Bear Creek Wine Company at Walnut Shade is Definitely Off the Beaten Path Southwest Missouri


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WTo avoid any pretentious reputation, Bear Creek Wine Company at Walnut Shade prides itself on being laid back and fun for its customers.

Manager Amanda Bonzer noted that Bear Creek stands out because it is off the beaten track, comfortable and not “stuffy”.

Bear Creek fits into the idyllic Ozark environment that surrounds it. One can expect beautiful scenery, as well as rustic buildings and furnishings to complement its surroundings.

Starting 20 years ago with a cabin and a lodge suite, Bear Creek has since grown to five cabins, three lodge suites, two chapels, a tasting room, wine huts, a cellar and a brewery. Live music can also be heard from Thursday to Sunday evening.

The tasting room offers customers a large space to try the wines of Bear Creek, decorated from top to bottom in rustic ornamentation. It maintains an Ozark feel even inside with large windows to see the view outside. Here, customers can order wine, beer and food.

Bear Creek offers 12 different wines, all grown and made in Missouri. There are nine different grape wines, such as Whitetail, a white wine made from a blend of Vignoles and Traminette grapes.

While the grape wines are bottled about three hours from the lodge, the fruit wines are made on site. In total, there are three different fruit wines, including Peach Fuzz, a peach wine with citrus and cider notes.

Besides breakfast, the cellar offers aperitifs, pizzas and desserts. Some appetizers on offer at Bear Creek include the kitchen sink, a charcuterie platter of crackers with different cheeses, meats and other toppings, and the campfire crisps, pot-baked crisps topped with a white horseradish and blue cheese sauce, bacon and marinated red onion.

The pizzas, all 16 inches in size, include a variety of toppings, like White Trash, a pizza topped with three different cheeses, white Alfredo sauce, Italian herbs, bacon, baby spinach, red onions and chicken .

For dessert, Bear Creek offers cream pie, layered cake, tiramisu, and the Tornado Warning, a funnel cake infused with rhubarb wine and topped with strawberries, powdered sugar, and whipped cream.

Accommodation at Bear Creek has the same homely feel as the rest of the location. The units are each decorated differently, with themes of the nature surrounding them. There are three suites to choose from, all connected to the main lodge. The largest, the Bear’s Den, has its own porch.

There are also five cabins at Bear Creek, and one is a duplex with two units available. Some of the lodge’s amenities include private hot tubs for each unit, full kitchens in most units, wifi in the lodge and tasting room, as well as a seasonal swimming pool. Free breakfast is served on weekdays in the main lodge and on weekends in the tasting room.

Guests can expect to pay between $ 169 and $ 189 for two at the lodge depending on the unit and the season, with an additional $ 20 per person not exceeding the maximum for each cabin or suite.

Although Bear Creek has been around for 20 years, Bonzer stressed that like the rest of the lodge, the future is flexible and based on guest wishes.

“There really is no plan, rhyme or reason; we just listen to our customers and keep building, creating and just having fun, ”Bonzer said.

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