Thursday, September 29, 2011

Victorian Swag Field Trip

You may think we at Victorian Swag spend the majority of our time on our computers, searching for the perfect Fassy-approved photos to share with you.  Not so.  We believe in active lifestyles in addition to active imaginations and are prone to taking "field trips" in search of a little adventure.

This past weekend took me to the rolling hills of Missouri wine country.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with Missouri, we may not seem an entirely credible site for vineyards and the like.  But what we lack in coastline and majestic peaks we more than make up for in tasty reds, delightful whites, and scrumptious rosés.

Forty-five minutes outside of St. Louis, along windy Highway 94, you’ll find the quaint little towns of Defiance, Augusta, and Dutzow.  With populations in the hundreds, whitewashed churches, and AMAZING old Victorian homes (wrap-around porches, towers, stained glass windows, you get the idea), these towns are swoon-worthy in and of themselves.  Covering the hills and valleys between them are the vineyards of some of the best wineries in the state, not to mention some of the most striking scenery.  Just looking at it makes me want to don a petticoat and parasol and frolic between the vines.  Another scenario also comes to mind.  I have always loved the film A Walk in the Clouds, (and this has nothing to do with Keanu Reeves, trust me).  The story is just so beautiful.  One scene in particular needs to go down as the best vineyard scene in movie history.  When an early frost threatens the grapes before harvest, the family and the workers light fires between the rows and use giant wing-like fans to thaw the plants. It is a lovely and sensual scene.  If vineyards aren't sexy, then I don't know what is.  

Back to reality.  I didn't need any wings for my trip (blast!) but I did enjoy my time tasting. With nearly a dozen wineries along a 15-mile stretch of road, it’s almost impossible to decide where to stop.  But a couple of must-sees (or must-tastes) are Blumenhof and Noboleis.  Blumenhof serves one of my favorite rosés (Katy’s Blush, named after the Katy Trail).  It also features live music on the weekends - usually a folk or polka band complete with accordion – and gives off such an authentic German vibe.  Noboleis is the new kid on the block but one that I highly recommend visiting.  They have a killer selection – from chambourcin to vignoles, to vidals – a beautiful tasting room, and one of the best views in the business.  I swear, someone either needs to get married or shoot a movie on that hillside. My favorite part about Noboleis (aside from their amazingly fresh semi-dry Steepleview) is their label.  There is a broken fence that sits underneath a huge oak tree overlooking the vineyards.  The owners used the silhouette to create their simple, Victorian Swag-approved label.  They even named a couple of their wines “Broken Fence.”

Victorian Swag fully supports weekend adventures through sleepy towns, frolics through vineyards, and lazy afternoons with friends and a bottle of wine.  As autumn sets in, I challenge you not to be tempted by the promise of a sunny afternoon spent sipping a vintage.


  1. Let's just start our own vineyard! I mean, I'd drink wine called Victorian Swag, wouldn't you? Delightful! Now feel inspired to go drink wine and plan VS field trips. This looks so lovely! Take me there, ruby slippers!

  2. I second your idea, Sally! Think of the names we could come up with! (Mostly it's just a chance to drink wine and travel to Italy for "research.")