Winery's Roots Extend to 19th Century Immigrants
Stone Hill Winery — about an hour's drive from the area — is one of the top wineries in Missouri and is open for tours seven days a week.
You’ve seen Stone Hill wines in your local grocery store and maybe you’ve even had a few glasses of the winery's famous Norton red. But to understand what makes Stone Hill winery so interesting, you need to know a little history about the wine business in Missouri.
Stone Hill Winery is located in Hermann, MO, about an hour's drive from St. Louis County. The town was settled by German immigrants back in 1837, and like other immigrants, they came to this part of the world looking for cheap land and a shot at the American dream. While many Germans settled in St. Louis and introduced us to the fine art of beer making, a few hardy souls pushed on to the Missouri River valley and went about the even finer art of wine-making.
In its glory days, Stone Hill Winery was the third largest winery in the world and crafted many award-winning vintages. Missouri was second only to California in the American wine-making business and more than a hundred wineries thrived here.
It all came to a screeching halt in 1920, when Prohibition made alcohol illegal. By the time Prohibition was repealed in 1934, the Missouri wine industry was completely shattered.
Stone Hill was not resurrected until 1965. It’s now the oldest of Missouri’s modern wineries, and it's back to crafting award-winning wine. Stone Hill has seven vineyards around Hermann, where it grows Vignoles, Cayuga, Vidal, Chardonel and Norton grapes.
The winery offers tours of the historic underground cellars that were part of the original 19th century operation. Tours are $2.50 for adults, $1 for kids 12 and under, and free for children under 6. The tour ends at the tasting room for samples of Stone Hill wines and juice. A VIP “Grapes to Glass” tour is held nine times a year, where staff take visitors on an extended behind-the-scenes tour from the vineyard to the tasting room, sampling wines all the way, for $25 per person. The next one is Nov. 5.
After your tour, grab a seat at the patio to soak in the scenery that attracted German immigrants to Hermann. Stay for lunch or dinner at Stone Hill's Vintage Restaurant, where German dishes like schnitzel, sauerbraten and knockwurst are served alongside American favorites.
Stone Hill is open year-round, seven days of the week. Hours change with the season, so check its website for the most current information.