The kids have returned to school and the weather has started to turn cooler. But that doesn’t mean you have to be stuck at home. What better time of year for a drive through the Missouri countryside? There are plenty of options for an overnight getaway or a relaxing long weekend in Missouri wine country. We scoped out a couple:
An hour and 15 minutes south of St. Louis is the historic town of Ste. Genevieve, and secluded in its outskirts is Chaumette Winery and Vineyards. The establishment was purchased in 1990 by Hank and Jackie Johnson, who originally planned to build a cabin there and retire—but things evolved from there, says marketing director Jennifer Johnson. “They started growing grapes and making wine, and built a tasting room. Then people wanted to eat, so they built a restaurant. They later added the villas because people wanted a place to stay,” Johnson says.
The boutique, which produces only about 3,000 cases of wine each year, has 14 villas, most of which are privately owned and rented out by Chaumette, Johnson notes. Guests also are welcome to enjoy a full menu of spa services, which include facials, varied types of massages and even makeup consultations for bridal parties.
The culinary program, helmed by executive chef Adam Lambay, is an experience all its own, with more than 90 percent of the ingredients from April through October coming from local farms, Johnson adds. Guests also may want to enjoy the tasting room, art gallery and gardens.
For those who plan to do a little more exploring, Chaumette offers 32 acres of grapes on 310 acres of land, near the Mark Twain National Forest and John J. Audubon Trail. “There’s a great hike that takes you over the ridge to Charleville Vineyard,” Johnson says. “Ste. Gen is a gorgeous space with rolling hills, and Hank and Jackie are known for making people feel like they’re at home.
With almost a dozen wineries all within a short drive—or trolley ride—Hermann is a great place to explore a wide variety of local wine. Guests who plan to stay a few days might consider lodging at The Inn at Hermannhof. Innkeeper Gina Price says the inn frequently plays host to couples on romantic getaways, whether it’s a special anniversary or birthday, even a no-special-reason weekend away from the hustle of city life. “They don’t want to spend all day driving—they want to get away and enjoy the different atmosphere. It’s relaxed and fun. You can walk around town, and there are a lot of restaurants and cute little shops and antique stores.”
Guests at The Inn can choose between the main building and the more secluded cottages. Each of the six cottages, all former working wine houses, is unique, with some featuring fireplaces or period stoves, or options that range from oversized soaking tubs to luxurious showers. Price says guests also are welcome to enjoy the inn’s spa services, which are offered in a spa suite as well as in-room. “There are amazing views of the town, and some of our luxury cottages have a private porch or terrace where you can sit and enjoy the sights of the town and the river,” she adds. “It’s very nice and tranquil.”
Should you decide to leave the scenic grounds, the whole town of Hermann awaits, with the Katy Trail, entertainment, live music at wineries and restaurants around town, and museums and historic sites. Be sure to plan your trip early, as rooms fill up fast—especially during Octoberfest!