It seems like over the last ten to fifteen years, the wine industry has exploded across the United States. No matter where we have traveled across the country, there are wineries advertised as tourist destinations. Some wineries we’ve visited are producing great wines that are contributing to America’s sustainable agriculture renaissance. (And some wineries… well, they tried.) An afternoon spent at a winery can be a great way to take in the area’s scenery, try the local cuisine, and learn a bit about agri-business in the process.
The great part is, you can find some really good wines right here in the Midwest! No need to take an expensive trip to Napa. With our river valleys and four season weather, Missouri is able to produce complex wines that rival those being produced in California or Europe. Many of them are quite affordable, plus, you are able to support your local growers and consume sustainable products that give back to the local economy.
Our favorite Missouri winery is Noboleis Vineyards. Nestled in the heart of Missouri wine country, in Augusta, MO, Noboleis produces a thoughtfully crafted variety of award winning wines. Winemakers, Brandon Dixon and Gabriel Miller, have many years of experience and the knowledge to create some of the best wines I have ever tasted. They are both committed to education and teaching others to appreciate every nuance of the wine.
We stumbled across Noboleis on a random Saturday afternoon in 2010. We had been hopping to some of the Augusta area wineries with a friend when we drove by, thinking, “I don’t remember a winery down there!” Though their grand opening was set to be the following weekend, the owners of Noboleis were kind enough to welcome us during their soft opening. We had a great conversation with the staff and a love for the atmosphere and wine was born.
In our house, we are fans of dry wines, both red and white, as well as port. My favorite red from Noboleis is their Chambourcin. This lovely oaked red contains notes of dark fruit, tobacco, and spice. I also love their Norton wine, that is rich with dark fruit and a slightly sour taste that goes so well with a delicious steak! As a lover of botanical and floral flavors, I love the Dry Traminette for a white wine. And their port is one of my favorite wines on earth! I currently have a bottle of every vintage stored in my basement… though I don’t know when I will have the heart to ever open it!
For all of you out there who are Barefoot Moscato fans, have no fear, Noboleis offers a lot of sweet wines too. (Ask for the Broken Fence White.) In fact, they have over twenty fine wines… sweet, dry, bubbly, fortified. And they are all worth a try. Tastings are offered daily for a small cost, and are served in flights of four wines.
We have spent many afternoons at Noboleis sitting beneath the trees, enjoying a glass of wine, the beautiful view, and good conversation with friends. One of the best parts about this winery is that they allow you to bring your own food. Twice a year, we organize a picnic with our friends and spend the whole day laughing together at the long picnic tables in the shade. The vineyard has a relaxed atmosphere that feels down to earth and welcoming, yet upscale at the same time. Families are more than welcome, and the winery has a huge yard for young people to run and play.
Noboleis also has a Wine Club that we have been members of since its inception. As Wine Club members, we buy three wines per quarter to enjoy the benefits of the club, including free tasting flights on each visit, access to member only events, and a 20% discount on all wine we purchase at the winery. (That benefit alone is well worth it!) We have gone to many of the club events over the years, have made many acquaintances, and always learn something. Events are scheduled once a quarter and focus on wine education covering everything from planting to tasting. We have picked grapes, done vertical vintage tastings, made our own blended wine, and learned about the importance of good stemware.
Whether you are looking for a destination to enjoy the autumn foliage, searching for the perfect Thanksgiving wine, or trying to find a venue for your wedding day, take a drive to Augusta and try Noboleis Vineyard. The staff is so kind, the grounds are beautiful, and the wine is phenomenal. It has become a really special place for us over the last ten years. Make it part of your memories too.
Photos courtesy of Under Grace Photo