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Dear Guests & Friends,

Autumn is in the air
The calendar indicates that the lazy, hazy days of summer are over. Now that fall is upon us, it is a great time of year to be in the heart of Missouri wine country. And, we are ready for you to visit.

Mother Nature appears to be working overtime providing us with glorious Indian summer weather. Our guests are encouraged to experience her handiwork while driving on the country roads that meander through colorful fields of crops waiting to be harvested. Hay bales dot the landscape and wildflowers line the roadways. The river bluffs create an interesting backdrop for trees whose leaves are turning to blazing shades of red, gold, and orange. There is plenty to see and do in the country as several of the area's wineries, breweries, and restaurants can be found along the way.

The pace picks up on weekends when local businesses offer special activities as part of the annual Octoberfest celebration. Traditional German oom-pah bands, and some less traditional music, can be heard at various area venues, and the smell of German cooking lures diners to local restaurants.

With the onset of Octoberfest, many of the establishments we wrote about in the August and September newsletters are modifying their menus, adding special activities, and adjusting their hours. Changes as we know them are noted below for the month of October. However, we recommend checking out the website of each business, or calling them for updated information.


--Concert Hall and Barrel Bar: On Octoberfest weekends, a special menu will be offered featuring homemade German fare. The River City Blues Band from St. Louis will be playing in the afternoon during the first four Saturdays in October. On the first four Friday and Saturday nights, visitors can listen to local DJ Midnight Beat.

--The Cottage Restaurant and Gallery: On Fridays and Saturdays in October, the Cottage Restaurant will be open continuously from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. German items will be added to the menu. Luncheon offerings will be available starting at 11 a.m. with dinner entrees being added later in the day.

--The Downtown Deli and Custard Shoppe: Hours remain the same in October, however, bratwurst and BBQ pork steaks will be served Saturday and Sunday on select weekends.

--El Ranchito Mexican Restaurant: Business as usual.

--Europa Restaurant: Business as usual.

--Hermann Brewing Company: Hours will be extended for October. Service is from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. Weather permitting, a Beer Garden will operate all four Octoberfest weekends serving craft-brewed beer, brats, and cheese and sausage trays. Chilled wines also will be available. A special German Festival menu will be offered for both lunch and dinner in the dining room. Fresh beer and German picnic foods will be available "to go".

--Lyndee's Restaurant: Business as usual.

--Montague's BBQ and Philosophers' Coffeehouse: During October, Montague's BBQ will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 11 to 5 the first four Saturdays of the month, and 11 to 2 on Sunday. Closing time on the last Saturday of the month is 8 p.m. Philosophers' Coffeehouse is open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 9 to 5 on the first four Saturdays of the month, and 9 to 2 on Sunday. Closing time on the last Saturday of the month is 8 p.m.

--River's Edge: In October, River's Edge will be open from 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, 5 to 10 on Friday, noon to 10 on Saturday, and 12 to 8 on Sunday.

--Rivertown Restaurant: An outdoor bratwurst stand will be set up adjacent to the restaurant on festival weekends. Hours may vary depending on the weather. Restaurant hours remain unchanged during October. Special menus will be used on festival weekends that offer additional German items.

--Sharp Corner Tavern: Business as usual.

--Vintage Restaurant at Stone Hill Winery: Restaurant hours on festival weekends are from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Friday, 11 to 10 on Saturday, and 11 to 8:30 on Sunday. Regular hours of operation remain the same Monday through Thursday and the last weekend in October. On the first four Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the restaurant will have a limited, all-day menu featuring German specials such as schnitzel, sauerbraten, bratwurst and smoked sausage. Walk-in guests are welcome anytime and will be served on a first-come, first-served basis. Reservations will be accepted after 5 p.m. on Octoberfest weekends.

Wineries and Breweries

--Adam Puchta Winery: There will be no change in winery hours, but guests can expect two first-time happenings--on Octoberfest weekends, food will be offered in the wine cellar, and all month, wine tasting will be held in the barn, one of the winery's original structures where the wine making was done during the 1800s.

--Bauernhof Brewery: Business as usual.

--Bias Winery and Gruhlke's Microbrewery: Winery hours remain the same during October. There will be live entertainment on festival weekends. Bratwurst with kraut and cheese and sausage will be available all four Octoberfest weekends. Buses are welcome at the winery.

--Bommarito Estate Almond Tree Winery: The winery is open every day in October from noon until 6 p.m. The Wine Country Gourmet will be serving food each weekend in October. Menus are listed on the winery's website.

--Hermann Brewing Company: A Beer Garden will operate all four weekends of Octoberfest (weather permitting). The brewmaster will tap his own authentic Oktoberfest lager for the festival, along with his German-style Kolsch ale. Hours are from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays during festival weekends.

--Hermannhof Winery: The winery is open during their regular hours of operation in October. There will be live German music by Solo Richie on the patio at the winery from 11 to 5:30 all five weekends in October. Brats, potato pancakes, and German potato salad will be available for sale. The Festhalle will be open all five Saturdays. The featured musician will be Ed Morris, who will play from 11:30 to 6:30 the first, second and fifth Saturdays. On October 16 and 23, Ed Morris will play from 11:30 to 3 p.m. followed by the Loehnig German Band from 3 to 6:30.

--OakGlenn Vineyards and Winery: There is live entertainment from noon to 6 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday in October. Ending time on October 24 is 5 p.m. The cover charge in Saturdays is $2.50. A listing of the entertainment schedule is available on the winery's website.

--Robller Vineyard: The winery features a traditional German festival--with a twist--the first four weekends in October. Each weekend there will be live music and barbeque from 1 to 5 p.m. Check the website for a listing of the entertainment. Winery hours remain the same in October.

--Stone Hill Winery: It will be business as usual at the winery. On the first four weekends, tours of the cellars, followed by a wine tasting, will be given from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Saturdays and from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Sundays. Closing times will change on the last weekend of the month. Check the website, or call the winery at 800-909-WINE for additional information.

Bringing in the grapes
This year's grape harvest is nearing its end. Local winemakers have reported that it has been an exceptional year for growing grapes and that the harvest is plentiful. By mid-October, all grapes will be harvested, the last of which is the Norton for most of the local wineries.

Here's what a few Hermann winemakers have to say about this year's harvest. Carolyn and Glenn Warnebold, owners of OakGlenn Vineyards and Winery, tell us they harvested their Chardonel grapes on September 9, and the grapes were plentiful in spite of some fruit damage from the birds. They attribute this to the grapes being left on the vine about two weeks longer than in years past. The Vidal crop, which was harvested the last week in September, also was plentiful. The Norton will be harvested in October, explains Carolyn, because they are waiting for the sugar (brix) to be high and the acids and PH in balance. "Everything seems to be about two weeks behind previous years, which is attributed to the cooler, wet spring and summer. These final dry, sunny days will enhance the fruit still on the vine," says Carolyn.

Paul Leroy, general manager at Hermannhof Winery, says, "Knock on wood, the harvest has been a picnic. It went very smooth and everything went well." The early varietals were picked ahead of the rainstorms the area encountered in late August. The mid to late varietals had plenty of time to dry on the vine yielding a tonnage that was up 10-15 percent over last year. The Nortons will be picked in early October. There appears to have been minimal rot, which Paul says is due to his crew doing a good job with disease control. "We look forward to some very good wines this year," says Paul.

Jon Held, general manager at Stone Hill Winery, concurs with his fellow winemakers. He reports having high quality grapes and a very large harvest. "The incredible weather in September helped sugar development. The grapes have a very high sugar content this year."

"Yields are up this year. There's a lot of grapes out there," says Tim Puchta, owner of Adam Puchta Winery. Because of the abundance of juice, Tim reports that he had to purchase additional tanks. The early ripening grapes like the Vignoles did not fare as well as others because of the rain. "We're bringing in some great Vidal and Vivant," says Tim of his late September harvest. And, the Norton is looking okay. They are due to be harvested in early October.

Our Norton grapes at Hermann Hill Vineyard and Inn are looking good. We will be picking them the first two weeks in October. The sugar content is high and the yield is expected to be good.

All this is good news for wine drinkers.


November newsletter:
Reviewing our journals: What our guests have to say about us.


Hermann Hill Vineyard and Inn

711 Wein Street - P.O. Box 555
Hermann, Missouri (MO) 65041
Phone: (573) 486-HILL (573-486-4455)  |  Fax: (573) 486-5373
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