decide which area you want to go to. Hermann and Augusta are the most popular regions in Missouri wine country and for a good reason. These two regions offer the best of what Missouri’s wine country has to offer.
If you are looking for a more relaxing experience then Augusta is the place for you. The area is known for its beautiful scenery and friendly locals. There are five wineries in Augusta, each with its own unique character, and three more wineries in nearby Défense.
If you’re looking for a more lively wine country experience, consider exploring Hermann’s. The region is known for its German heritage and many festivals and events. Hermann is home to several wineries and is easily accessible via Amtrak if you want to avoid driving.
Charming Augusta, Mo
Augusta is 35 miles from St. Louis, making it an ideal day trip or weekend getaway destination. The charming city is home to five wineries, four of which are owned by the Hoffman Family of Companies, which recently invested $150 million in Augusta.
No need for a car in Augusta, MO. Free trolleys operate from April to October, with six stops throughout Augusta. The trolleys operate on a continuous loop, stopping at Klondike Park, Montele Winery, Augusta Emporium, Augusta Winery, Mount Pleasant Estates, and Balducci Vineyards.
You can start your day at Augusta Winery, which offers daily wine tastings and live music on weekends from April through October. Augusta Winery was established in 1988 and is located in the heart of the city. Try the tawny port wine while you’re there; This is one of the best we’ve tasted outside Portugal.
Mount Pleasant Estates
Image credit: Jillian Park Photography.
A quick walk from Augusta Winery, Mount Pleasant Estates is a historic winery that was established in 1859. The grounds are home to 12 grape varieties on 75 acres and its original limestone cellars, which are still used today for the aging estate’s bottled wines and international use. Award winning Augusta Port. The property’s picturesque setting and rustic charm make it a popular venue for weddings and special events. You can’t go wrong with a bottle of Norton from Mount Pleasant Estates.
Voted for Best Winery by Missouri’s Reader’s Choice Award for 16 consecutive years, Balducci Vineyards is a destination you don’t want to miss in Augusta. Enjoy a wine tasting or a meal at the on-site restaurant with their delicious rosé slush. From May through November, enjoy live entertainment on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, as well as a bos ball court. There’s plenty of acreage if you want to spend the day outside.
For sweeping views of the Missouri River Valley, make your way to Montele Winery. In addition to wine tastings, Montale offers a full-service restaurant with a spacious outdoor patio for enjoying a meal with stunning views. There is live music on weekends from March to November, and a distillery makes four types of brandy: apple, peach, cherry and grape (grappa).
Nobolis Vineyards offers visitors a breathtaking experience, located on 84 acres of historic rolling hills in Augusta, MO. They offer wine flights and guided tastings enhanced by picturesque views, or you can add a cellar experience to your visit, which includes access to their barrel room. Grab a pizza and snacks, or make your own picnic basket to eat on the lawn or under their covered pavilion. There is live music every Saturday and Sunday from April to October.
One of the most incredible things to do in Missouri’s wine country is to Klondike Park and board the Miss Augusta, a 105-foot yacht carrying 49 passengers for scenic cruises along the Missouri River. Miss Augusta began her river cruise operation in October and made an incredible addition to downtown Augusta, MO.
Klondike Park is also one of the best places to camp in the Augusta area, offering options for both rustic and glamping experiences.
The Katy Trail is a great way to experience the beautiful scenery of Missouri. The route passes through peaceful farmland and the small town of Americana, more than half its length on its way to the Missouri River from Lewis and Clark. There are two locations for e-bike rental in Augusta and Defense along the Katy Trail near the kickstand Katy Trail. You can rent bikes from one place and drop them at another location if you want.
At Augusta Emporium, you can find unique gifts and souvenirs from your trip. They have a wide variety of locally made products, including pottery, jewelry, paintings, and more. You can spend hours browsing through this store! It is located on Walnut Street just down the city.
Historic Herman, MO
Hermann is a historic German town located an hour away from Augusta. This is the perfect place to spend a day (or two) exploring the wineries, shops, restaurants and attractions. Visitors can take Amtrak directly to Hermann and exit the train station right in the middle of town.
Hermann is a hot spot for festivals like Mayfest and Oktoberfest. If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, try zip-lining. And, of course, you can’t miss the famous “wine trail” featuring 20 miles of local wineries.
Stone Hill Winery
Image credit: Jillian Park Photography.
Stone Hill Winery is one of the oldest and best-known wineries in Missouri wine country. They offer a variety of wines, from dry reds to sweet whites and everything in between. The Stone Hill Winery Tour is a great way to learn about the history of the winery and see how the wines are made while taking a tour through the arched underground cellars.
The Vintage 1847 Restaurant is located in the original stable and carriage house of Stone Hill Winery. You’ll find German specialties and contemporary American cuisine for lunch and dinner on the menu. If you want, you can also enjoy a picnic on the hill with views of Hermann below.
Hermann Trolley Company offers a variety of tours, from wine country tours to distilleries and everything in between. The trolley is a great way to see Hermann and learn about its history while being taken around the city in style. A reviewer on Travel Advisor posted that the Harman Trolley was “quick, convenient, fun, reasonably priced and an amazing experience at Harman!”
Image credit: Jillian Park Photography.
A trip to Hermann’s isn’t complete without a visit to Hermann Farms. There are many different tours available, but tram travel is the most popular. Those who take the tram tour will hear about the history of Hermann and the legacy of Charles Tubner, George Hausmann and Charles Manwaring. You’ll feel what it was like to live on a farm in Hermann’s during the 1800s.
Tram visitors will hear interesting tales from guides and have the opportunity to tour the 1847 Tubner-Hausmann house, the new stone barn, and the 19th-century Rashe house. But the fun doesn’t stop here. Guests will enjoy hanging out with the Shire horses and enjoying a fun taste at the Black Shire Distillery.
Tin Mill Restaurant
Tin Mill Restaurant is a Herman, Missouri staple. Built in the 1840s, it served as a grain elevator in the 1800s and early 1900s. Thereafter, it became an MFA Farms distribution center until 2003, when it was transformed into what you see today – one of Hermann’s best restaurants.
Tin Mill Restaurant offers American cuisine and traditional German food. This popular restaurant in Hermann serves a prime rib dinner with Bavarian pretzels, German sausage, and schnitzel.
Hermann Sausage House
Hermann Wurst Haus specializes in artisanal sausages and bratwursts, all of which are handcrafted by three-time Hall of Famer Wurstmeister Mike Sloan. With over 62 varieties to choose from, this is a must stop on your Hermann itinerary. If you arrive outside business hours, there is a sausage vending machine located outside the Wurst Haus, where you can buy the famous sausage at any time of day or night.
Adam Puchta Winery
Adam Puchta Winery was founded in 1855 and has been owned by the same family for seven generations. Adam Puchta Winery is located on the banks of Fran Creek just 2 miles southwest of beautiful Hermann. Drink award-winning wines while enjoying the peaceful countryside – this is the perfect getaway. Adam Puchta Winery offers a variety of red, white and rosé wines, fruit wines, port and sherry.
Explore Missouri’s Wine Country
There is no shortage of things to do in Missouri’s wine country. So whether you want to enjoy the scenery, sample some delicious wines, or find a unique gift, you’re sure to find it here. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the charm of the Midwest.
Cassandra Karpiak is the founder of Caravan Adventure Family Travel and the mother of two adventurous, young boys. She is a family-focused, adventure travel advocate who grew up in Toronto with Danish descent. Cassandra with her two boys has often visited over 20 countries on three continents!