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Shawnee Bluff Winery On the Niangua to Open in 2018

No more 'Casa de Loco': Shawnee Bluff owners plan to renovate and renew the historic site

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Shawnee Bluff Winery On the Niangua to Open in 2018

Raise a glass! The owners of Shawnee Bluff Winery—husband-and-wife team Barrett Elwyn and Gail Griswold—have rescued the historic Casa de Loco Winery property after foreclosure proceedings. They plan to restore, upgrade, and open in 2018 under the name, Shawnee Bluff Winery on the Niangua.

Gail Griswold at Shawnee Bluff Winery On The Niangua

Elwyn and Griswold were inspired to rescue the lodge with its unique history. Once home to St. Louis millionaire Hugo Urbauer, who used it to fish and hunt along the Niangua, the main lodge is built with stone hand-quarried on site. That alone is worth preserving, said Griswold, and one reason she values the property in spite of the work that must be done to restore it.

The husband and wife team currently own Shawnee Bluff Winery, now producing wine with grapes grown on its own soil at the Shawnee Bluff Vineyard. Both locations (the winery and the vineyard) also produce good times and lasting memories, hosting weddings and events. The Vineyard, just off Highway 54, is also home to concerts through the season. In 2017, the Oakridge Boys, Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers, and 38 Special drew crowds.

Through the year at the Winery on Bagnell Dam Boulevard, live music accompanies spectacular views of the Lake from high atop the bluff. Live Music At The Winery This Weekend. Guests find overnight lodging in one of the recently renovated rooms on the winery’s grounds, or for large groups, the winery directs guests to elegant accommodations nearby. 

When Missouri’s winter sets in, a warm fire glows in the tasting room at the winery. There groups gather to enjoy food and bar service as well as special events such as Paint the Town evenings.

From wine and food to live music, accommodations, and events, the new third location overlooking the Niangua River will offer the kind of experience visitors to Shawnee Bluff enjoy, plus river access for kayakers, overseen by River Monkey Kayaks. All customers can enjoy the three sites on a three-stop wine tour once the new property is open.

The Road to Shawnee Bluff Winery on the Niangua

Current plans call for a paved access road from the County’s road to the winery’s parking lot. The one-lane bridge will be widened and outdoor decks upgraded and reconfigured to become one cohesive deck, affording views of the river below and the Ozark hills beyond. The pergola in place will be reframed and painted.

Pergola at Shawnee Bluff Winery on the Niangua

The lodge and cottage interiors will need plaster and paint, but the original stone will still feature prominently inside and out. An engineer is consulting with the State’s Department of Natural Resources, Camden County’s Health Department, and the Fire Department to restore and improve the property.

Historic Buildings Have Tales To Tell at Shawnee Bluff Winery on the Niangua

A new sewer treatment plant sufficient to meet business is among the work that must be done, but the new owners do not see any of the projects ahead as obstacles. They expect to bring back the fine architectural elements of the building as well as the fine memories people have of this place in its past incarnations: now Shawnee Bluff Winery on the Niangua.

Owner Gail Griswold at Shawnee Bluff Winery on the Niangua
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