When you think of Missouri, the 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’s currently experiencing a resurgence.
The most popular region of Missouri’s wine country is located in the eastern part of the state, stretching from just north of St. Louis down to Ste. Genevieve County. Missouri wine country is home to nearly 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 varietals 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 destination.
Official Wine Regions in Missouri
Missouri has five official wine regions: the Ozark Mountain AVA, the Hermann AVA, the Augusta AVA, the Ozark Highlands AVA, and the Loess Hills District AVA.
The Ozark Mountain Region is located in southwest Missouri and is characterized by its hilly terrain. The most popular varietals grown in this region are Franco-American hybrid grape varieties, and Chambourcin, Seyval Blanc, Traminette, and Vidal are often found in the region’s vineyards.
The Hermann AVA is located in east Missouri along the Missouri River. This 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, Seyval blanc, St. Vincent, Steuben, Traminette, Vidal blanc, Vignoles, Chardonel, Cayuga, Edelweiss and De Chaunac.
The Augusta AVA is located in east Missouri and is known for being the first official AVA registered in the US. The Augusta AVA is planted with the Vitis aestivalis grape Norton, the official grape of the State of Missouri. French-American hybrid grapes like Chambourcin, Chardonel, Couderc noir, Rayon d’Or, Seyval blanc, St. Vincent, and Vidal blanc are also popular plantings.
The Ozark Highlands AVA is located in Southern Missouri in the Ozark Mountains. The AVA was established in 1987, and all varieties of grapes are grown in the area, including Vitis vinifera, Vitis labrusca, and French hybrids.
The Loess Hills District AVA is located in northwestern Missouri and is characterized by its long, narrow, north-south orientated swath of land along the Big Sioux and Missouri Rivers. The Loess Hills District AVA is planted with grape varieties like Noiret, St. 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 region you’d like to visit. Hermann and Augusta are the most popular regions of Missouri wine country and for a good reason. These two regions offer the best of what Missouri’s wine country has to offer.
Augusta is the place for you if you’re looking for a more laid-back experience. This region is known for its beautiful scenery and friendly locals. There are five wineries in Augusta, each with its unique character, and three more wineries in nearby Defiance.
If you’re looking for a more lively wine country experience, consider exploring Hermann. This region is known for its German heritage and many festivals and events. Hermann is home to a number of wineries and is easily accessible via Amtrak if you wish to avoid driving.
Charming Augusta, MO
Augusta is 35 miles from St. Louis, making it the perfect day trip or weekend getaway destination. The charming town is home to five wineries, four of which are owned by the Hoffmann Family of Companies, who have recently invested $150 million into Augusta.
There is no need for a car in Augusta, MO. Free trolleys operate from April through October, with six stops throughout Augusta. The trolleys operate on a continuous loop, stopping at Klondike Park, Montelle 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 to October. The Augusta Winery was established in 1988 and is centrally located downtown. Try the Tawny Port wine while you are there; it’s one of the best we’ve tasted outside of Portugal.
Mount Pleasant Estates
A quick walk from Augusta Winery, Mount Pleasant Estates is a historic winery that was founded in 1859. The grounds have 75 acres devoted to growing 12 grape varieties and its original limestone cellars, which are still used today for aging estate bottled wines and the internationally award-winning Augusta Port. The property’s picturesque setting and rustic charm make it a popular spot for weddings and special events. You can’t go wrong with a bottle of Norton from Mount Pleasant Estates.
Voted best winery 16 years in a row by the Missourian’s Readers’ Choice Award, Balducci Vineyards is a destination you don’t want to miss while in Augusta. Enjoy a wine tasting or a meal at the on-site restaurant paired with their delicious Rosé slushy. From May to November, enjoy live entertainment on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, as well as a bocce 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 Montelle Winery. In addition to wine tastings, Montelle offers a full-service restaurant with an enormous outdoor patio perfect for enjoying a meal with stunning views. There is live music on weekends from March through November, and a distillery produces four kinds of brandy: apple, peach, cherry, and grape (grappa).
Noboleis Vineyards provides visitors with a breathtaking experience, situated on 84 acres of historic rolling hills in Augusta, MO. They offer wine flights and guided tastings enhanced by the 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 beneath their covered pavilion. Every Saturday and Sunday from April through October, there is live music.
One of the most incredible things to do in Missouri’s wine country is to head to Klondike Park and board Miss Augusta, the 105-foot yacht carrying 49 passengers along the Missouri River for scenic cruises. Miss Augusta began its river cruise operations in October and made for an incredible addition to the city of Augusta, MO.
Klondike Park is also one of the best places to camp in the Augusta region, offering options for both rustic and glamping experiences.
The Katy Trail is a great way to experience Missouri’s beautiful scenery. The trail meanders through peaceful farmland and small-town Americana, with over half its length following Lewis & Clark’s path up the Missouri River. Kickstand Katy Trail has two locations to rent e-bikes along the Katy Trail, in Augusta and Defiance. You can rent bikes from one location and drop them off at the other if you prefer.
At the 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 could spend hours browsing through this store! It’s located right downtown on Walnut Street.
Historic Hermann, MO
Hermann is a historic German town located an hour from Augusta. It’s an ideal locale to spend a day (or two) exploring the wineries, shops, restaurants, and attractions. Visitors can take the Amtrak directly to Hermann and will exit the train station right in the middle of downtown.
Hermann is a hot spot for festivals like the Maifest 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
Stone Hill Winery is the oldest and one of the most well-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 winery’s history and see how wine is made while touring through the arched underground cellars.
Vintage 1847 Restaurant is located in Stone Hill Winery’s original stable and carriage house. You’ll find German specialties and contemporary American cuisine for lunch and dinner on the menu. If you prefer, you can also enjoy a picnic on the hillside with views of Hermann below.
The Hermann Trolley Co. offers a variety of tours, from wine country tours to distilleries and everything in between. The trolleys are a great way to see Hermann and learn about its history while being transported around town in style. A reviewer posted on Travel Advisor that the Hermann Trolley was “prompt, convenient, funny, reasonable rates, and a wonderful experience in Hermann!”
A visit to Hermann is not complete without a visit to Hermann Farm. Many different tours are available, but the tram tour is the most popular. Those who take the tram tour will hear about Hermann’s history and the legacies of Charles Teubner, George Husmann, and Charles Manwaring. You’ll get a feel for what it was like to live on a farm in Hermann during the 1800s.
Visitors on the tram will hear captivating anecdotes from the guide and will have the opportunity to tour the 1847 Teubner-Husmann home, new stone barn, and 19th-century Rasche homestead. But the fun doesn’t stop there. Guests will have a blast visiting with the Shire horses and enjoy a fun tasting at Black Shire Distillery.
Tin Mill Restaurant
Tin Mill Restaurant is a Hermann, Missouri staple. Constructed in the 1840s, it served as a grain elevator during most of the 1800s and early 1900s. Subsequently, it became an MFA farm distribution center until 2003, when it turned into what you see today – one of Hermann’s best restaurants.
The Tin Mill Restaurant offers American cuisine and traditional German fare. Bavarian pretzels, German sausages, and schnitzel are served along with Prime Rib dinners at this popular restaurant in Hermann.
Hermann Wurst Haus
The Hermann Wurst Haus specializes in artisanal sausages and bratwursts, all of which are handcrafted by three-time hall of famer Wurstmeister Mike Sloan. With more than 62 varieties to choose from, this is a must-stop on your Hermann itinerary. If you happen to arrive outside of business hours, there is a sausage vending machine located outside the Wurst Haus where you can purchase the famous sausages any time, day or night.
Adam Puchta Winery
Adam Puchta Winery was established in 1855 and has been owned by the same family for seven generations. The Adam Puchta Winery is nestled on the banks of Frene Creek, just 2 miles southwest of beautiful Hermann. Sip award-winning wines while enjoying the peaceful countryside setting – it’s the perfect getaway. The Adam Puchta Winery offers a variety of red, white, and rosé wines, fruit wines, port, and sherry.
Explore Missouri’s Wine Country
There’s no shortage of things to do in Missouri’s wine country. So whether you’re looking to enjoy the scenery, sample some delicious wines, or find a unique gift, you’ll be sure to find it here. It is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the charm of the midwest.
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Casandra is the founder of Karpiak Caravan Adventure Family Travel and a mother to two adventurous, young boys. She is a family-focused, adventure travel advocate who grew up in Toronto with Danish roots. Casandra has visited over 20 countries on three continents often with her two boys in tow!