The love for suds in St. Louis is legendary, but an insurgent wine culture is thriving in the kingdom of beers. With no signs of cresting, the grape’s popularity is swelling beyond the city limits, where nearby vineyards specialize in fruity, supersweet dessert wines. If you’re a wine lover traveling through the “Lou,” these four outposts will surely satisfy.
Urban explorers who venture a few blocks off hipster Washington Avenue are rewarded with an ever-changing cast of bold, big-value wines by the glass or bottle. Inside, the high ceiling, glistening chandeliers and airy design provide the perfect décor for decompressing as you sample one of the palate-pleasing flights and nosh on Bridge’s famous goose confit, Brie and pear quesadilla.
As you would expect from a place named after the goddess of abundance, everything about Copia is outsized. An outdoor patio fits 300 comfortably under its retractable roof, and the 600-bottle wine list spans Old World classics to New World cult wineries like Sine Qua Non, Opus One and Bond. Bonus: Bottles are sold at retail prices, not restaurant prices.
A few miles west of downtown, this Webster Groves fixture is newbie friendly, grouping one of its wine menus into eight easy-to-understand categories like “Luscious” and “Robust.” Don’t need the training wheels? Belly up to the bar for one of the cleverly curated flights. Be sure to sip the Napa Valley Cuvée, blended only for Robust.
The lack of a sign hasn’t hurt this intimate South St. Louis hang, which is located in a nondescript red-brick row house. Take time to chat with proprietor Jeff Stettner, who loves to help you discover lesser-known gems (like German Pinot Noir) and encourages you to sip outside your comfort zone (like the Coenobium Rusticum, an orange-colored wine crafted by nuns in Lazio, Italy).