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.
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 grapes that grow fat on the vines at St. Jordan Creek Winery sit on land that has been in the same family for nearly a century. Harvested in micro-lots, the grapes are eventually transformed into tasty reds and whites that are available for sale in the shop. Visitors can sip samples inside the tasting room, or take tours of the winery riding inside an open-air wagon.
When Lindsey Schaefer moved back to St. Louis, she noticed that something had changed. Microbreweries were popping up everywhere, and she pleasantly found more and more craft beers inside local stores. So, Lindsey created the STL Brewery Hop as a celebration of the city's best brews.
On weekends, a tour bus takes up to 20 passengers to local breweries, where guides speak to the history and operations of each business. They hand out samples, too, of course. A typical hop might sample the Cast Iron Oatmeal Brown of the 4 Hands Brewing Company or Urban Chestnut beer.
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.