The Missouri Wine Passport motivates wine lovers to explore the wineries nestled in the rolling landscape of Missouri. Since last summer, we had visited 32 wineries, earning bar towels and cork screws and wine carriers free of charge. Well, free if you don’t count the investment in Missouri wines that now populate our “wine cellar”.
We’ve taken the bulk of our wine and riding excursions with Bo and Allie. Allie loves a good dry red, and Bo loves a Coke with extra ice. But for this trip, Guy and I were on our own, relishing some alone time that -in this crazy economic climate – has become a treasured commodity in our daily life. Still a bit cool for a weekend motorcycle trip, we took the convertible (top up!) and headed for the wineries near the Cape Girardeau area.
While in Cape Girardeau, don’t miss the painted Missouri Wall of Fame and the beautiful riverfront views. Hard to believe that this peaceful riverfront was once a bustling center of transportation for the region.
Tower Rock nature area boasts an interesting formation in the middle of the river with some historical significance. It is worth the short drive from the Tower Rock Vineyard and Winery; in fact, a small fire pit and rustic table overlooking the river provide a relaxing picnic site.
Although the wine is often good, our favorite part of winery running is the enthusiastic welcome of the owners and staff. The bonus is a beautiful venue, a microbrewery, outside seating with an inspiring view, and delicious meals under 8 dollars.
Guy and Babe’s area favorites:
River Ridge: ***** Favorite by Far! Jerry Smith – the owner, parking attendant, wine master, and resident comedian – greeted us. Jerry gave us a winery tour, complete with Jokes of the Day, Jokes of Yesterday, and Jokes of … well, he is sure to ask the “ladies” before offering the more colorful of his repertoire. His personal journey from aspiring astronaut to wine maker in the Commerce, MO countryside is most intriguing. The premises is lovely with indoor and outdoor seating including a beautiful new terraced area. The gift shop in jam-packed with unique “stuff” that is functional, decorative, and humorous. The wine is delicious, with several options to choose from – and a real treat for the dry wine lover. Guy enjoyed the Cynthiana with Oak, and I particularly enjoyed the Chardonel with Oak. We also purchased a unique Chambourcin desert wine – a subtle sweetness.
Thank you, Jerry. Just like you thought…. when you do your thing right, people come back. We certainly will!
Steele Crest: **** The wine was good, and the service was outstanding! Plenty of room inside for a few large parties or several smaller ones, Steele Crest is known for its wood-fire pizzas. Guy is determined to get back there to try the pizza. Our favorite wines? With 13 or so wines to choose from, and a free wine tasting, Jackson, MO could become a favorite stop in the bootheel.
Speaking of Jackson, MO, you won’t want to miss Tractors restaurant for a delicious, well-priced food – and great service to boot! Guy first noticed the restaurant in a local electric co-op magazine, and pegged this place for our dinner: Classic American Grill – delicious hamburgers, wings, and salads.
Rothbrick: *** If you are looking for a family friendly winery – this could be the place. Playgrounds and Trail Rides and Log Cabins and Pond Paddle Boats – all available for your enjoyment. The friendly young woman who poured our wine tasting was attentive and informative. The Traminette is the best I’ve had at any Missouri winery, and by far my favorite. Guy thoroughly enjoyed a glass of the Porter Vanilla beer that is made by a local microbrewery. The barmaid assured us that the beer choices were bound to increase as the winery grows. Rothbrick has been open since July 2011, and we believe it can be a strong contender for an “area best” as it expands.
Congratulations to us. We have achieved Level 5 rewards for the Missouri Passport: A private food and wine pairing at a winery for 10. We know Bo and Allie will go (after all, it is free!). Sure hope we can dig up…. um, find…. 6 more friends.