Turning 21

The other day, my oldest daughter, Rachel, turned 21. Now, Rachel was not actually a teenager anyway—other people might call her an old soul, but I say God somehow snuck a grandma into teenage clothes and sent her my way. I haven’t had to do much parenting for a while anyway. I teach, I guide, but it’s more like a mentoring program.

It seemed odd that this serious, practical, careful person could get pregnant, get married, drive a car, buy a car, smoke, vote, and join the military, but she couldn’t have a glass of wine with dinner. (Have you ever thought about the irony of a soldier sitting in Afghanistan, shooting and getting shot at, possibly dying for his country, but we can’t trust him to have a beer?)

arialHermann

So for her twenty-first birthday, we took her to a beautiful winery in Hermann, Missouri called the Stone Hill Winery. Hermann is a gorgeous part of the state—Missouri wine country with big rolling hills, covered in trees and grape vines marching down the hillsides in straight lines. When you drive down Hwy 100 through Hermann, you see beautiful old German buildings from the 1800s, housing museums, antique shops, bed and breakfasts, and bier hauses. The brick buildings are typical of this area of Missouri. But what pulls in a lot of visitors to this area is the multitude of wineries. Something about the terrain makes for great wine-making.

Hermann Photos
This photo of Hermann is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Hermann Photos
This photo of Hermann is courtesy of TripAdvisor

We went to Stone Hill so that Rachel could be officially carded for the first time. The Stone Hill winery has a special place in the history of Missouri wineries.  Established in 1847, it was at one point the second largest winery in the country before prohibition officers almost destroyed it during Prohibition. The vines were burned and most of the presses destroyed. Workers saved what they could by throwing apples in the presses and pretending to make cider. Huge arches in the cellars held enormous barrels that were hand engraved with the twelve apostles by a German artist. When Prohibition hit, the artist arranged to have the barrels sent to Germany until it was over, and they disappeared. Maybe they’re in another winery, maybe in a museum, who knows?

Stone Hill winery:

Hermann Photos
This photo of Hermann is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The restaurant:

Hermann Photos

This photo of Hermann is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The cellars were used for many years as a mushroom farm (the black stuff on the walls isn’t mold; it’s the marks left behind from the mushrooms). But it’s been back in business since 1965 and is beautiful. The winery offers tours of the winery’s cellars and wine tasting, and patrons can try out their favorites in the winery’s restaurant.

Hermann Photos
This photo of Hermann is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The restaurant is in the old stables, the stalls converted to booths.

Hermann Photos
This photo of Hermann is courtesy of TripAdvisor

She had a good time ordering her first glass of wine with dinner, and I bought her a bottle of the Vignoles to celebrate with later. If you’re in Missouri, try to fit in a day in Hermann, or better yet, stay in one of the beautiful bed and breakfasts. And if you’re turning 21 and want to do something nice instead of sloshing beer in a bar (yeah, she did that the next night — grandma or not, she’s still turning 21), head to Stone Hill for a free tasting and some great schnittzel.

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About alisaacarter

I am a writer of young adult novels, wife, mom of three, lover of animals, former magazine editor, reader of anything paranormal, and coffee fanatic.
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