Although off the beaten path of designated Missouri Wine Trails, there are several wineries definitely worth the trip to enjoy within an easy drive of Lake of the Ozarks. Pack a picnic and enjoy.

Although off the beaten path of designated Missouri Wine Trails, there are several wineries definitely worth the trip to enjoy within an easy drive of Lake of the Ozarks. Pack a picnic and enjoy.

Wildlife Ridge Winery

34751 Miller Road

Smithton, Missouri 65350

Wildlife Ridge Winery, located between Cole Camp and Sedalia, is a popular destination on the Benton County Wine trail and is where we start. Technically situated in Pettis County, it borders Benton County, and is sold all over Benton county. A beautiful creation nestled beside a 3.5 acre lake, with wine barrel tables and seating surrounding the water, it is the ultimate place to kick back, reflect on the week, and sip.

Located on the edge of Hi Lonesome Prairie, there are plenty of birds and wildlife to view on the way to this backwoods hidden gem. Passing through the ghost town of Bahner to get there, traveling over a low water bridge and through tall corn fields, you believe you might be lost, except for the continuous signs leading to the winery. You can access Wildlife Ridge by way of Highway U to Highway V from Cole Camp, or by Highway 65 to Highway V.

Gentle donkeys behind barbed wire greet you as you pull into the front entrance of the wine bar.

Free tastings are always welcome, and seem to be more common the farther the winery is out of the way. Try the Moody Blue, a sweet white wine, it’s Wildlife Ridge’s version of a white moscato. Their wine bar serves six varieties of white ranging from Bone Dry, a crisp dry white, to the sweetest Moody Blue. They craft five varieties of red wine, ranging from the dryest Sunset Red, to the sweetest Sweet Pea. i

The owners Kevin and Kristi Long craft their wines with purchased Missouri Growers grapes, and craft it on site at Les Bourgeois Winery in Rocheport to the tune of 7500 gallons a year.

In addition to complimentary tastings, wine is available by the glass or bottle.

Open Wednesday-Sunday 1pm-6pm

Eichenberg Winery

103 N Olive St.

Cole Camp

Located in the middle of the town, the winery is a favorite of Benton County locals. It’s easy to access, and is cozy being within walking distance of plenty of other Cole Camp destinations. The German atmosphere is high here, like a mini version of Hermann. Eichenberg is decorated in German style, with the “Willkommen” sign beckoning all to come sit in or outside on the patio, or the many picnic tables. Located in a 1900 blacksmith shop, the owners Rodger and Thelia Luetjen craft their wines onsite from a vineyard that Rodger planted in 1996. Their family descends from German immigrants and proudly display that heritage. Eichenberg Winery produces six varieties of red wine, ranging from the driest Rubin Haussehuh, to the sweet Concord. Blush and white wines vary from the very dry Encore, to the sweetest Liebersaft. Especially exciting is that they craft a Vignoles.

The winery is open on weekends only Fri-Sun

Dale Hollow Winery

314 E 1st Street

Stover

Dale Hollow Winery is busy getting ready for grape harvest time. Sitting at this little winery on the edge of town, you can view the surrounding vineyards new to the harvest. They now boast some award winning wines, too. Dale Hollow recently entered the 2019 Missouri Wine Competition and won Best in Class and Gold Medal Sweet Red Wine with their 2018 Concord. A few other varieties won silver and bronze medals too.

Brothers Asher and Jesse Dale planted the 15 acre vineyard in 2013, and opened the winery in 2016. Their dad works the fields. Their mom draws the label art. It’s a true family affair.

Marketing their wine at festivals and stores throughout Benton, Morgan, and Camden counties, the outlets continue to grow.

The winery itself produces some popular varieties that most Missourians favor and recognize. They grow Norton, Concord, Vignoles, and Catawba grapes. The wines have fun names though, such as Lake House, Caboose, and Blossom. The tasting room is a fun place as well. You kind of feel like you are joining a family party when you happen to visit with a public event, which happens quite often here. There is live music at least once a month on the patio.

As for refreshments, they sell Hemme Bros. cheese! if you’ve never had it, you don’t know what you are missing. Dale Hollow prides itself on offering food for purchase from producers that are as local as possible. They offer beef sticks, summer sausage, and jellies, all locally made.

Open Thur-Friday 2pm-7pm Saturday 12pm-6pm.

A few other places to visit on your booze centric tour of Western Morgan, Benton, and St. Clair Counties:

Welpman Springs Brewing-Stover

Located on a goldfish hatchery, Welpman Springs Brewing Company takes advantage of the 1000 gallons of rushing spring water per minute on property to make some of the freshest beer you will ever taste.

Buffalo Creek Winery-Stover

Located down Highway 135 from Laurie, almost to Stover. By water, you can find them at the 70 mile marker. The view on the balcony is an amazing way to enjoy their wine.

Windy Wine Company-Osborn/Clinton

This winery has some of the mostly artfully unique labels found on local wines. Good Luck Green has a cobra on the label, and the wine is tinted green. Dinner and live music are held on weekends.

Bees Knees Brewing Company-Versailles

Stop in and talk to the owners about their brewing process. They are on the verge of bottling and distribution, but as of now, they craft a large variety of house brewed beer. The thin crust pizza compliments the brews perfectly. Get a beer flight in cute mason jars to try all of their favorites.