Everyone always wants to know where the newest wine bar is or my favorite hidden gem when I am looking for a glass of local wine. I have some spots but who would have thought a random trip to celebrate Sparkling Wine Day would uncover a brand new spot?
This year I convinced my husband that we had to celebrate Sparkling Wine Day at Illinois Sparkling Co. He knows that I come up with just about any excuse to visit Utica, Illinois. Easter, we should go to August Hill Winery for their adult Easter egg hunt, long weekend, we should go to Illinois River Winery for some live music. You get my point.
Imagine my surprise as we are walking to Illinois Sparkling Co. and see a new sign for a wine tasting spot. When we first looked from across the street it looked dark inside so we almost did not stop. I have never been more excited that I let my husband convince me that we had to go inside.
What awaited us inside was a wine bar covered in beautiful wood, wine from some of our favorite Illinois wineries and some local wine enthusiasts that were happy to share their passion.
Clarks Run Creek in Utica offers five tastings for $5, glasses of wine for $6 or bottles to be purchased. (I always start my wine outings with a tasting followed by a glass or two of wine.) If you do not know where to start then just let Paul Tidd guide your experience. He is knowledgeable about all types of wines and even surprised me with a couple wines I never thought I would like. The wine selection kept us sampling but Paul’s excitement for wine and tourism got us excited for what was coming next.
After you have a glass of wine poured venture upstairs to look at all the wine themed gifts for sale. They offer everything from wine themed home decor to wine cork holders. I think this might become my new go-to spot for bridal shower shopping. Grab a bottle of wine for the bride (maybe one extra for me) and some wine accessories. The part that excited me most about the upstairs was the fireplace. Right when I walked up I pictured myself enjoying a glass of wine in front of a roaring fire while watching the snow fall in the downtown area. This will be a great little getaway in the winter.
So next time you are planning your big trip to Starved Rock State Park or maybe on your way to Vintage Illinois Wine Festival stop in to see my new hidden gem, Clarks Run Creek. This is a spot that needs to be talked about and shared.
PS – If you do not know where to start on the wine tasting at Clarks Run Creek, my two suggestions are Mike’s favorite wine, Rapture from Spirit Knob Winery and my favorite, Black & Blue from Pheasant Hollow Winery.
Clarks Run Creek
143 Mill Street, Utica, IL
Please remember to drink responsibly. Must be 21 to consume alcohol in Illinois.