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Green Perspective: Napa Valley in Missouri’s backyard

  • Published
  • By Garry Green
  • Outdoor Recreation
Did you know that Missouri has its own version of Napa Valley just across the Missouri River from St. Louis? It is known as the Augusta wine region, about an hour drive from Scott Air Force Base.

The Augusta region is an authentic wine appellation and is one of the oldest wine making regions in the country, dating as far back as the 1850s. Many of the vineyards have been awarded medals in international wine tasting competitions.

The grape growing in the region has been so robust and so well respected that in the mid-19th century when a devastating blight called phylloxera struck the vast majority of European vineyards, particularly those in France, rootstock from Missouri vineyards were sent to re-establish vineyards and helped save the European wine making industry.

Team Scott's Outdoor Recreation sponsored a trip to explore this region along the Augusta 'Weinstrasse' winery tour April 7.

The first stop on the Weinstrasse tour was at Sugar Creek Vineyards where guests were treated to service by Ken Miller and his wife, Becky.

The Sugar Creek tasting room is surrounded by its own vineyards and the similarities to Napa Valley were not lost on Weinstrasse travellers.

The next stop was Chandler Hills winery situated high on a hill above a lake.

Chandler Hills is reminiscent of a French chateau with its stone façade, gabled architecture, high wooden ceiling beams and spacious veranda overlooking the lake.

The next tour was Montelle Winery and its lofty perch at almost 900 feet on top of Osage Ridge. Montelle Winery takes advantage of its natural surroundings and appears as if it grew out of the forest on the mountain top.

At the center of the appellation is the town of Augusta. Reminiscent of a bygone era, Augusta has retained much of its early 20th century charm. A quiet place with tree lined streets, antique shops, bed and breakfasts and inviting cafes. This is a place where people sit in rocking chairs on their porches and wave hello to strangers passing by.

The town of Augusta includes one of the oldest wineries in the state of Missouri at Mount Pleasant. Mount Pleasant Winery sits on a bluff overlooking expansive Missouri River bottoms. The winery was founded in 1859 and maintains several of the original buildings as well as an impressive brick wine storage cellar.

Mount Pleasant is well known for its Port wines as well as other award winners, such as its Cynthianna-Norton, a locally grown, native American grape varietal. The estate also offers a kitchen facility in season and offers a variety of homemade pizza, salads, hummus platters and more.

Several guests of Outdoor Recreation chose to stroll the streets of Augusta taking in its rustic charm visiting art galleries and antique shops while others languished in the spacious courtyard of Mount Pleasant winery basking in the warmth of early spring sunshine.

The Augusta appellation is a world class wine making region and its close proximity to St. Louis makes it a must see visit for wine enthusiasts and seasoned travelers alike.