Looking for something fun to do on a weekend afternoon? Head out to a country-side winery. We’ve got delightful ones here in Clinton County where you can taste wines— and enjoy snacks or nice meal too. And if you’re looking for that special place to have a wedding or event, you’ll find great facilities for these as well.
Beautiful rolling vineyards, a pretty lake view, waterfalls and wine! You can enjoy all these at Hidden Lake Winery & Banquet Center in Aviston. Nestled on a parcel of land known as the Silent Forest, Hidden Lake continues a tradition begun before prohibition when wineries flourished in the area. Using locally-grown grapes and fruits, the winery crafts an impressive array of wines, from dry to dessert, many of which have won awards. Several of note include the dry Vidal Blanc with flavors reminiscent of avocado and grapefruit; a semi-dry Double Decker Red with hints of raspberry and cherry; and Sugar Creek White, a sweet wine that features hints of green and golden Delicious apples. You can enjoy tastes of the different varieties and purchase bottles of wine to bring home.
If you’d like to sample the wine with food, snag a table at the winery’s Barrel Room Grill, the cozy Wine Cellar room or, in nicer weather, on the screened-in patio.
Tasty appetizers include Candied Apple Brie with crackers and Homemade Meatballs. There are also salads, sandwiches and house-made pizzas. The facility also has a banquet room for larger gatherings.
For a little German fun, head out to Hidden Lake Winery & Banquet Center on Sunday October 25, 2015 for Oktoberfest, a festive afternoon with bluegrass music, wine, beer and food.
Hidden Lake Winery & Banquet Center
10580 Wellen Road, Aviston
Monday – Wednesday, 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Thursday – 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – Midnight
Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Please note: Hours between November and March may change; please call first.
Barrel Room Grill Hours:
Thursday, 12:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 12:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m.
Sunday, 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, October 25, 2015
2:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
At Bretz Wildlife Lodge & Winery, just north of Carlyle, you can enjoy wine as well as some tasty food. Originally conceived as a quaint winery and tasting room, the dream has expanded to include the attractive rustic lodge where you’ll see influences of South Africa, a favorite vacation spot of the owners. The wines produced at Bretz also carry African names and labels, such as Kalahari Sunset, a sweet red wine made from Concord grapes; or Sha-Lulu, a semi-dry white wine that’s name, meaning innocent, comes from an African language. Other reds include dry, full-flavored Safari Red and Passionate Cheetah, a sweet wine. White include semi-sweet Lion Eyes Riesling. The winery also makes non-grape wines with cherries, strawberries, apples and blackberries.
You can sample all nine different wines in the Kudu Room or at the new Docswana Sunset Bar, where there’s live music on weekends. The Lodge serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, and offers an extensive menu. Specialties include delicious pulled pork, baby-back ribs, and crisp fried fish. Buffet Brunch is served on Sundays.
Bretz Wildlife Lodge & Winery
154 State Route 127, Carlyle
Monday, 3:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday – Wednesday, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, 8:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 7:00 a.m. – 2:00 a.m.
Sunday, 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.; Breakfast buffet until 1:00 p.m.
Roundhouse Wine Company of Centralia uses locally grown grapes and other fruits to handcraft their selection of eight wines. Included in these is the aptly named Roundhouse Red, a medium-bodied, dry wine with berry aromas. Little Caboose Red has semi-sweet flavor as does the company’s Petticoat Blush. Apples enhance two of the whites, one dry, one semi-sweet. Relax on the patio with a glass of your favorite varietal and an order of assorted cheeses, crackers and grapes, a large soft pretzel or a thin-crust pizza.
Roundhouse has music on weekends and promotes fun theme nights. Next up is a Wine Country Throwdown with the Matt Poss Band on October 3 and Ladies Night Out on the 9th. Check the winery’s website to keep updated on all the events.
Roundhouse Wine Company
1938 Dogwood Lane, Centralia
Wednesdays – Thursday and Sunday, 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday, 11:00 a.m. – midnight
Wine Country Throwdown with Matt Poss Band
Saturday, October 3, 2015
Roundhouse Wine Company, Trestle Pavillion
Ladies Night Out
Friday, October 9, 2015
Roundhouse Wine Company Tasting Room
White picket fences and horses in pastures evoke the quiet country setting of Crooked Creek Winery. New owners, Shannon and Mindy Cooney, who moved from California a year ago, took over the winery in May, 2015. A 1.5-acre vineyard is just up the hill, and a big red barn serves as the tasting room. Crooked Creek currently sells eight varieties of wine, including dry, semi-sweet and sweet. Norton is a favorite—a medium to full-bodied wine that’s lightly oaked, with a black cherry/smoked meats aroma, earthy notes and a bright, dry finish.
The couple plans to partner with local growers so they can create more dry varieties using all Illinois grapes. Visitors can sample wines Saturday and Sunday afternoons, and at other times if they call first. You can also taste their wines at two upcoming 2015 events, Celebrate Centralia Festival on October 10 and the Harvest Festival at Hidden Lake Winery on November 8.
Crooked Creek Winery
24585 W. 10th Street Road, Centralia
Friday – Sunday, 12:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Come for a wine tour of Clinton County this aumumn!