Owner of Autumn Harvest Winery, Jean McIlquham, joined WEAU‘s Grill Week in honor of National Wine Day! She shared her simple wine paring tips for summer’s classic grilling favorites. McIlquham challenged WEAU to their wine pairing skills and apparently, they know their wine! Some of the key tips she shared were chicken goes great with a dry white wine, steak pairs with a dry red wine and shrimp pairs perfect with a sweet wine. As far as grilled desserts, grilled pineapple is a summer must and goes perfect with a sweet white wine.
If you have visited Autumn Harvest Winery and Orchard, chances are you have met Violet. Violet: the eight-year-old winery/orchard queen bee that will sell you on just about anything, bag it up, and give you your receipt and change. Although some are hesitant to hand over their twenty dollar bill, most customers are simply amazed at her professional manner, ability and the customer service she exudes. She always wins them over, especially when she smiles and says, “I love your shoes!” She makes everyone feel welcome.
She was born into the apple orchard business, like her dad. She will be the first to tell you that it is not always easy. Sitting in the shed next to a space heater on rainy days only to sell a peck of Honeycrisp can be tough. Spending every weekend at the business can get old, and boredom creeps in. But, it always amazes me how she overcomes it. On busy days in the tasting room, and even when we are bottling wine, she is a huge help and keeps us all smiling. Everyone agrees it’s just better when she is around. It’s not all hard work though – she cruises around on the four-wheeler and tractor, has access to all the goodies we sell, and is surrounded by the natural beauty 80 acres has to offer. All that fresh air has to do a kid good, right?
I think the best thing Violet has learned is how rewarding it is to support and spend time with family. She is aware how hard work can pay off, and I think it is embedded in her general way of thinking. The socializing and interactions she has encountered from a young age will no doubt prove priceless in the years to come. As her mother and “partner”, I continue to teach her but admittedly learn more from her than I ever thought possible. I am so proud of her each and every day. I hope that she always remembers the good times we have had at the orchard and her experiences have positively shaped her life, and will continue to facilitate the gifts God has given her.
We’re grateful to all of our loyal customers who have put us in the top three local winemakers in the Volume One Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll! We were recently featured in the April 19, 2017 issue of Volume One Magazine.
Known as the first winery to open in the Chippewa Valley in 2004, Autumn Harvest has grown over the years from making six wines to 13, and now they even bottle a hard cider. Using apples from their long-time family-owned orchard, Autumn Harvest makes crisp, fruit-flavored wines that give you a real natural taste. All production, bottling, corking, and labeling are done by hand right in their own facility…
Co-owner Jean McIlquham is on the Savoring the Arts Online Auction committee for the Heyde Center for the Arts/Chippewa Valley Cultural Association’s Savoring the Arts fundraiser, and she was on WEAU 13 News sharing details about the event!
More information for the online auction and Savoring the Arts event on April 22nd can be found on the Heyde Center website and Facebook page. Auction items include tickets to the Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival, local stay-cations, original works of art, and much more, including a patio party at the Autumn Harvest!
We’re very excited to announce that we will again be the exclusive wine sponsor of the Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival, June 16-17! According to their website, Eaux Claires is “a two-day, multi-stage experience featuring live music, performance art, visual art, food and more.”
This year’s lineup has been released on their website and features Paul Simon, John Prine, Bon Iver, Wilco and many more.
The festival is held at Foster Farms in Eau Claire. Passes are on sale now, and we look forward to seeing you there for great music, amazing art and a weekend full of local goodness, like Autumn Harvest wine!
We’re excited to announce that we will again be the exclusive wine sponsor of the Blue Ox Music Festival on June 8-10. We had a great time last year and can’t wait to “Dance Our Grass Off” with you all again!
This is the outdoor Bluegrass, Roots, and Americana music festival’s their year. Held at Whispering Pines Campgrounds in Eau Claire, it’s sure to be a fun weekend full of great music. Follow us here and on our Facebook page for updates on the festival.
Quite simply, wine selection for a holiday party can be overwhelming. Make it easy on yourself and go right to you local wine section. It won’t limit your choices, it will save you time and make the process easy!
If you’re cooking beef, steak or stew, match the intensity of the food with that of the wine. If you’re serving beef or steak or a hearty stew, grab a Merlot or Cabernet with stronger tannins. Italian food can be great with a Pinot Noir, which is usually medium-bodied and less intense. Do not chill. Chicken, seafood, or soups would be enhanced by a lighter white wine like a non-oaked Chardonnay, Riesling or Pinot Grigio. Serve chilled.
We all have cookie platters this time of year and is paired well with a sweet or semi-sweet Riesling like Northern Lights. You can never go wrong with a nice Moscato. You can also leave that out for cheesecake and pie!
I total agree with Michael on Facebook that a red semi-sweet fruit blend like Blue Heaven goes nicely with dark chocolate covered pretzels, or this red wine fudge recipe we just put on our Facebook page! You use 2 tablespoons of red wine and bring the rest of the bottle with you to serve them together. It’s an easy last-minute recipe if you need something to bring to your holiday gathering!
Autumn Harvest Winery and Orchard is proud to once again have been voted one of the Best Winemakers in Volume One’s Best of the Chippewa Valley Reader Poll!
Autumn Harvest has been voted one of the best winemakers in the poll since 2012 when the category was introduced. Thank you to everyone who voted for us and supported us. We couldn’t have done it without you!
CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) — The leaves are beautiful right now, the air is crisp, and there are some gorgeous evenings ahead. We know nothing goes better than a great dinner party than wine, but are you doing it right? We have a winemaker in here today, to help us channel our wine knowledge!
Jean McIlquham is the Owner of Autumn Harvest Winery joined Hello Wisconsin and she joined the show to help us hit the high points
Jean, if we’re investing in wine, what should we know about properly storing it so it doesn’t go bad?
Jean discussed the proper temperatures for storing both white and red wines. For white wines, she recommends taking it out of the refrigerator 20 minutes ahead of serving time. You can try tasting one that was pulled out right away and one that waited the recommended amount to recognize the taste difference.
The Fall is ultimately my favorite season. The weather is cooler, the food is tastier, the fashion is cuter, and the holidays are better. In Chippewa Falls, we want you to be able to experience everything the autumn season has to offer. I’ve compiled my personal GO-to list of 25 Fun Fall Festivities to help you get the most out of Chippewa Falls. Don’t forget to take plenty of pictures doing these activities and tag us #GoChippewaFalls! You could be featured on our social media pages!