Get a Taste of Utica at August Hill Winery

Even when the vines are empty, August Hill Winery Tasting Room in Utica is serving up something new. Locally made wine and sparkling wine flow freely every week of the year.

August Hill’s 4-acre vineyard winery facility – owned by winemaker Mark Wenzel and his wife, Teri – is located 15 minutes away in Peru. But at the Utica tasting room, you can get a real taste for the town in one stop.

Every Tuesday and Friday, August Hill offers a special lunch catered by John and Rina’s, a favorite Utica restaurant.

“Chef Rina is really creative with the things she comes up with,” says Susanne Bullock, Wenzel’s sister and August Hill’s marketing manager. “It’s primarily a sandwich or wrap with a salad, soup or a side, then dessert – like a mini tart, chocolate mousse, something people can enjoy. It’s a special menu just for them.”

Lunch is served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., costs $20 a person and comes with a glass of wine from August Hill or a sparkling wine made by August Hill’s sister company, Illinois Sparkling Co.
Sundays are for “Bubbly Brunch for 2,” which is offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is catered by Nonie’s Bakery and Café, another Utica favorite.

Bubbly Brunch includes a bottle of ISC Brut or ISC Brut Ombré Rosé, plus a small carafe of orange juice for mimosas and two plates, all for $40. Each brunch includes three appetizers and a dessert.

Lunch or brunch reservations are required two days in advance.

If you can’t visit during the day, August Hill offers wine tastings throughout the day at its bar and lounge.

And if the weather is nice, a patio offers a place to enjoy a glass with perhaps a piece of Chuck’s Gourmet Cheese from Ottawa, or sweets from Cocoa Blue Chocolates in Rochester, Ill. – which is owned by a grade-school friend of Mark Wenzel.

“It’s important for us to partner with other local businesses,” Bullock says. “It’s a small community. I think we connect with like-minded people, people who are as passionate about what they do as we are about what we do.” ❚

August Hill Winery Tasting Room is located at 106 Mill St., Utica, (815) 667-5211,