A private winery established in the fall of 2001 by Andy and Eileen Partak.
Rural Manhattan Township in Will County, Illinois.
Winery Bio and a Bit of
Our initial intention was to see if we could make an acceptable wine from fresh ingredients hand gathered locally. We were inspired by the many wild elderberry bushes growing on our land just waiting to be used for something. After some research, we were surprised to find that country wines could be made from just about any fruit, vegetable or herb that is produced in a home garden or orchard.
So in the Autumn of 2001 we gathered some elderberries and made our first batch of wine. The new (un-aged) wine we produced was strong and quite robust in flavor and drinkable (at least by our standards). So we decided to continue and try other types of wine.
Having produced a variety of wines and meads for two years, we decided that we would enter one of our wines, Oak Leaf Mead, in an amateur wine competition just to see if an independent panel of judges would agree that what we were producing was actually an acceptable wine. To our surprise, the wine was awarded a Bronze Ribbon. Things got pretty serious after that and winemaking became a major leisure time activity. We have purchased a wine press and a table top bottle corker and have planted grape vines on the property. The 2004 vintage will be producing over 200 bottles of wine. (Approximately 25% to 30% of the wine is intended to go into reserve to age for 5 to 10 years).
After three years of being involved in winemaking and talking to others with the same interest, we developed a philosophy that steers our activities. The wines we produce are primarily for our own enjoyment and so we are not fettered by standards and regulations. If we like what we produce, thatís good enough for us. It is not our intention to try to make a Merlot just like such and such or a Riesling like the one you can buy at the local liquor store. We want to produce something you canít buy commerciallyÖ like your grandmotherís special pecan pie or your uncleís secret spaghetti sauce. We donít apologize for our wines, they are strong, (15%-17% alcohol) and often quite robust in flavor. They are not intended for the fussy palate or necessarily drinking in large quantities. We would like to think our country wines stand somewhat to the side of traditional wines, but enjoyable, none the less.