Joel was the mastermind behind all of the events you are about to see.  He's a quick mastermind too; I believe he planned all this within two days.  He wanted to treat me to a nice escape and congratulate me on passing prelims, so he told me to keep my weekend clear.  I had no idea what he was planning.

First, on Friday I left my class early and left my TA to proctor the exam my students were taking, and met Joel out in the parking lot.  We traveled to Missouri and went on the Hermann Wine Trail, one of many stops.  Hermann is a charming area, as it has quite a few German descendants and holds quite a wonderful Old Germany feeling to its historic setting. 
Visiting wineries is one of our favorite activities to do together.  We didn't drink much wine, just tasting and buying bottles we liked to bring home.

Winery #1:    Röbller Vineyard

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We bought a few bottles, and moved on to Winery #2:  Bommarito Estate
At this particular winery, we were able to have an extended chat with the co-vintner of the estate.  She was really friendly and gave us some helpful suggestions about sweeting wines.   I didn't take any pictures of the vineyard, but this was the sky above the fields (I couldn't help but blow out the sky in post-processing, the clouds were incredible looking):
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Winery #3:  Bias Vineyards
We stopped here and had a bite to eat as well, as Joel had packed quite the selection into the cooler:  sausage, three types of cheese, apples, crackers, chocolate.  There were some train tracks nearby that we had to cross over in order to leave the winery.
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Winery #4:  OakGlen Winery and Vineyards
This winery had an absolutely incredible view.
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Winery #5:  Hermannhof Vineyards
This is a winery within the heart of the town of Hermann.  Their style is old world, and they even have a cheese and sausage shop attached to the tasting room.  Some photos of the tasting room and their quaint wine cellars:
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We traveled a short distance to Winery #6:  Adam Puchta
This winery had some seriously awesome wine.  Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures (I think I was more enamored with the wine).  Their tasting room, merchandise room, and outside seating were quaint and low-key, but their quality was amazing.

Then, we backtracked a little and went to Winery #7 (phew!):  Stone Hill Winery
Stone Hill has quite the interesting history, and they give tours every half hour of their extensive cellars. 
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With tired feet but happy hearts, we went to our next stop:  a bed and breakfast!
 


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