Mount Pleasant Winery in Augusta, MO

••• Photo courtesy Mount Pleasant Winery

Mount Pleasant Estates in Augusta, Missouri, is the oldest and largest winery within an hour's drive of St. Louis. It's also one of the region's most popular wine destinations. It has some of the area's best views of the Missouri River valley, along with a variety of quality wines. Throw in live music, winemaker dinners and special events, and Mount Pleasant offers something for nearly everyone.

Mount Pleasant is located at 5634 High Street in Augusta.

From St. Louis, take I-64 west to Highway 94 in St. Charles County. Then take the scenic drive along 94 for about 20 miles until you reach Augusta.

Winter hours at Mount Pleasant run from November through March. During those months, the winery is open daily from noon to 4 p.m. Extended hours start in April and run through October. That's when the winery is open Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. You can reach Mount Pleasant at (636) 482-WINE or by visiting the winery website.

A Tradition of Quality

In 1966, when Mount Pleasant reopened after sitting dormant since prohibition, it was one of only two wineries in the state. Today, even though there are now dozens of wineries within a two hour drive of St. Louis, Mount Pleasant is still a favorite for many locals. A big reason is the great views and idyllic setting for sipping wine on the outdoor terrace.

Another is the consistency and quality of the wine itself.

Mount Pleasant grows 12 different varieties of grapes. Over the last few decades, it has regularly produced wines good enough to win Gold and Double Gold medals at national and international competitions. Its most popular and award-winning wines are its Villagio (similar to a pinot grigio), Vignoles and, of course, its Norton (Norton is Missouri's state grape).

Tasting Fees? In Missouri?

Perhaps because of its success, Mount Pleasant also sets itself apart from most other local wineries by charging tasting fees, and when there's entertainment, admission fees too. For those looking for the usual Missouri experience, the fees can be a deal breaker. Currently, it costs $10 a person for a tasting of five wines, though the pours are generous and you do get to keep the glass. Mount Pleasant also has some of the region's most expensive prices to open and drink a bottle on the premises. And keep in mind, visitors are not allowed to bring in outside food. That means if you want to eat, you'll have to purchase something from the Appellation Cafe.

Other Wine Options

Mount Pleasant is just one part of Missouri's long and proud winemaking history. Today, there are many ways to experience the state's wine culture. Drive a little further west from Augusta to Hermann, Missouri, and you'll find Stone Hill Winery, one of the most famous and award-winning wineries in the state. Stone Hill and six other area wineries are also part of the Hermann Wine Trail, a collaborative effort offering special events for wine lovers throughout the year. For more information on finding a great winery in Missouri, see the Missouri Wine website.