Bill Lavicka doesn’t lack ambition. The Chicago resident has made wine in his basement laundry room for 35 years, after all, dubbing it Chateau Chicago. But now he wants to make an estate wine.
Lavicka seeks to turn an 1860s building on Chicago’s south side into a winery. And he wants to plant 5,000 vines around it of Riesling and Concord grapes. Here’s a report of the terroir of 5700 South Lafayette St:
Standing at what would be the John Raber House’s front steps — they’ve been removed to stymie squatters — it’s difficult to imagine much anything of beauty rising there.
A chopped-in-half grocery cart and plastic bags have been thrown or have tumbled into the vacant lot across from the 5700 block of South Lafayette Street, while plywood, a tire, construction materials and garbage bags have been intentionally dumped in the home’s backyard.
At 2 o’clock is a carwash that Lavicka, who often says everything is worth saving, says isn’t worth saving. And at 1 o’clock, across the street from the carwash, is an unsightly scrap metal yard.
The project has support from the local alderman but soil samples have yet to reveal whether the site is “steeped in lead.” If successful, Lavicka would propel Chicago to join Paris, Vienna, Madrid and New York as big cities with some area under vine. Bonne chance! Video, after the jump.