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The Missouri Rhineland winds through the Missouri River Valley from the suburbs of St. Louis to Jefferson City. This region is called “wine country” due to the soils that line the southern bank of the river. The soils are excellent for growing wine, grapes, and (of course) corn. The Rhineland was named for its similarities to the Rhineland region in Europe. Some of the oldest wineries in America were founded here, especially near Augusta and in Hermann at Stone Hill. During Oktoberfest, you’ll find towns that still celebrate their German heritage in style.

This tour will take you through Missouri wine country to see the industry that has won multiple national awards. Even if you are not a fan of wine, it’s still a beautiful area with rolling hills, vineyards, and rich earth. The German heritage is also seen in its architecture that that still stand over 150 years later.

How long?  About 123 miles or a minimum of three hours. The hills are steep, and the roads are usually two-lanes with speed limits of 35 m.p.h. at times. Best advice? Slow down. You’ll also find tiny little “German villages” on the route to explore. The bridge on Highway 94 in Hermann is under construction so you must take local road P as an alternate and it also goes through some great places, but the road is not one to be speeding on.

Add 30 minutes if you are leaving St. Louis to drive to St. Charles, Missouri.

If you are starting from the Kansas City metroplex, add an additional two hours and a half hour to drive to Jefferson City and reverse the directions. (Or, you can simply drive four hours to St. Charles and then start the tour.] Plan for a full day of driving.

Time of Year?  The best times to visit are from April to November as the roads can get dangerous in the winter months. Check for any flash flood watches or warnings as some of the roads can be closed by heavy flooding. You will see signs everywhere warning about low water crossings.

 

Map not working on your phone? Try this one.

 

Missouri Rhineland / Wine Country Itinerary

Start from St. Louis, Missouri

Side-trip. If you are driving from St. Louis, Missouri, why not stop off in Florissant, Missouri, to view the oldest church in Missouri. Old St Ferdinand Shrine at 1 Rue St Francois, Florissant, MO 63031. The parish was established in 1789 and the original part of the church was built in 1821.

Historic Downtown St. Charles (since 1769)

230 S. Main Street, St. Charles, MO 63301

St. Charles, Missouri, was once the last outpost for westward-bound pioneers and where Lewis and Clark launched their expedition to the Pacific. French-Canadian settlers called the spot Les Petites Cotes after “the little hills” in the 1700s. Settlement of the city dates to 1769. The city also served as the nation’s first state capitol. Little Hills Winery in historic St. Charles used to operate in a building erected in 1805. It is the first recorded deed on file and was one year after Lewis and Clark arrived in the area. Unfortunately, the shop closed in early 2018, but it is still interesting to see one of the oldest structures in the region. The historic downtown district also has shopping, restored historic structures, and other sites to help you get into the mindset to go back in time through the Rhineland of Missouri.

Since no wineries are left in downtown St. Charles, drive up and down Main Street to view some of the oldest parts of the city.

 

Chandler Hill Vineyards

Chandler Hill Vineyards, 596 Defiance Rd, Defiance, MO 63341

The history of Defiance, Missouri, goes back to 1804 with explorer Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and Daniel Boone. The Daniel Boone Home, a four-story, Georgian-style home, can still be explored today. In addition to a long history, four wineries also operate within a two-mile radius and nearly a dozen more wineries operate over the next 15-miles on the way to Dutzow. This area, that goes to Augusta, Missouri, is the oldest wine district in the United States. Chandler Hill Vineyards is a young winery, operating since 2008, but it has some of the most picturesque views of the region.

Additional wineries in this area include:

 

Mt. Pleasant Estates and Winery

5634 High St, Augusta, MO 63332

When Germany immigrants flooded the area back in the 1800s, they brought with them their love of flowers, Teutonic architecture, and their wine-making skills. Eleven wineries operated near Augusta until the Prohibition era when they were closed. Time moved on and many of the wineries reopened. The area outside of Augusta was designated as the first American Viticultural Area (wine growing) in 1980. Brothers George and Frederick Muench founded the winery in 1859 and built the cellars in 1881. The winery still uses the cellars today to age the wines and Augusta Ports.

Additional wineries include:

 

Blumenhof Vineyards and Winery

13699 South Highway 94, Dutzow, MO 6334

Dutzow is Missouri’s oldest Germany settlement, founded in 1832. The vineyards at Bluemnhof were established in 1979 with the first vintage in 1986. Blumenhof, which means “Court of Flowers” in German,” has won a wide variety of awards at prominent wine competitions. Near the old town of Pinckney on MO-94 is St. John’s United Church of Christ that was built in 1870 and is one of the few remaining structures in the area that survived the floodwaters of 1993.

Historic Downtown Washington, Missouri

123 Lafayette St, Washington, MO 63090

In the middle of Missouri wine country sits Washington, Missouri, a charming small town on the Missouri River. The town was the site of the San Juan del Misuri, established in 1796. The renamed town was plotted out in 1829. Thanks to the influx of anti-slavery Germany settlers, Washington, Missouri was a union holdout in a state that supported the Confederacy during the Civil War. There are over 40 wineries within an hour of the town, but since we’ve already explored so many, I figured it was time for a history break. Here are a few of the historical sites to see in this old German settlement.

 

Stone Hill Winery

1110 Stone Hill Hwy, Hermann, MO 65041

Sign for Stone Hill Winery in Hermann, Missouri. Taken on a Missouri wine tour.

Hermann, Missouri, is one of the state’s hidden gems. Founded in 1837 by German immigrants, Hermann, Missouri, is considered the heart of the Missouri Rhineland region. The town’s German-American heritage can be viewed at the Deutschheim State Historic Site and in its downtown. The Pommer-Gentner house was built in 1840 and the Carl Strehly house, built in 1842, are two of the oldest surviving buildings in town. Stop at the Hermann Riverfront (free parking!) for a great view of the Missouri River. Hermann is a great weekend get-away in and of itself.

The oldest winery in Hermann is Stone Hill Winery, established in 1847. Norton, Missouri’s official state grape, is grown here. The winery has won more than 4,000 awards since 1988. Stone Hill Winery offers guided tours and tasking, along with a vintage restaurant that specializes in German and American cuisine.

Additional wineries include:

 

Canterbury Hill Winery and Restaurant and Jefferson City

1707 S Summit Dr, Holts Summit, MO 65043 (winery)

201 W Capitol Ave, Jefferson City, MO 65101 (capitol building)

As you near the capital of Missouri, you’ll see the northern edge of the Ozark Plateau and the southern part of the Missouri River. The capitol dome rises from a bluff overlooking the river in historic Jefferson City. Sitting on the western edge of Missouri wine country, the city has several wineries within a short drive.

Additional wineries and nearby places include:

Have some spare time after visiting Jefferson City? Go south and explore the Missouri Ozark Country.


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