By Rachel Kiser
When customers buy Indian Creek wine, they are buying more than a sweet white or a dry red; they are buying history.
John and the late Sheila Osbourne began Indian Creek Winery in 2005 in Monroe City, about 20 minutes west of Hannibal. It was Sheila who decided to open Indian Creek Winery. She already had a catering business and bakery, so she had the skill set for running her own business. She had also worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This, along with a background in chemistry, meant running a winery would be a natural fit.
In March of 2010, John and Sheila purchased 30 acres of the former Robey property, a property with history to spare. The Robey Home was to become Indian Creek Winery’s tasting room, and they had plans to use the barn as the winery. Though it’s unknown when the Robey Home was built, the Monroe City News reported on November 20, 1917, that the large 12-room brick home belonging to owner W.R.P. Jackson of Monroe City caught fi re, destroying most of the home’s second floor. The Jackson= family rebuilt the home sometime after.
In 1928, the Jackson estate was sold at a sheriff’s sale on the steps of the Monroe City courthouse to John D. Robey, co-founder of a prominent lumber company. The home passed through several hands of the Robey family before the Osbournes purchased it in 2010.
Today, the Robey Home is a quaint, warm tasting room for Indian Creek Winery, with colorful rugs on wooden floors and a brick fireplace. The winery’s property is equally appealing, with a red barn, small windmill, and a delightful country setting.
And although Sheila passed away in 2011, her legacy lives on through the community built around Indian Creek Winery.
“Our winery is a winery that’s local to the community, and if you're looking for a winery that has its roots in the Missouri heartland, that’s what we offer,” says Geoffrey Preckshot, sales and business director.
Indian Creek Winery finds ways to stand apart. Take, for instance, its custom-made bottles. Though the majority of the winery’s products are served in the traditional longneck bottle, some offerings come in other shapes. There is both a Christmas tree bottle around the holidays and a heart-shaped bottle around Valentine’s Day. The winery’s Pirate’s Gold is offered in a bottle in the shape of a pirate ship.
Although Indian Creek offers a variety of tastes and bottles throughout the year, it also has its flagship wines, such as four fruit wines—blackberry, strawberry, sweet cherry, and peach—a Norton, and a Riesling. And two years ago, the winery won first place in the Governor’s Cup for its Vignoles.
The property Indian Creek sits on has come a long way since the Robey family cultivated the farmland, but it is still richly tied to the Monroe City and Hannibal experience, Geoffrey says. To make a weekend out of visiting the winery, he suggests spending time in the nearby river town, exploring Mark Twain’s Boyhood Home, the Mark Twain Cave, or a boat ride down the Mississippi.
Afterward, a bottle of Indian Creek wine will be waiting.
This story originally ran in the October 2012 issue of Missouri Life. For more stories likes this, subscribe to Missouri Life.