Since it was a Wednesday, many wineries were not open. However, the first winery I did find was not too far off the main highway. Cave Winery had a natural cavern, a saltpeter cave, nearby, but the cave was not open at the time I visited. The wines I tasted included hybrids such as Chardonel, Chambourcin, Vignoles and Norton. Sampling these Strussione wines made from grapes grown at the adjacent vineyard, was pleasant – it was hard to choose a favorite. The next winery was called Chaumette, established in 1990. The site was magnificent, in the middle of rolling hills covered in vines; the facility was marvelously accommodating. The restaurant on site seemed popular; the wines were definitely elegant. The grapes of the region were well represented, thus, more Chardonel, Chambourcin, Traminette and Vignoles were tasted. This winery knew how to handle the regional grapes. The final winery on the agenda was actually in the town of St. Genevieve. It was St. Genevieve Winery – the vineyards/orchards were located in acreage outside of town, but the tasting room was in an old 1901 house. This winery made mostly fruit wines from cherries, apples, pears, raspberries, and strawberries. However there were some wines from hybrids, the Vignoles and Vidal Blanc. It was also at this location that I was able to find a snack. After a bit of respite, and walking about the charming town making a purchase at a lace shop, I headed back to St. Louis. Our evening was spent at a Cardinals’ game, rain and all. We left early, just before the game was called. On the way back to the hotel, we recuperated with a little evening libation.
The next and last day, June 6, I located the Anheuser-Busch brewery and was thrilled by a tour of this original location. In the round house used for stalls, several Clydesdales resided. Goodness, I’d only seen these majestic animals on TV – they are much more imposing and gorgeous in reality. Truthfully, seeing these magnificent horses was the highlight of the tour. Yet, I was interested in the old part of the brewery, the actual area of production, and the newer hospitality area where one can sample the beverage. This was certainly one pleasant way to spend a morning. But, some of the best was yet to come. My daughter had the afternoon off, so we decided to visit the Gateway Arch, the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial – built over 50 years ago. It was an amazing experience to ride in a tiny cable car only large enough for four persons up a track running along the inside of the arch. Once on the top, the view through the windows was incredible and the experience priceless. To finish our day, we visited a quaint neighborhood in St. Louis known as The Hill. It is actually on higher ground than most of the city and is known for its authentic Italian bakeries, restaurants, grocery stores, and trattorias. It was delightful driving around the narrow streets with the bungalow style housing; business establishments were on every corner – parking, though was at a premium. We located a restaurant and enjoyed one of the most delicious meals I had had in a very long time. This was a perfect culmination to our few days in Missouri. Back at our hotel, we got ready to depart St. Louis. Packing our special memories of St. Louis, we realized we had gained a better appreciation of the rich history of the city once known as the “Gateway to the West.”