You guys know how bummed I was to not be able to go to Paso Robles this year, right? (Paso, you have my soul!) Well, good news. I’m happy to report that I did indeed find the next best thing in the Midwest — and it’s only a three-hour drive from Kansas City: Hermann wineries!
Yes, Hermann, Missouri, has wineries. And not only are the area’s rolling hills reminiscent of California (just with lots more trees), but also some of the wine is pretty damn good.
Okay, not all of the wine is good. There is A LOT of overly sweet wine out there, but if you know what wineries to go to and what tasting to ask for (hint: dry!), you can get some pretty great stuff that has a unique local history that’s like traveling back in time. Because — fun fact — did you know that Missouri is kind of a big deal in the evolution of wine around the world? Not only does Missouri make most of the oak barrels that wineries everywhere use, but it was Missouri wine that pretty much saved the French wine industry back in the mid-nineteenth century. Seriously. It’s fascinating. Read more about it here.
But enough about that, let’s get to the Hermann wineries I checked out and what you need to know about em!
Hermannhof Winery: Best Overall Experience
The Hermannhof tasting room is located in downtown Hermann and is a great place to start if you’re new to wine and/or Hermann. Found in one of the oldest and most historic locations in all of Hermann, the place has serious charm. Do a tasting (remember: stick to the dry ones!), grab a German sausage, buy a trinket and enjoy.
And, definitely, DEFINITELY go down into their cellars.
It’s like a creepy, awesome walk back in time.
OakGlenn Winery: Best View
You cannot beat the view at OakGlenn Winery. Up on a hill and overlooking the Missouri river, you just don’t get a much more picturesque picnic spot. Two warnings though: this place gets crazy with a capital C on the weekends, so if you want to picnic in peace, go during the week. Also, the wine? Well, let’s just say that you’re paying for the view. (You can get a beer or mixed drink if you want though. So, there’s that.)
Which, for the record, is worth it. Sitting up on OakGlenn’s huge porch was Gwen’s fave spot of the entire trip.
Adam Puchta Winery: Best Family-Owned Missouri Wine
Touted as the oldest continuously owned family winery in the country (really!), Adam Puchta Winery has some darn good wine. Go for the Estate Norton and the ports, which are excellent. Try to get a tasting with Larry if you can — he knows a ton about the place. And be on the look out for friendly cats. They have tons roaming about! (You know how I like my vacay pets.)
Stone Hill Winery: Best Overall Missouri Winery
Stone Hill Winery is the best known and most widely available wine in Missouri by far, but it’s with good reason. Yes, they make a lot of really sweet wines. But they also make some really affordable wines that are dry, full of flavor and really tasty. Their Nortons are great (in my opinion, Norton is the best grape), their whites aren’t bad and even their bubbly stuff was pretty darn good. My favorite wine that I acutally wish we’d bought more of at Stone Hill was the Hermannsberger. A red blend, it’s way affordable and way drinkable.
Dierberg – Star Lane – Three Saints: Best Winery in Missouri, That’s Not in Missouri
Confused by the “not in Missouri” part? Yeah, us, too. But, turns out, the family that owns Hermannhof (which is just next door) also owns this gem of a tasting room that features the family’s three wine labels that all come from California. The all-dry tasting isn’t the best I’ve ever had in say, Paso (be still, my heart), but it’s by far the best wine you’ll taste in Hermann. And really, really good. Even if the playing field isn’t exactly even. Oh, and bonus, even though getting a bottle from Dierberg – Star Lane – Three Saints (each name is a different label with a different tier of quality) is pricey, you can head on over to Tin Mill Brewing Company across the street and get a glass with lunch. (And, at least for me, a jumbo pour, as you’ll see in the photo above.)
Now, clearly, I didn’t go to every winery in the Hermann, Missouri area — just the ones we had time for. Which others should I check out next time? Because, um, we’re so going back. —Jenn