By Laura (Abernathy) Huffman
Peaceful Bend Winery’s iconic swiss styled chalet burned to the ground November 25, 2016. That might have been “game over” for some-but not for winemakers Clyde Gill & Katie Knott. The timing couldn’t have been much worse. The duo had already purchased their preferred Missouri grown grapes. Much of that crop was already being turned into delicious wines. The fire destroyed much of Peaceful Bend’s 2016 vintage. Just a week after the fire they announced their intention to rebuild.
Flash forward to October, 2017 and Gill & Knott have opened an interim wine tasting room in the shadow of the ongoing construction of the new Peaceful Bend Winery and tasting room. Live music has returned. St. Louis area singer/acoustic guitarist Lisa Jones, also known as Lisa 6 Strings will perform October 14th. Adam Yount entertains October 21st. Joshua Allen Burbey performs October 28th. Live music performances begin at 2:00 p.m. Wine is being savored on site. Visitors are squirreling away their favorite bottle for a special occasion at home. Missouri grapes picked during the 2017 harvest are being turned into delicious wines.
The new building has been framed and roofed. Sub-flooring has been laid and windows and doors installed. Knott breaks out into a grin when she offers me an informal tour of the work site. Although unfinished you can see, and feel, the couple’s vision. The tasting area is to the right as you enter the large room. A pair of doors that face the direction of the old winery will feature etched glass by a local artist. Knott envisions other decorative touches throughout the space crafted by local artists. The spacious room opens to a deck that overlooks a field. The view is a classic Ozarks scene- pleasing and peaceful. Someday, Knott hinted, that deck may overlook a small vineyard.
Peaceful Bend Winery owners Gill and Knott have ideas and plans on tap for their new facility when it opens. One of those plans is to pursue their brew license and begin offering a brown ale and a seasonal ale. Their beautiful venue will be available for private events and special dinners. Gill and Knott plan to have the new facility open to the public early in 2018. Check their website for updates.
For now, the only place to taste and purchase Peaceful Bend Winery’s vino is at the winery itself. This makes for the perfect excuse to take a road trip to the property. Peaceful Bend Winery is a part of the newly designated Meramec River Wine Trail that features eight wineries in Crawford & Phelps counties.
- Peaceful Bend Winery has walking trails that lead to the wine trail’s namesake river. Bring hiking boots, a camera, and your favorite bottle of Peaceful Bend wine for an outdoor experience. Call ahead for picnic basket availability.
- The area was named Peaceful Bend at the turn of the century by local fishermen. It has a reputation for trophy catches. The winery was named after this bend of the Meramec River bend in the early 1970’s.
- The winery names their wines after creeks and rivers that surround Steelville, Missouri. This tradition was started by the Arneson family in the 1970’s.
- All of Peaceful Bend Winery’s barrels are locally sourced and exclusively made at McGinnis Wood Products in Cuba, Missouri.
- Peaceful Bend Winery offers a digital cookbook of their favorite easy-to-cook dishes. The book includes a wine list with helpful pairing tips.
- Turn your road trip into a weekend getaway. Murphy’s Place cabins are just a mile and a half from Peaceful Bend Winery.
For further exploration discover Missouri’s Route 66 Gems: Saint James and Waynesville and Ozark Agriculture Museum at Maramec Spring Park.