Roadside America: Cave Vineyard, Missouri

If you are a U.S. wine industry buff, all around trivia guru, or Dustin Hoffman in “Rain Man,” you already know there are wineries in all 50 American states.

Yep. That’s right. Pick a state and there is a winery there.

Alaska? Yep, there are 8.

Hawaii? Two.

Missouri? There are now over 100.

Wait. What? There are over 100 wineries in Missouri? Ranked as one of the top-ten wine producing states in the nation, Missouri not only has a number of distinct wine regions, but also has a legitimate wine trail and an established industry of wine tourism.

Of all the 100 or so wineries in the state, however, only one of them is famously located inside of a natural cave.

Located 1 hour and 20 minutes from the nearby metropolis of St. Louis, the Cave Vineyard is set down a country road in the heart of the St. Genevieve wine country where the rolling hills are more akin to Provence than those of the Ozarks. Though 14 acres of grapes surround the welcoming tasting room, the main draw of the property is the gaping Saltpeter Cave, which forms a hollow amphitheater perfect for wine storage, peaceful moments, and one-of-a-kind private events.

Visitors to the winery can taste their way through regional varietals such as Traminette or Chardonel, purchase a bottle, and subsequently gain free entry to the romantic cave where private tables for two are set next to a lightly flowing brook. The warm lighting stands in contrast to the cool cave temperatures, and this is as unique a spot as any for packing a picnic basket, taking a weekend getaway, and just exploring the beauty found on back country roads.

Getting There: Exit #150 off of I-55 if coming from St. Louis. West on Hwy 32, immediate left onto Hwy P. Go for two miles and turn right onto Cave Rd. Two more miles will bring you to the vineyard. Or, just follow the signs.

Hours of Operation: 10 a.m.- 6 p.m. daily (summer), 10 a.m.- 5 p.m. daily (winter)