MARYVILLE - Angela and Steve Gorazd, owners of Bella Vista Winery in Maryville and Hidden Lake Winery in Aviston, had an exciting Friday evening. Angela, Steve, and son and grape grower Matt Gorazd and winemaker Cory Kunkle, were on hand to receive the Illinois State Governor's Cup Award for their wine Off-Duty.
The Illinois Grape Grower and Vitner Association (IGGVA) was present at Bella Vista Winery at 5:30 p.m. Friday to present the award. Several of their wines also won Double Gold awards. Illinois Gubernatorial Candidate Darren Bailey visited the Maryville location on Friday night.
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"Every year there are Illinois Grape Growers competitions throughout the state," she said. "We are a member of the association and usually do well. Winning the Governor's Cup Award is something we are quite proud of."
Steve Gorazd retired from his job after 30 years and Angela retired from her nurse practitioner role, and their hobbies were studying wines. The couple took wine classes in their spare time. They stumbled upon a winery for sale and decided to take a chance on the business.
"This is just something we fell in love with doing," Angela said. "We are kind of living the dream. It wasn't easy during the COVID-19 pandemic, but we are bouncing back. We put a lot of attention to wine quality and we explore and try new blends. We try to have something for everyone from very sweet wines, to dry and complex wines. We want to have something for every pallet."