Excelsior Citizen

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Four Horses and a Dog Find a New Home at Shamrock Hills Winery

Last Updated on January 16, 2023 by S Jason Cole

Jeanine and Stephen Stubbs, Michael and Cheryl Jennings, and Mike and Denise Riley (photo Courtney Cole).

The owners of Four Horses and a Dog Winery, Michael and Cheryl Jennings and Stephen and Jeanine Stubbs have built a thriving business over the past decade. Now they’re ready to pass on their success to their friends and new business partners, Mike and Denise Riley, owners of Shamrock Hills Vineyards & Winery and Shamrock Ranch Event Venue. 

The Jennings and Stubbs, who started their business around 2011, said they’d been considering a change of plans for a little over a year when they met the Rileys at one of their trolley wine tastings. Denise said, “The other people on the tour were ready to drink wine, but Mike was asking all these questions.” Stephen laughed, “He was secret shopping.” 

A popular destination for events, the tasting room at 4 Horses and a Dog Winery will be missed (photo 08/2022 S Jason Cole).

The Rileys said they had a plan in mind to grow grapes and eventually start a winery but it has now been accelerated by forming a partnership with Four Horses and a Dog. Their original plan was to start on their property but after talking to Stephen, their ideas began to change. “Selling grapes, you’ll get a little money, sure. But you get more satisfaction in turning those grapes into wine and meeting nice people,” said Stephen. 

“Everything about this plan is a win, win, win!” said Cheryl. The Rileys will purchase grapes from Four Horses and a Dog and continue producing the same wines with the Four Horses and a Dog labels. They will also begin growing their own grapes with new varieties, which will be produced and labeled under the Shamrock Hills name.

Michael and Cheryl Jennings (photo Courtney Cole).

The Rileys will bring over the entire staff of the tasting room at Four Horses to their new tasting room at Shamrock Hills. “And as you know, we have the best staff, which means that they’ll have the best staff,” said Stephen.

If the facilities at Shamrock Ranch Event Venue are any indication, Shamrock Hills Vineyard & Winery will undoubtedly wow its visitors. Mike and Denise have spared no expense in making their property a special destination.

Jeanine and Stephen Stubbs (photo Courtney Cole).

Michael said they were also motivated to help the Rileys start quickly so that they could ensure that there would be multiple wineries in the area. “It’s important to have at least three wineries to make it a destination for wine drinkers and continue to help make it a draw for the city,” he said.

The Stubbs and Jennings will still be involved in helping to maintain the vineyards and produce their wines, all the while teaching Mike and Denise all they know. 

Mike and Denise Riley (photo Courtney Cole).

Both the Jennings and Stubbs said they’re looking forward to a little more free time to travel, and the Stubbs, who live on the Four Horses and a Dog property said they’re looking forward to reclaiming a little bit of privacy on the weekends.

The plan is for the tasting room at Four Horses and a Dog (15010 Salem Rd, Excelsior Springs) to stay open through March 2023, and on April 1, 2023, everything will shift to the tasting room at Shamrock Hills Winery (12300 Shoemaker Rd, Excelsior Springs), 12 years to the day from when Four Horses and a Dog first opened their doors. 


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