Harvest Hosts is one of the most unique membership options for RVers. This program allows members to camp at 4847+ across North America at a variety of potential businesses. These include farms, wineries, breweries, golf clubs, and more. This incredible camping experience offers travelers an off-the-beaten-path kind of experience that they are sure to never forget. One of our most unique Harvest Hosts locations is Cave Vineyard. Located in the rolling hills of Ste. Genevieve County, Missouri, this winery boasts a natural cave where guests can picnic and enjoy delicious wines. Continue on to learn all about the vineyard, its origins, its offerings, and what you can expect to find there.
Cave Vineyard is a family business started by fellow RVer in retirement. Marty and Mary Jo Strussione purchased their property in 1995, deeming it the perfect place to retire. However, soon after retiring, Marty realized that he needed something to keep him busy. He then planted seven acres of grapevines in 2000, followed by an additional seven acres of grapevines in 2001. After establishing the vineyard, the Strussiones began making wine. The Tasting Room has been open since 2004, and the final acre of grapes was planted in 2009. Since then, the business has grown into a family affair, with the Strussiones’ four daughters and three son-in-laws becoming involved. They hope to also pass the vineyard on to their grandsons one day.
The natural Saltpeter Cave is considered the highlight of the property. Its name is derived from its history of mining for saltpeter (gunpowder) in the 1700s. The cave is not used for storage, as it has rather inconsistent temperatures throughout the year. However, it is an excellent place to hang out and picnic with food and wine. It can comfortably seat 100 people, and it is typically cool in temperature, even on hot summer days.
The Business Today
Today, Cave Vineyard continues to thrive. The property’s elevation (650 feet) allows for cold air grape drainage and ensures that the plants can survive more extreme temperatures. They are also meticulous about the PH of the soil and the trellis system used for growing the grapes. All of these factors allow for the best possible Missouri wines.
At the vineyard, visitors can enjoy tours and both private and group tasting experiences. They offer a wide variety of wines, including four dry wines, two semi-dry wines, and five sweet and semi-sweet wines. When visiting the winery, be sure to try the biscotti with your wine. There are typically eight to twelve flavors available, and they are all made from grandma’s family recipe. They also offer a variety of local cheeses and meats, as well as handmade jewelry and artwork from local artists.
In addition to their delicious wines, they also offer two beers brewed by their sons-in-law, an IPA and a wheat beer. They also plan to open a distillery in the future, expanding the business to include brandy and whiskey offerings. When not making and serving drinks, the business is also a popular wedding and event venue. The cave itself is an excellent location, but they also host events in the brandy room or even outside. Be sure to call for more information about events.
When asked about the best part of running the winery, the owners replied, “Meeting all of our guests is quite enjoyable. However, there is nothing like the satisfaction of bringing in the harvest after a long year of tending to the vines and then turning the fruits of our labor into something for everyone to enjoy!” This passion is evident in their wines and in their property, and all those who visit can attest.
Becoming a Harvest Hosts Location
Cave Vineyard has been part of the Harvest Hosts program for several years. They always enjoy having Harvest Host guests and love to hear about their travels and upcoming travel plans. They ask that you try to come early in the day so you can enjoy the cave and tasting room before settling in for the evening. In addition to the cave and tasting room, Harvest Hosts guests also tend to enjoy the general beauty of the property, complete by the vineyards and the rolling hills, as well as the gazebo, and the balcony nearby the tasting room. This location has a few reservable spaces for RVs of any size, and pets are welcome.
Cave Vineyard is truly one of the most one-of-a-kind Harvest Hosts locations offered. The variety of drink offerings, overall beauty of the property, and cave itself make this an excellent place to visit, especially in the spring, summer, and fall months. Add this one to your list, and be sure to stop by next time you are passing through southeastern Missouri.
Have you visited Cave Winery? Did you enjoy your experience? Is there another host you would like to recommend for a feature? Please share in the comments below!
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