August Hill's vineyard stands atop a bluff on the south side of the Illinois River on the same property as our winery. The first 2½ acres of vines were planted in the spring of 2003 with the help of many family and friends. Each hole was dug by hand, and each vine was planted by hand.
The vineyard includes a wide variety of grapes and a large experimental section. As the grapes grow, we’ll determine which grow best in our climate and which make the best wine.
Darrell and Tina Simmermaker are owners of the winery. After reading an article on grape production in the Iowa State “Vision” Alumni magazine, Darrell began planting grapes in 2006 on his Mother’s family farm with the help of his brother and both their families. While Darrell honed his skills at winemaking through classes and experience, the grape harvest was sold to local wineries.
After making the commute from Louisville, Kentucky, for five years, their family moved to central Illinois in 2011 to move forward on the winery.
During this time, Darrell continued to improve his winemaking, receiving medals from the Illinois State Fair Wine Competition over the last four years, and 2015, construction was completed. on the West of Wise Winery.
After celebrating our 20th Anniversary in 2015, we began 2016 with over 500 International awards and titles to our credit. This small, family owned business, began in 1995 as the way for the brother and sister team of Dr. John Brewer and Merry Bauman to "make the family farm profitable".
Beginning with Elderberry Wines, we now have over 40 wines - made from fruits, berries, and some incredible grape varieties. Our Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Wine - just won Double Gold in an International competition.