Finding three friends on the trail

By: 
Dennis Warden

Today is my mother’s birthday. Etiquette prevents me from revealing her age. I’m sure you will agree it’s hard to purchase a gift for your parents. At this time in their lives they have everything they need and most everything they want. 

So Connie came up with a wonderful idea — a day together on a wine trail, more specifically the Farmers’ Table Wine Trail in Hermann on Saturday.

This was the second wine trail Connie and I had attended so we knew what to expect. Each ticket (costing $30) entitles you to a souvenir wine glass along with a food sample and wine paring. There are seven wineries that participate, so it’s like a seven course meal, spread out over the day, with seven different wine tastings.

Saturday turned out to be a perfect day for the wine trail. Clear blue skies allowed the sun to shine, but the temperature did not rise above 42 degrees. It was a nice day, but not so good that we felt that we wasted a day that could have been spent working in the yard. 

Röbller Vineyard in New Haven is the farthest winery from Owensville so we choose to start there and work our way back home. They served Angus Beef Italian meatballs with San Marzano tomato sauce and crostini, paired with your choice of Chambourcin or Villa Rouge. All four of us selected the Chambourcin, a dry, to semi-dry red wine.

Here is where we met our first surprise guest, Tom Blatchford, the owner of Cool Cow Cheese. He was helping them serve the hors d’oeuvres.

Continuing on the trail our next stop was Bias Winery outside of Berger. Berger is not on the way to anywhere so you have to have a reason to go there. Visiting Bias Winery is the only times I’ve been through this small Franklin County community. As you drive through the town you can’t help but notice the beautiful old houses, a couple quite large, and three beautiful old German churches.

At Bias we had fresh veggie pizza with broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, paired with spring wine punch.

Our first winery in Hermann was OakGlenn, located high on a hill overlooking the Missouri River with a beautiful view. There we had roasted lamb with cranberry slaw, paired with their White Port. This was an extra treat to mom, as she loves lamb.

It was also a great weekend for bachelorette parties, we came across at least three on the trail.

As we were leaving we overheard one visitor ask what river that is. As we left Connie said to herself, the Ohio .

Next on the trail was Dierberg Star Lane Tasting Room where we had smoky ham and corn chowder, paired with Sauvignon Blanc. This was definitely a keeper. We came home with the recipe. 

Dierberg is the only wine that is not made in Missouri. The Dierberg family owns Hermannhof Winery and First Bank. They also own this winery in California. They produce three labels in California, Dierberg, Star Lane and Three Saints. We learned this bit of information from our second surprise encounter.

When we stopped into their tasting room one of the attendants behind the counter called out “is that you Dennis Warden?”

Working in the tasting room was Larry Shoemaker, someone I had attended high school with. The last time I remember seeing Larry and was when he his twin brother Jerry did the concrete floor for our basement in 1987.

That was a wonderful surprise.

It was here that we all found out what a $50 bottle of wine tasted like.

Next door is the Hermannhof Winery where we enjoyed a French yogurt cake, paired with their Vignoles. That’s where I gave a big hug to one of my favorite Connies (besides my wife), Connie Aubuchon.

She was serving the cake.

Our trail was quickly coming to a close with only two more wineries to visit, but two of our favorites. At Stone Hill Winery we were treated to cashew chicken salad on pita, paired with Steinberg white wine. Connie and I prefer a dry wine with dinner, but sometimes, especially in the spring or summer, a lighter fruitier wine is called for. So we picked up three bottles of their Jacquesse Kick’n Kolada at $8 a bottle.

Last on the tour was Adam Puchta Winery where we enjoyed pulled pork with Asian slaw and soy reduction on a corn tortilla, paired with Traminette.

Anytime you want to spend a fun afternoon with friends or family I recommend a Hermann wine trail.

Hermann wineries produce six wine trails each year. Two are done with four left. They are the Wild Bacon Wine Trail, May 5-6, Berries and BarBQ Wine Trail, July 28-29, Holiday Fare Wine Trail, Nov. 17-18, and Say Cheese Wine Trail, Dec. 8-9. 

For more information about the wine trails visit www.HermannWineTrail.com.

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