I always like visiting wineries that provide a unique experience. Although this winery has many of the things that perk my attention, such as a rustic environment, family owned operation, and excellent wines, it is even more unique because it is new and located just outside my home town of Altamont, IL.
Barn & Bottle Winery is owned and operated by Andy and Melissa Voelker. With professional backgrounds in Emergency Medical Services and farming, this new venture provides an exciting future for the Voelkers. I say “new venture” but it started with the first plantings in the one acre vineyard in 2013 with the first harvest in 2016 producing 30 bottles. Since then production has continued to grow. The vines include Niagara, Concord, Traminette, and Chambourcin. Additional grapes have been sources from other vineyards in Illinois.
Construction of the winery’s lab started in 2019 and completed in 2021 when construction of the winery began. The doors opened in October 2022, and the Grand Opening was held over the weekend of March 3-5, 2023.
Barn & Bottle Winery has a spacious interior, as well as an outdoor patio area, with ample seating. This is a beautiful venue for parties, receptions, fundraisers, or just to enjoy live music and hang out with friends.
In addition to the wines, the winery has a selection of meat & cheese and charcuterie boards, pizzas, and other menu selections; along with some beer and sodas.
Now on to the wines! Tastings are available for $5 and include all of the wines on the menu. What a great way to promote the wines, but an even better way to let those new to wine find their liking, while letting experienced wine lovers step aside from their preferred varieties and styles.
As many of my readers know, one of my criteria for an exceptional winery visit is the interaction with the owners or staff. I truly enjoyed visiting with Melissa and finding out first hand about the winery and her family. Most impressive is the fact that all of the winery staff are required to work and learn all aspects of the vineyard and winery operations. This ensures a truly memorable experience for visitors.
On the day of my visit, my tasting included the wines in this menu. I must say, that seldom do I ever visit a winery and enjoy every wine, but this was an exception. Even the sweeter wines, which I typically do not prefer, were excellent. My purchase of bottles for the day were Post Oak (Chambourcin) and Sunset Rose (also Chambourcin).
I’m looking forward to future visits, and I’m sure I can convince my hometown friends to join me!