Tasting Notes: The Story of Lavender Crest Winery in the Quad Cities

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Mixed Notes: Reflections on the Lavender Crest Winery Experience

Lavender Crest Winery in Colona, Illinois, is a good spot to savor lunch and a glass of wine. However, following my visit, I’m left pondering the winery’s legitimacy. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the wine flight I ordered—it was pretty good. And we discovered a bottle that suited both our palates. The problem occurred when our server seemed less versed in the wines and couldn’t answer any of our questions. She took our order, handed it to the bartender, and left us to our own devices. Having had such a delightful time at Old Oaks Winery in Milan last week, we decided to explore another local winery. While the overall experience wasn’t negative, Lavender Crest Winery didn’t meet my expectations.

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The History of Lavender Crest Winery

Lavender Crest Winery had been in business for 11 years before being purchased by the Belshause Family. Lavender Crest Winery’s offerings include on-site wine production, a lunch-serving wine-tasting room, specialty chocolates, a large gift shop, and an expansive special events and wedding reception center. Renowned for its popular all-you-can-eat prime rib wine-downs, the winery adds an extra layer of enjoyment with live musical performances.

The Vineyards at Lavender Crest Winery

Backroad Vineyard

According to their website, most of their grapes are produced at the family’s Backroad Vineyard in Orion, Illinois. Once dominated by rolling hills and cornfields, the vineyard has been transformed into a country vineyard. Purchased in 2009, it has grown from one acre to more than three acres in size. Lavender Crest Winery grows La Crescent and Frontenac- both are cold-weather grapes growing all over the Midwest.

Lavender Crest Vineyard

I believe the vineyard at Lavender Crest Vineyard does not produce much wine. It doesn’t make it any less beautiful. Reserve using the link if you’d like to tour the vineyard, gardens, and production facility at Lavender Crest wine tour for $5 per person, followed by a wine tasting. Or grab a glass of wine and walk around the grounds and large gazebo on your own.

Tasting Room Experience

The winery currently serves eight red wines, six white wines, four specialty fruit wines, one blush and one dessert wine, and four specialty fruit wines. Unlike the Old Oaks Winery, Lavender Crest Winery offers wine flights. You can choose seven (7) wines from the wine categories above.

Despite my efforts to select a variety of flavors, I noticed that most of the wines tended to be on the sweet side. We settled on a semi-sweet red wine made from locally grown Marquette and Frontenac grapes at Backroad Vineyard. As mentioned earlier, the only information I had to guide our choice was the tasting notes. Unfortunately, this could challenge novice wine lovers trying to find something they genuinely enjoy.

The decor in the tasting room is straightforward, lacking a stylish flair, but open with high ceilings. Tables vary between four and two-tops, with additional seating available at the bar. The large events venue offers diverse seating arrangements, including cozy nooks and sizable conference-style tables. On the back patio, covered seating provides a scenic view of the vineyard. The tasting room is open from 11 am to 5 pm daily.

Culinary Pairings

Lavender Crest Winery offers a wide-ranging lunch menu featuring wraps, salads, paninis, soups, and desserts. We opted for a Reuben and a turkey cranberry sandwich, both accompanied by a side of chips. The waitress impressed us by promptly refilling the chips at no extra cost. However, our experience took a downturn when we inquired about a military discount. Although she initially acknowledged the discount and left to process the check, she returned less than a minute later without applying the discount. Despite her apology for the oversight, she mentioned she could not rectify her error. Even though the discount wasn’t huge, it still left a sour grape taste in our mouth.

Conclusion

To sum up, Lavender Crest Winery in Colona, Illinois, is a pleasant destination for lunch and wine. The open tasting room provides a light lunch menu and a variety of wines that tend to be on the sweeter side. The winery encourages exploration of its grounds, offering a unique wine experience in the Quad Cities. Despite failing to fully meet expectations, Lavender Crest remains a noteworthy stop for those seeking a distinctive wine outing.

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