The new Weingarten owners are looking to expand their business and their first step could be bottling the venue’s popular pink punch.
The Belleville winery was recently purchased by Tyler and Grace Vitale along with Tyler’s brother, Clayton Vitale. They said they want to see the winery grow.
They believe bottling the strawberry sangria could be the first big step.
“We’ve had such a popular reaction to that particular product,” Tyler Vitale said. “We want to find a home for it outside The Weingarten. We want to be able to package it in bottles.”
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That move would widen the winery’s reach and possibly bring in enough revenue to pay for improvements on the property.
Tyler Vitale and his wife, Grace, fell in love with the winery right away. They left jobs in Denver and moved to St. Louis to purchase the property from Shannon and Jeff Gastreich and Kevin Bollman.
Tyler Vitale grew up in the St. Louis area, but Belleville is new territory for the couple.
“We traded the mountains for cornfields, but it’s pretty awesome” Vitale said. “We have a lot of support.”
For now, the couple plans to leave much of what regulars love about the space the same. Wine will continue to come from their vendor in Grafton and the menu won’t change.
Customers who visit this season won’t notice immediate changes. At this point, the trio is focused on updating the destination’s website, freshening up the logo and new gift cards on plastic, instead of paper.
“We’re not a bar. We want guests to come here and enjoy their time on a beautiful piece of property,” Tyler Vitale said. “And enjoy the experience. That’s what we like to provide.”
The Weingarten has become a popular destination for social gatherings. From weddings and bridal showers to birthday parties and corporate events, the space can be easily transformed. In the future, Vitale wants to take a look at improving the kitchen space, which would allow the venue to accommodate more guests.
The wine destination was remodeled and expanded in 2015. After a tornado damaged the outdoor lounge area three years ago, the venue added three outdoor lounges and a new indoor tasting room.
It opened in 2010 in a country setting off Illinois 15, where consumers enjoy wine and beer tasting as well as foods like flat bread pizza and salad.
The Weingarten is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call 618-257-9463 or visit theweingarten.com.