Defiance Ridge Vineyards offers a perfect escape from the city
Get out of the hustle and bustle of St. Louis and spend some time at one of the newest wineries in the state, Defiance Ridge Vineyards, just 30 minutes west of the city in Historic Missouri Wine Country.
At just two years old, this gorgeous 42-acre winery (complete with vineyards, lush gardens, a tranquil lake and peaceful verandas surrounding a historic farmhouse) is taking the local scene by storm.
“Our brand has really been taking off,” said owner Chuck Gillentine. “We’ve done a nice job with our wines and had a good year. Our winemaker, Tom Murphy, is a Marine that’s been making wine for 25 years, and he’s just incredible at what he does.”
Defiance Ridge has won several awards in the Missouri Wine Competition, including Gold for the vignole Best in Class for the chambourcin rosé.
“Our chambourcin rosé is grown in a vineyard about 10 miles away that’s owned by a food scientist couple,” he explained. “They handpicked the grapes, and we made the rosé and also a straight chambourcin. I’m not usually a big fan of that grape, but this wine turned out very nice – more like a pinot noir.”
There are a handful of West Coast wines to choose from, including several from Meadowood in Napa Valley, but the lengthy list of house wines is what keeps people coming back.
“We have five acres of vineyards that we’re slowly replacing the chambourcin with vignole,” he said. “We make it dry and off-dry, and it’s a really high seller – perfect for outside weather and nice days.”
There’s also a full-service, farm-to-table restaurant on site.
“It’s not a large menu, but we concentrate on making each and every item incredible,” Gillentine said. “We have the best grass-fed burger that has an egg on it. We also do a really nice charcuterie board that has mostly local meats, cheeses from Iowa and pickled veggies from our own garden when they’re available.”
On the third Wednesday of each month, the winery hosts a farmhouse wine pairing dinner.
“We usually limit these to 35 people, so we recommend getting tickets on our website early,” he said.
In addition to monthly dinners, there’s live music every Saturday and Sunday from local artists like Acoustik Element, The Matching Shoe and more.
And if you’re looking for a venue for a wedding or your next party, the sprawling grounds are ideal.
“We have both sunny and shaded areas – it’s very quaint and quiet and pretty,” Gillentine said, adding the venue can seat about 350 people for a plated dinner. “Our main venue is a covered open space that we can add enclosures so we heat and cool that’s overlooking the gardens and vineyards.”
Defiance Ridge is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with dinner service Friday evenings that the venue is not booked for an event.
This article is sponsored by Missouri Wines.
Lauren Healey is associate editor at Sauce Magazine.
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