Tuscan Hills Winery, in Effingham, was recognized at Tuesday’s City Council meeting with the Business Appreciation Award. The award recognizes businesses who have invested in the area and are exemplary in their service to the region. General Manager Erin Hartke and owner Wanda Pitcher attended Tuesday’s meeting to accept the award.
“It amazes me how quickly Tuscan Hills Winery has become a genuine regional asset,” said 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!”
The Tuscan themed winery opened in July of 2011 and focused on crafting great tasting wine, but later developed into a versatile event space regularly hosting nighttime entertainment such as dinner theater and trivial nights. Additionally, the outdoor space around the facility has become home to larger community events including the Hobnob Market and the Grapevine Bluegrass Festival. The winery’s downstairs space “The Stellar Cellar” is used for private parties, weddings, and events. The owners, Wes and Wanda Pitcher, have a background in tourism and have used that experience promote the winery.
“We’ve been in Effingham for almost 6 years, and it seems like it was yesterday that I was sitting here [City Council], fighting to get a winery built in Effingham County,” Pitcher remarked. “But what I’d like to do, is thank the city, and the council, and the community for accepting us and we appreciate everybody’s support. We have started from basically a very small idea and went and grew it beyond my wildest dreams.”
Tuscan Hills has four full-time employees and up to 12 part-time staff during the busy summer season. They have also donated room rentals, wine baskets, and gift certificates many benefits and fundraisers. . “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 Pitcher.