Have you ever dreamed of living in a home that’s adjacent to a vineyard and working winery?
But have the multi-million-dollar prices in the Napa Valley virtually guaranteed that your dream will never become a reality?
Tom Swarthout, a Chicago area developer, may have the solution. He’s planning to develop just under three dozen homes on land in Lake Forest, Ill., north of Chicago, and to transform an old stable and caretaker’s lodge on the property into a working winery.
The homes won’t be cheap – most likely priced from the highs $700,000s to no more than $2.5 million – but they would be within the price range of more people than most homes in Napa.
English cottage architecture is what Swarthout envisions for the homes, which would range in size from 3,000 to 4,000 square feet. A vintner already has been lined up, and Swarthout is convinced that winegrapes could be grown successfully in the sometimes-harsh climate.
“People say, ‘You can really grow wine in Illinois?’ It’s certainly a challenge to educate the world,” he told the Chicago Tribune. “Will it be on the cover of Wine Spectator? Probably not. It’s not an $80 bottle from Napa, but it’s a $25 bottle.”
Association dues would finance the winemaking operation at what Swarthout is calling White Stable Vineyard, and he added that homeowners would be involved in selecting the grape varieties and blending the wines. Each owner also would receive 50 cases of wine each vintage, assuming Mother Nature cooperates.