The Cooper’s Oak Winery is located on the premises of A&K Cooperage, proprietor of fine American and French oak barrels. This isn't a coincidence—the winery uses those high-quality barrels as vessels for its blended and specialty varietals. The barrels' contribution is clear in sips of the Toasted Oak, a cabernet sauvignon mixed with merlot and aged in heavily toasted oak, and the Triple Oak Bliss, a dark and bold red blend of three domestic grapes, aged in American oak emblazoned with tasty smiley faces. Cooper’s also crafts sweet blush wine, a vidal ice wine, and a French hybrid vignoles.
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.
Perched atop the bluffs along the Missouri River Bottoms, Bias Winery & Gruhlke's Microbrewery's atmosphere is ripe for enjoying fine wines and microbrew beers handcrafted on site. The establishment also hosts a quaint gift shop, and is inviting for a casual meet up or a romantic date.
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.
The old mulberry tree at the top of Noboleis Vineyards—the same creature that graces the estate's wine labels—symbolizes the endurance of Robert and Lou Ann Nolan in pursuing their dream to own a vineyard. After purchasing a 74-acre expanse of Augusta farmland in 2005, the Nolans planted their first grapes: chambourcin, traminette, norton, and vignoles. Initial growth indicated high yields, but a late frost in 2007 claimed most of the chambourcin crop. Adversity struck again in 2011, when a tornado tore through part of the vineyards and lifted sections of roof off of the winery.
But between these setbacks, the Nolans built a steady string of accomplishments. Their first vintages claimed multiple awards at the 2010 Missouri Governor's Cup, and what had started as plain farmland grew into an estate encompassing an onsite winery, tasting room, cafe, and wine shop. The Nolans now lead tours and host tastings so that visitors can get an up-close look at how Noboleis's wines—such as the barrel-fermented vidal blanc—are produced without tickling the grapes. The indoor and outdoor grounds also regularly host events that range from weddings to live music performances.
Seven wineries make up the Missouri River Wine Trail. They all sit alongside or near the Missouri River, so the trail makes for a scenic drive between locations?and a quick one, too, as none are more than 30 minutes away from one another. The wineries include Les Bourgeois Vineyards, where guests may meet cats Syrah and Jeunette Rouge, who protect the barrels from bacchanalian laser pointers, and Bushwhacker Bend Winery, where enophiles can relax on a patio overlooking the river. Missouri River Wine Trail's tours are all self-guided, and most center on themes such as barbecue for Father's Day and local herbs that pair well with wines.