The Gorazds are like many American families: they work hard to provide for their family and, on occasion, enjoy life’s finer things. For Steve and Angela, “fine” means wine!
Steve put in nearly 30 years with Boeing, traveling extensively while Angela worked closer to home as a nurse practitioner. When the rare opportunity arose to step away from their busy lives, relaxing in wine country was their favorite escape. And like a fine vintage, their fascination with, enthusiasm for, and knowledge about wine developed over time.
With the prospects of retirement becoming more of a reality in recent days, Steve dusted off the dreams and started preparing for his next adventure. He recently reflected,
“As wine aficionados, my wife and I have visited wineries for many years and dreamed of one day being in the business ourselves.”
Upon learning that a landmark location was for sale, the Gorazds needed capital to move quickly. Set in the serene Silent Forest of Southern Illinois, Hidden Lake Winery needed new ownership that would appreciate and cultivate its rich heritage.
To secure the purchase, North Avenue Capital (“NAC”) underwrote and funded a USDA Rural Development Business & Industry Loan with packaging support from guaranteed lending specialists (GLS). NAC Commercial Lender, Drew Louis, led the financing effort and said,
“The Gorazds found a unique opportunity to acquire one of the region’s most beautiful wineries. NAC was honored to facilitate the acquisition that preserves jobs and a long-standing legacy in the region.”
Steve and Angela now own the 92-acre full-service facility, complete with five venues for weddings and events, which include the winery, a banquet center, 10 cabins, a waterfall, a large gazebo, a commercial tent, and two lakes.
Under Steve’s leadership, Hidden Lake Winery will make improvements across the property, grow event bookings, expand its vineyards, and increase wine production. Steve concluded,
“With GLS support and NAC’s financial backing, our dream is now a reality.”
NAC Managing Director, Alex Louis, added,
“Hidden Lake Winery is a diamond in the rough. Steve and Angela saw an opportunity to rescue a business that had a strong foundation but needed a fresh start. NAC is grateful to be part of the Got Wine story and we look forward to seeing and tasting the fruits of their labor.”