My adventures in the Missouri wine region, enabled me to discover a charming getaway that has everything you could possible desire when it comes to a relaxing experience and enjoying sumptuous meals. Chaumette Vineyards & Winery is more than a winery, it is a destination.
Located about an hour south of St. Louis in Ste. Genevieve, Missouri, an area settle by the French in the 1750s and also known as the first colonial settlement on the west side of the Mississippi River. Situated on rolling hills, Chaumette boasts 310 acres with 30 of those acres planted with grapevines.
Hank and Jackie Johnson founded the winery in 1990. The winery began as a weekend getaway but later became their permanent home. In 1992 Hank planted their first grapes and in 2000 they started producing their wines. Hank and Jackie’s passion and love of wine, food and the property itself is quite apparent in every aspect of Chaumette.
Chaumette features the Tasting Room, the Village with 13 villas, the Spa, pool, Gift Shop and Art Gallery, Saint Vincent’s Chapel-in-the-Vineyard, The Barn, and the Grapevine Grill.
An added bonus Chaumette is very dog friendly. Hank and Jackie have several dogs that roam the property and happily greet many a guest. Zoe, my Saluki, accompanied me on my visit and she was allowed pretty much everywhere on the property.
Lunch at Chaumette Vineyards & Winery
Zoe and I arrived just in time for a late lunch at the Grapevine Grill. We sat on the patio overlooking magnificent views of the vineyards. I was thoroughly impressed with the superb cuisine options.
Being a Californian, my taste buds lean towards a dryer wine. I desired either a white or Rosé with my lunch. It was hard choosing between an Unoaked Chardonel, the Reserve Chardonel and the Rosé. Chardonel is a hybrid of Chardonnay and Seyval, a grape that reminds one of Sauvignon Blanc. I chose the Rosé made from the Chambourcin grape as it exhibited a bolder, deep and refreshing flavor.
Chaumette Vineyards & Winery Tasting Room
The tasting room bar is adorned with a large mural that tells the story of Jean de la Chaumette tracing the family origins from France to the United States. Artwork from local Missouri artists fills the walls of both the tasting room and dining room.
St. Vincent’s In The Vineyard
After lunch Hank took me on a tour of the property. Our first stop, St. Vincent’s-in-the-Vineyard, an all faith chapel that sits on a knoll over looking the property. The chapel was moved onto the property and reconstructed. Being a destination winery, the chapel has become a very popular place for weddings especially for those choosing to make Chaumette the backdrop to their wedding.
Nearby sits The Barn, a popular location for wedding receptions and other celebrations.
Leaving the barn we drove over to the winery. Chaumette specializes in utilizing advanced viticultural techniques to handcraft their wines. Chaumette’s portfolio consists of about a dozen wines including Norton, Chardonel, Traminette, Chambourcin and Vignoles. Being a boutique winery, Chaumette concentrates on producing dry wines along with a small percentage of semi-dry and semi-sweet styles for a total output of three to five thousand cases annually.
The Pool and Fitness Center at Chaumette Vineyards & Winery
Our tour ended at the Villas. My Villa was nicely appointed with a fully equipped kitchen, 2 bedrooms, 2 baths and a living dining area with fireplace.
In fact Zoe raced up and down the stairs deciding if the loft bedroom or the downstairs main bedroom bed was more befitting for this Saluki.
Zoe and I immediately settled in, enjoying the country charm of our private villa.
Dining at the Grapevine
Since my visit occurred on a day the restaurant was closed, Hank had the Sous Chef prepare a special meal. Upon Hank’s and my arrival at the restaurant we found another couple sitting outside waiting. The couple celebrating their anniversary and thought they made reservations for this particular evening. This couple drove an hour and a half to enjoy dinner at Chaumette’s Grapevine Grill. How could one send these people away, especially on their anniversary?
Hank, being ever so gracious, invited them to dinner. They were treated to their own private dinner outside on the patio with the most gorgeous sunset. This situation really highlights Hank’s philosophy and his dedication for Chaumette. Hank wants people visiting to truly experience the environment in their own way and for this couple the private intimate dining experience on their anniversary is one they will never forget.
Our dinner was fabulous and Hank poured a Chambourcin to complement the flavors that the chef was serving. The meal started with a Spinach Salad with fried eggs and mustard vinaigrette. Our entrée, a salmon rubbed in garlic oil, salt and pepper, topped with horseradish and oven dried. The salmon was cooked on a wine stave. This had to be the most succulent tasting salmon, it truly melted in my mouth. Grilled asparagus and oven-dried tomatoes accompanied the salmon. For dessert I indulged in a Rhubarb Crisp. The sweet and sour taste was a marvelous closing to this meal.
The Chaumette Vineyards & Winery
Chaumette being a French name reminds me of some of the exquisitely charming hotels in some of the hillside towns of France that include a four star restaurant on the property. In my opinion, Chaumette certainly deserves a 4 or 5 star for both the exceptional service and quality I experienced during my stay.
Without a doubt Chaumette Vineyards & Winery is a wonderful winery to visit whether for a meal at the Grapevine Grill, a wine tasting or an overnight stay at the Villas. You will not go wrong especially for those looking for either a fall or springtime getaway in Missouri.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with accommodations, meals and other compensation for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.