by Nancy Stiles
St. Charles is about to get another winery, and we aren't complaining. Rack House West Winery will open this summer as a sort of outpost of the West Winery locations currently in Macon, Kirksville and Hannibal. Owners Bridgette and John Hamilton had always been fans of West Winery co-owner Chris West and always wanted to run a winery, too.
"We stopped in there to buy some wine and said, 'If we decided to open a winery, could we wholesale wine from you?'" Bridgette Hamilton tells us. "He said, 'Sure, do a business plan.' So we found this great location and decided to go ahead and start the process."
Hamilton says Rack West will serve its own wine, plus whiskey, scotch and bourbon. The building is actually a former beauty school, which she says is setup perfectly for a ventilated cigar lounge, a winemaking area and an outdoor patio.
There will also be a limited menu of appetizers, salads, cheese and sausage trays, paninis and flatbread pizzas. General manager Mark Barylski developed the menu, but the Hamiltons are still looking for an executive chef.
Hamilton says most of the walls will be a khaki brown with plum accents, while the cigar lounge will be olive green. There are also plans for a chalkboard wall so guests can leave messages about their favorite wines.
Right now they're hoping for a mid-July opening. "We want it to be something fun and interactive so people can come in and enjoy it." Follow updates on Rack House's Facebook page.
Gut Check is always hungry for tips and feedback. E-mail the author at Nancy.Stiles@RiverfrontTimes.com.
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