Darrell and Tina Simmermaker are owners of the winery. After reading an article on grape production in the Iowa State “Vision” Alumni magazine, Darrell began planting grapes in 2006 on his Mother’s family farm with the help of his brother and both their families. While Darrell honed his skills at winemaking through classes and experience, the grape harvest was sold to local wineries.
After making the commute from Louisville, Kentucky, for five years, their family moved to central Illinois in 2011 to move forward on the winery.
During this time, Darrell continued to improve his winemaking, receiving medals from the Illinois State Fair Wine Competition over the last four years, and 2015, construction was completed on West of Wise Winery. Many people ask why “West of Wise” as a name. As most parents with teenage daughters will understand, the move from Louisville to Central Illinois during early college and high school years was not a big hit in our household. While our oldest daughter was “helping” to choose winery names, as only a sarcastic young adult can; she suggested we call it West of Wise Winery because it wasn’t the smartest thing we had ever done.
The name stuck and we have made it through the transition to our new home and now look forward to you joining us for a glass of Illinois wine.