It was just my mom and I on my birthday two weeks ago, so what on earth where we supposed to do, just the two of us, for the whole day? Everything seemed so overdone and cliche; movies? No. Bowling? Eh. Shopping? Not in the mood.
It was my dear mother (with a little help from Facebook) who brought up the idea of going to a wine tasting at the local winery her and my dad recently discovered. I had been wanting to go, so you bet I jumped at the chance!
Who knew we had a winery about 20 minutes into the country here in Caledonia, Illinois? Apparently not us until just recently.
McEachran Homestead Winery is officially recognized by the state of Illinois as a Sesquicentennial Farm, which means this particular piece of agricultural property has been owned by the same family for at least 150 years!
A little background behind McEachran Homestead Winery:
"The McEachran Homestead was settled in 1857 by John McEachran, the great-great-grandfather of Herbert Greenlee, the current 85 year old owner. John immigrated to northern Illinois from Scotland and settled in what was known then as the Argyle Scottish Settlement."
When first founded, the original farm had 160 acres of land. All these years later, the McEachran farm has now expanded to have 285 acres, two of which are dedicated to their beautiful vineyard which holds around 19 different varieties of grapes.
That's not even counting the other acres dedicated to the fruit they grow for their fruit-based wines and the corn and soybean that are their main crops!
I had never been here before so I really didn't know what to expect. From the outside, it looks like a huge country barn, but step through the doors to the inside, it's the coziest, quaintest little place you'd ever have the pleasure of being in!
One of the things that really caught me off guard is the fact that this was a two story building and I saw something I don't normally see: a chair lift. Not many people would pay much mind to it, but being handicapped myself a lot of the time, it really touched me that this piece of equipment was included.
My mom and I settled at a table and were waited on right away (one of the good things about a small place like this one). We quite enjoyed our waitress, too; she took such good care of us! We were informed of the history of the farm and winery, what their food specials were for the day, and of course the wine they had ;)
First order of business: wine tasting.
Currently McEachran has two wines currently, both of which we were able to have a wee sample of. The first one we tried was called Outer Space Red, which was made from the Mars variety of grapes, hence the creative name.
The second we tried was called Marquette which was a fruity rose wine.
Not only did we get to try some of the wine, but we also had some samples of their wine slushies in Autumn Red and Apple Cider.
All the wine and wine slushies were exceptionally fabulous by the way! When we ordered or meal, I chose a glass of the Outer Space Red because 1.) I loved it with a capital L and 2.) I figure it suited me with the name and all.
By the way, did you know that if you eat a cracker in between tasting different wines, it helps cleanse the palette so you can appreciate each wine to it's fullest potential? Neither did I!
Our food arrived and I quite enjoyed it! Of course both my mom and I just ate the pulled pork out of the sandwich, leaving the bread behind (oh, but it looked like such delicious bread...), but we thoughtfully enjoyed our lunch none the less.
Then, I not only got one birthday surprise, but two:
Firstly, this little gal affectionately named by the staff Callie, showed up to extend her birthday wishes.....
Poor little thing was just abandoned on their doorstep one day and hasn't left since! She was nothing but skin and bones when I went out to give her some lovin.' Sweetest, friendliest little girl though!
I would have scooped her up and taken her home if I could.
Secondly, I got a birthday treat....
BIRTHDAY CINNAMON ROLL! :)
This had to have been by far the best birthDAY I've had in awhile! Got to explore something new, learn a little about some local history, and tasted some delicious wines (a bottle of which came home with Moi as a birthday present).
I can't wait to go back! If you happen to be in or around the Caledonia, Illinois area, the McEachran Homestead Winery comes with a high recommendation from yours truly!