Von Jakob Winery & Brewery

230 Hwy 127
Alto Pass, 62905
Reviews:
This is a must see stop for your wine trail tour in Southern Illinois. The staff was knowledgable on both their wines and house brewed beers. My travel partner and I enjoyed this place a lot. They are the first to grow Cabernet in So Ill. The cab was easily among the best I've ever had. Smooth, deep stone fruit flavors, hint of chocolate and tame, TAME tannins that made it a most enjoyable wine. Added suprise that makes them a must stop is the full kitchen service with food paired to wine or beer. My travel partner and I each had the Grape Vine smoked brisket...perfectly cooked, sweet smoke flavor, moist, house made BBQ sauce and an excellent slaw on the side paired with the Cab, IT was heaven on a plate. Absolutely plan on hitting this place at lunch while making the grand Shawnee Wine Trail.
Von Jakob is one of the weaker offerings on the So-IL Wine Trail. Nice view and space from the back porch, but the kudos end there. We stopped in on a weekday so the place was pretty dead, but the bar tender still seemed impatient as we read through the offerings of wine and beer before making a selection. I had the Dark Bock beer, which frankly is on of the less drinkable beers I have had in a long time, featuring a lumbering malt that destroys any sense of balance one would look for in a German Dunkle. The interior space is also pretty disappointing. I know this is an effort to convert an existing orchard building, but a LOT more could have been done with this opportunity to provide an amazing tasting experience. Instead the owner's chose to privilege the event space, leaving the casual wine trail user to drink in a windowless, over-sized room wrapped in dull materials with a strip of parking along the front off the highway (harsh as it sounds, the floor plan is EXACTLY that of a highway gentlemen's club--and that is a true fact). This is especially sad considering how wonderful Von Jakob's old vineyard location was, which offered an intimate deck and gorgeous views of their vineyards stretching over rolling hills. This new location offers ZERO interest and is not a place you'd want to spend any real time. Consistent with the thoughtless treatment of the space, the staff offer no actual tasting experience to walk you through their wines or explain the craft (just an annoyed bartender). There are definitely better experiences to be had along the wine trail.
This place was meant to be the German style Beer Garten/ brewery/restaurant. The band played very loud. They were actually good! People had a blast. It took a long time to get the bartenders attention. My server was great tho, juggling multiple tasks wtih some amazing efficiency. The menus were filthy from the liquor being spilled all over them, yes: my bartender wiped it out for me) Wines were ok. i hear good things of their beer. Order of pizza took forever (yes, they were busy.) By the time I finished, I really had to run, so I could not wait for my $3 for the glass. I dont care for the glass, I left it either way. I just don't think this was such a great idea. Nice deck, nice view. Also: the deck provides a nice alternative for the loud interior. I personally did not like it. But I would not discourage others from trying out this place.

(618) 893-4600

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