Mary Michelle Winery
At Pere Marquette Lodge & Conference Center
Illinois Route 100 – The Great River Road –
A National Scenic Byway
13653 Lodge Boulevard
Grafton, IL 62037
Phone: (618) 786-2331
Location, Arrival, and Lodging:
Mary Michelle Winery is located in the Pere Marquette Lodge in Grafton, IL. The lodge is easily accessed from the Great River Road (Rt. 100) through Grafton about 5 miles northwest, which is about 45 minutes north of St. Louis.
Wow!! It’s almost like driving back in time…. the drive is very peaceful and beautiful I think a drive just to check out the fall colors is worth it, then the wine is a bonus!!! Who knew there would be a winery inside a park?? The park is huge and offers so much!!! There are several lodging options, recreational areas, pavilions for events, for special occasions, family reunions, weddings, etc. The main lodge itself is huge and was built in the 1930’s by prison labor. The park has hosted weddings from all over the world, as well as family reunions, business meetings and so on. They had very nice large and clean restrooms which I always appreciate.
Food & Stuff:
Angela, the bar manager, recommended the lodge’s restaurant for lunch so that’s what we did. The food was like they stole grandma and had her make it. The food was priced mostly in the teens and well proportioned. Service was very good and timely. I’m not usually a lodge restaurant type person but I was pleasantly surprised with this one. Along with serving the Mary Michelle and Illinois Cellar wines they had a large selection of wines from all over the world available. The winery offered five appetizers which came from Pere Marquette’s Restaurant. You can pick up some chocolate or sweets on your way in or out of the main lodge, a perfect addition to any wine trip if you ask me??
Staff & Tasting:
Angela was very helpful, knowledgeable and friendly. She was happy to make some recommendations which is helpful. You can sample all the wines except the ice wine which is only sold by the bottle. I’m not a big ice wine drinker so I passed on that. Angela did keep us hydrated with plenty of water as we requested and let us take some fun photos of us goofing off in the winery. It’s always nice to encounter such pleasant people!
Chrissy’s Crushes: the Mary Michelle Wines
Chrissy’s Score: Four GRAPES!!
Winery, Wines, and Wine Club:
The Midwest Winery Gals really enjoyed visiting the Pere MarquetteLodge area and the Mary Michelle Winery. It has a quaint little area that is clean & cozy as well as an outdoor seating area to enjoy a glass of wine while enjoying the weather. Although there were no vineyards to admire you didn’t miss them because of all the other beautiful, nature scenes to enjoy!! The vineyards are located in Carrolton, IL which does not have open hours, but they allow tours one day a year. The manager behind the bar wasn’t sure when that was though.
Mary Michelle offers a wine club as well for a one-time fee of $20 and you get a lifetime membership with complimentary wine tastings, 10% off case of wine, 10% off dining room and gift shop and 10% off rack rate at Pere Marquette Lodge and accommodations, 1 free Pere Marquette Lodge wine glass, free appetizers at every wine club get together, and a special price for wine dinners. WOW! What a deal!
The owner chose the winery name by his Mother, Mary and his wife, Michelle. To distinguish between the different fermentations processes, Mary Michelle labeled their wines differently. Illinois Cellars represents wines fermented in stainless steel tanks and Mary Michelle wines were fermented in French American Oak barrels. Why is this important? This will change the flavor of the wine. When aged in an oak barrel you get more vanilla and buttery tones to a wine.
Wine tasting cost: $2 for 4 tastings
Glass cost: $6
Bottled Wine: $15 – $18 a bottle
Ice Wine: $30
2008 Mary Michelle Chardonel – 13.5% alcohol, $18 bottle
Crisp, light bodied, with a granny smith apple tartness to it.
2008 Illinois Cellars Unoaked Chardonel – 12% alcohol, $18 bottle
Medium bodied, mild taste, light
Apple Wine – Bavarian Style – 11% alcohol, $15 bottle
Light bodied, smooth, apple tartness yet sweeter, reminds Chrissy of a Riesling.
Velvet Wine -12% alcohol, $15 bottle
Niagra Grape, heavy bodied, orange, crisp, fruity, sweet white wine.
Velvet Rose –12.5% alcohol, sweet rose wine, blush in color, light floral fragrance, smooth strawberry but with that strawberry bite at the end.
2010 Mary Michelle Norton – 12.5% alcohol, $18 bottle
Vanilla notes, leather smell, juicy almost like Welch’s grape juice , lightly oaked, light on the tannins.
2008 Illinois Cellars Norton– 13.5% alcohol, $18 bottle
Greene County Vintage, very crisp and spicy
They also offered a sweet red, Velvet Red (11.5% alcohol).
Lynn’s Wins: Mary Michelle Chardonel – I enjoyed the tartness because it gave the wine a flavorful taste more so than the unoaked chardonel. Score: 3 glasses (out of 5)