Sunday we were up for doing something different. I was thinking about going to Bishop Hill for the Julmarknad celebration, since we missed it last weekend due to the snow. I checked the events listing on Peoria.com and saw another option I'd been wanting to check out, Willett's Winery & Cellar, was having a Christmas open house, so off to Manito we went.
We drove right by the location at 105 East Market Street when we first got into town, so we ended up driving around and taking a look at things before finding our way to the shop. We discovered a neat old jail house not far from Willett's.
The winery location, originally a harness shop in 1893, was mostly destroyed by fire in 1914.
Today there are warm wood floors with most of the former paint on them sanded down, then sealed, lending them nice character.
Placed throughout the tasting room were several nice pieces of antique furniture displaying wine wares and gift items.
In the middle of the room several small tables were scattered about, making for a nice cozy spot to sit and enjoy wine while visiting.
StfRon and I sampled a couple of their driest reds, and both ended up settling on a glass of the Leon Millet, which, though young tasting, was a very nice selection. Chef Kevin, who prepared hors d'oeuvres for the occasion, pointed out that if you let the wine breathe for a bit, the effervescent effect would disappear.
I tried a sample of the St. Croix, but found it too sweet for my taste.
Next, I sampled the Frontenac on Chef Kevin's recommendation, and found it to have faint hints of strawberry. It was cool and refreshing, so I ordered a glass. StfRon had a glass of Chardonnel.
To accompany our wines, we had several nice hors d'oeuvres, cheeses and crackers.
I found the bottles of wine at Willett's Winery to be quite affordable, $12.50 per bottle on our December visit.
This turned out to be a fun Sunday outing, and we'll definitely keep Willett's in mind for future visits. I'd like to check out their outdoor live music events, and they also have a murder mystery coming up in January I wish I could make, plus a Valentine's event on tap that sounds like a lot of fun.