In 2002, Mark Wenzel, his wife Teri, and childhood friend Sean Ginocchio (who sold his interest in 2010) founded August Hill Winery on the hilltop land his grandfather August Engelhaupt had farmed, occasionally with Wenzel’s help. Located in Utica, Illinois, about 90 miles southwest of Chicago, in the ensuing years August Hill has expanded to include caves for aging wine, a tasting room, and a sparkling wine label called Illinois Sparkling Company.
Wenzel is both business partner and winemaker. Although he took a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida, he had always had an interest in wine and experimented making small batches through the years. Once he learned that, unlikely enough, northern Illinois was developing as a viable vineyard region, the Illinois countryside and his farm boy roots beckoned to him. After seven years as an engineer, Wenzel decided to add a new career and immersed himself in the details of grape-growing climates, varietals, and winemaking while still working in engineering for an additional seven years before he could turn to winemaking full-time. Along the way, he received hands-on experience and support from others in the winemaking industry, from both Illinois and California. When he began the sparkling wine program, he consulted with industry experts as well as an expert from France, with whom he continues to work.
Teri Wenzel is August Hill’s visual taste-maker. She’s the creative eye behind everything from the product packaging to the tasting room environment. Continue reading “August Hill Winery Berlyn NV”