Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Celebrating Wine at the Decatur Celebration

The Decatur Celebration is known for its fabulous fair food, and musical acts.  But what drew me to the Celebration this year was the Wine Garden on Merchant Street.

This year’s Wine Garden was spread out along the newly renovated Merchant Street.  The area had six different wine vendors to try, and a “bistro” area to sit back and relax while sipping on your new favorite wine. 

Since JC and I are avid wine lovers, we hit up the Wine Garden first thing Friday night.  Patrons were required to buy tickets to taste wine and purchase glasses and bottles.  This caused a little hassle.  We had to exit the Wine Garden twice to get a few more tickets at the booth stationed just outside the wine area for our wine tasting, but it didn’t stop us from enjoying what the vendors had to offer.

"Bistro" in the Wine Garden.

One ticket (or one dollar) got you a sample of wine at each winery.  The samples were fairly generous in size, so JC and I decided to be a little frugal and share the samples.  We spread out our tickets, picking out about two wines at each vendor to try. 

Our first stop in the Wine Garden was at the Sleepy Creek Vineyard.  I had never heard of this winery before and was excited to try out their product.  We tried two semi-sweet wines, with our favorite being the “Bashful Ewe.”  Sleepy Creek Vineyard is in Fairmont, which is a town in between Danville and Champaign.  A unique thing about Sleepy Creek Vineyard, we learned, is that the owners have named some of their wines after special animals and things in their lives.

Alto Vineyards and Von Jakob Vineyards were the next vendors we stopped at.  JC and I had visited both of these wineries before, but it was nice to try some different wines that we sometimes miss when visiting.  Both Alto and Von Jakob have a few locations around the state.  I wrote about our experience staying at the Von Jakob bed and breakfast in the fall in an earlier blog post (I definitely recommend the winery and the b & b).

Lyn-Nita Vineyard was another vendor at the Wine Garden.  This winery is a fairly new establishment near Carbondale.  They had a few nice wines to offer as well.

Finally, Walnut Street Winery was our last stop.  We have visited this winery before as well, but I was able to try a few more wines during this experience.  The Blackberry wine was delicious, and tasted almost like an ice cream flavor.  Walnut Street Winery is located in Rochester, just outside of Springfield.  The wine bar in Rochester has a great Bocce Ball court, and the owners always provide new customers with tours through the building, showing how they make the wine.

I definitely recommend any wine lovers to stop by the Decatur Celebration Wine Garden if you have the chance.  It was a great way to enjoy the Celebration and Decatur. 

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