|Winery takes pride in home-grown products|
|Written by Renee Changnon, Daily Vidette Features Editor|
|Tuesday, 01 May 2012 13:50|
Those looking for a relaxing atmosphere, beautiful country views, and a variety of different wines should look no further than White Oak Vineyards in Carlock, Ill.
When Rudi and Mary Hoffman relocated from Ebrach, Germany to Carlock in 1999, the couple decided they wanted to plant something different than the typical Central Illinois crops.
According to Mary, in 2003, they planted their first vines and today they have eight acres with several different varieties of grapes.
Although the couple have been producing wine since 2003, last year they purchased neighboring land with a log cabin that has been turned into the winery and tasting room opened to the public this past May.
What is unique about the vineyard and winery is that it is completely handled by Rudi and Mary, who spend time tending to the fields, harvesting, and bottling the wine, all while entertaining groups that come for tastings during the day.
“We could not pull off these events without our friends and family. When we first started, we didn’t think about doing a winery. It is a lot of work,” Mary said.
According to Mary, having her childhood friend take the ropes as far as helping with bigger events has been a great addition to their team.
Janet Crews, events coordinator for White Oak Vineyards, said that her main area will be in regards to events such as weddings and other parties people would like to host.
“I just started helping with one big wedding next June,” Crews said.
While Mary is an ISU alum, she encourages faculty and students 21 and older to come check out this peaceful retreat, but hopes that people realize the experience is something different than a wild club.
“Everyone is welcome but what has to be understood is that this is not a bar. We expect all of our guests to behave appropriately,” Mary said.
According to Mary, those who decide to take the fifteen-minute drive out to the winery will not be disappointed.
Those who venture out to White Oak Vineyards can affordably check out the winery, with wine tastings at $3 per person.
For anyone interested in purchasing a bottle of wine, they can be purchased from $14.50 to $16.50 at the most, which Mary explained was what they wanted to do.
“We want everyone to be able to afford good wine,” Mary said.
Although the winery is still in its early days, there is plenty to experience, and guests from around the world have come toWhite Oak Vineyards to taste the wine.
According to the company website, several events are scheduled from now through late September. Music in the Vineyard is every Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. In order to stay up to date on the events, those interested should search White Oaks Vineyard on their Facebook for more information.
“I think it’s good that students come out and experience something. It’s not just a place to come and drink. I think ISU students, faculty, and alum can enjoy coming out,” Mary said.
White Oak Vineyards is located at 8621 East 2100 North Road, Carlock, Ill., 61725 and is open Tuesday through Sunday, and closed on Mondays.