Located in the idyllic Ozark Highlands, Meramec Vineyards offers visitors a full experience of drinking, eating, shopping, and learning. Its small, cozy eatery, Bistro d'Vine, is open for lunch daily and serves a menu of fresh, seasonal bistro fare, such as quiche with baby greens ($7.35), pork tenderloin with fresh fruit, cheese, and caramelized onions ($7.45), and salmon served over a greek salad ($9.95). Meramec also has bottled wine ($8.95–$23.95) available for purchase for sipping or for christening cruise ships. There's a wine to suit all occasions, including Celebration White ($9.95) for clambakes, New World Red ($8.95) for Thanksgiving feasts, and a pumpkin-flavored Harvest Moon ($10.95) for scaring already skittish Ichabod Cranes. Guests can commemorate their time at Meramec with non-liquid souvenirs from the gift shop, such as gourmet food, wine openers, or a local artist's rendering of you buying his painting.
Clothes and furniture find new life at Red Racks Thrift Stores. Through donations, the staffers at the store's 13 locations fill their racks and shelves with thousands of second-hand items for kids and adults, including name-brand garments from the likes of Tommy Hilfiger, Levi’s, The Loft, and Donna Karan New York. They also stock furniture and other miscellaneous goods, such as books and home décor.
And something odd happens when these items arrive at checkout—the register doesn't ring up any sales tax. That's because Red Racks is a nonprofit organization, and all proceeds go to benefit the Disabled American Veterans, an organization that has advocated on behalf of veterans for more than nine decades. Red Racks' altruistic mission has proved successful so far—the inventory of each store typically turns over every 3–4 weeks.
There's no entrance exam for Vino Cellars. As the wine lounge's website puts it, "No one will care if you can't say cabernet correctly. So go ahead and ask." And that level of accessibility runs throughout the entire shop, from the comfortable open seating to the complimentary tastings to the notes that describe every bottle's weight, palate, and mouth-feel. Such touches help guests find their way through the 150 varietals—imported from boutique-style producers across the globe—so they can pick the right pairing for a steak or the right milk-substitute for a bowl of Cheerios.
Pairing is a theme that runs through almost everything at Vino Cellars. Themed wine dinners match up five wines with four-course meals. The regular menu's small plates of shareable flatbread pizzas and sliders can also be mixed and matched with different libations. But Vino Cellars doesn't stop with wine and food. The shop spreads its gourmet knowledge to house-made bottles of flavored olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars.
Sprawled atop rippling Missouri foothills, Seven Springs Winery's 160 acres affords guests views of forests stretching out before them that change colors throughout the seasons. Amongst the lush, green landscape, the vineyard springs up with rows of grapes, wine-bottle bushes, and a welcoming tasting room. Wine tastings let guests experience a wide range of Seven Springs Winery's reds, whites, and blushes, including varietals such as chardonel and pinot noir. The vintners and knowledgeable bartenders also welcome aficionados and the wine-curious to sip a glass of wine, sangria, or microbrew from the covered porch or patio, and a selection of soups, sandwiches, cheeses, breads, and dipping oils can be called upon to enhance the experience.