The City of Effingham has named Tuscan Hills Winery as a recipient of the City of Effingham’s Business Appreciation Award.
Imagine driving down a winding road lined with grapevines and arriving on a secluded farmstead with beautiful landscaping at every turn. You enter through arched wooden doors that lead into a winery with stucco walls, a decorative concrete floor and dark, warm woods.
Beams overlook the 100 seat facility with an additional 200 seats under the extended covered patios. The stone fireplace provides warm charm and the old world lighting creates an intimate atmosphere.
The owners of Tuscan Hills Winery, Wes and Wanda Pitcher, want all visitors to “come as our guest, leave as our friend.”
“It amazes me how quickly Tuscan Hills Winery has become a genuine regional asset,” stated Mayor Jeff Bloemker. “The Pitchers have been very nimble in adjusting their business model to accommodate the needs of the region. Tuscan Hills Winery brings people from all over the country to Effingham … and for that we thank the Pitcher family. We’re glad they chose Effingham.”
Since officially opening on July 1, 2011, the 10,000-square-foot Tuscan themed facility started out as an award winning winery focused on creating well-balanced wines of the highest quality with wine tastings available daily. Over time, the wine cellar became a more integral part of the business.
The winery has grown to be an asset to the Effingham community, not only as a tourist attraction, but also because of the transformation of the wine cellar into a marketable private event space called the “Stellar Cellar.”
This conversion of a simple cellar into a modern, industrial extension of the winery has allowed Tuscan Hills Winery to be host to numerous weddings, parties, showers, music festivals and corporate events. Having the Stellar Cellar has allowed the winery to be open to the public without turning anyone away.
Wes and Wanda have invested in the winery as a place of tourism. Wanda’s family owned and operated a Canadian tourist camp, which Wes and Wanda still own today as a third generation tourist outfitter.
Their background in tourism has helped the winery’s growth as visitors come from across the nation for events like Hobnob Market, Grapevine Bluegrass Festival and over 100 weddings. They enjoy creating a welcoming atmosphere for all who walk through the front door. Consistent customer service is their key to repeat business.
The winery employs 4 full-time employees and up to 12 part-time employees during the busy summer season. Their pride is in their excellent products and dedicated employees who are knowledgeable hosts. The staff is trained to help guests compare the subtle differences in the wines until they find a desirable favorite, which tends to be the most loved sweet blush, Pretty in Pink, over all other wines they offer.
In addition to offering rental space to non-profit organizations at no charge, Tuscan Hills Winery has donated room rentals, wine baskets and gift certificates to countless benefits and fundraisers throughout each year.
“We're committed to building a strong and vibrant community where we live and work. We want the people and small businesses that bring the city to life to prosper. That’s what being a good neighbor is all about,” said Wanda.