Ladoga Ridge Winery Review
Address: 100 E Pope Lane Smithville,Missouri 64089.
Phone Number: 816-866-4077
Tasting Hours: See website for wine tasting details.
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
Review Date: 4/9/2016
Reviewer: Mark and Sonja
There are seven towns in the world named “Ladoga,” two in Russia and five in the United States. The two in Russia are located in Leningrad Oblast, and the five in the states being located in California, Indiana, Michigan, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. Ladoga is also the name of two lakes, the first being the largest lake in Europe, and the second a methane lake on Saturns moon, Titan. In this case, Ladoga is also the name of a series of deep, dense soils that drain well and are good for supporting various forms of flora, for example, grapevines.
If you didnt know any of that until now, youre in good company. I “googled” most of it for the purposes of introducing this piece, though I will confess that I was inspired to do so by the helpful, well-educated staff who served me during my visit to the Ladoga Ridge Winery that sits just north of Kansas City in the little hamlet of Smithville, Missouri. While many wineries eponymously bear the names of their founders and owners, Ladoga Ridge Winery pays a meaningful tribute to the soil that makes their industry possible.
My friend Brian and I pace half marathons together, and have for years. For non-runners, that means were the guys in bright colored shirts carrying the stick with a time on it, and if your goal is to run the race in that amount of time, then all you really have to do is keep up with us. We enjoy helping our fellow runners, and we enjoy celebrating a good run afterward. This past spring, we ran Rock the Parkway in Kansas City together as a first run of the season. Afterward (and after a shower) we hit up Woodyard BBQ for a rack of killer ribs, the Saturday special, and then struck out northward to Ladoga Ridge Winery. It was a short jaunt north from that part of KC, maybe thirty minutes or so, and upon arrival, we could tell it had been worth the little detour.
With the winery situated atop a hill, the vineyards roll down toward a lake. A winding trail led us to park beneath the welcome shade of a small stand of middle-aged deciduous trees. The entry, a massive, stained oak door housed within a stone arch and wall, added an almost European statement to the otherwise rural Missouri atmosphere. And inside, a small, elegant tasting room sat waiting as if for us. With plenty of seating in addition to standing room at the bar and a large stained glass fixture lighting most of the room from above, we bellied-up to sample the local product.
At Ladoga Ridge Winery, they offer a free tasting of any three of their wines, but after running 13.1 miles and in no hurry to get back on the road, Brian and I opted to pay for a larger selection of their award-winning wines. Both the reds and whites ranged from dry to sweet, in addition to an impressive collection of fruit wines. Many of the reds are spending significant time in oak, which by my estimation has improved them significantly. In addition, Ladoga Ridge also offers “wine slushies” and beer for those with different tastes. By the end, Id tried 75% of the wines they presently offered. Of particular interest to me was a Blackberry wine that, in addition to being quite tasty, recently medaled at Finger Lakes, and the lone rose, a wine theyve titled “B Cause.”
B Cause is a rose wine made from Catawba grapes in honor of some friends of the proprietors who had breast cancer (their names began with “B”), and a portion of the proceeds from the wine are donated in various ways to the fight against the disease. Lush and fairly sweet, it was a refreshing wine to imbibe after a long run, and a potent reminder to appreciate good health. In addition, Ladoga Ridge Winery hosts an annual breast cancer awareness event and fundraiser, which I hope to attend at some point. This time, however, I just bought a bottle of the rose to take home and share with my wife.
A rather new edition to the Missouri wine scene, Ladoga Ridge is an enjoyable place to spend an afternoon, whether youre unwinding after something as arduous as a half marathon or merely out for a casual weekend drive through the rolling hills of northwest Missouri. Open year round, Wednesday through Sunday, its a place Ill certainly visit again.