Chicago-area vineyard reminds owners of European countryside

Marengo vineyard reminds owners of Greek countryside

George and Teri Lacon like to say that life on their Marengo property is like enjoying a little piece of southern Europe ... right off I-90.

The Lacons built their home — which they call Harmony Hills Vineyard — seven years ago on the grounds of a farmstead that dates back to the late 1800s. A stone etching in the basement seems to indicate a house originally on the site was built in 1876, George said.

Aside from the basement, the two-story, four-bedroom home at 18715 Harmony Road was fully redesigned by George, a native of Greece. “He is very artistic, even if he doesn't like to take credit,” Teri said.

For his part, George is careful to point out that one of the bedrooms doesn't have a closet, so it technically can't be called a bedroom.

The bedrooms, all on the second floor, are paired in separate areas of the house with corresponding staircases — the perfect accommodation for guests, or even bed-and-breakfast customers who want privacy, George said. However, the wall separating the two areas can be torn down to create a more traditional second floor, he added.

The house also features a sitting room, a family room, and an open kitchen with island connected to the dining room.

But the real stunner are the grounds: a lush 27 acres in McHenry County that includes a 15-acre corn field and a 5-acre vineyard that produces three varieties of red grapes and two of white grapes.

The verdant property includes 110 rose bushes, an organic vegetable garden with okra, asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, Brussels sprouts, berries and more; a pond with bass and blue gill; and fruit trees that produce peaches, figs, apples, plums and pears.

There is also a barn for the Lacons' two horses. The couple also own chickens and a turkey, and at one point owned goats, too.

And when they want to just sit outside and admire the surroundings, they do so from the large outdoor patio that boasts comfortable padded chairs, a fireplace to keep them warm on chilly nights, and even a wood bar to make drink for guests.

The home has been on the market since August, with its price reduced to $569,000 in early October, said RE/MAX broker associate Rick Rashman. The Lacons said they are open to selling any of the furniture, both interior and exterior, as well as the animals along with their home and vineyard.

As much as they have loved living in Marengo, they hope to downsize and might even move to a warmer climate, George said.

George said he will really miss his beloved vineyard, which he rooted and established himself, and which this year produced about 200 cases of wine. Future owners won't have to man the property by themselves, as local hired help is always available, he added.

“We will miss the serenity, the Norman Rockwell atmosphere, and Christmas with our children,” Teri said.

The Lacons rebuilt the home seven years ago after purchasing the farmstead.
George and Teri Lacon purchased a small McHenry County farm on Harmony Road, starting their Harmony Hills Vineyard by planting five acres of grapes.
The large patio has an outdoor fireplace and overlooks the countryside. The Lacons believe the property would be perfect for a bed-and-breakfast or even weddings.
George Lacon designed the house with an open first floor and separate staircases that lead to two sets of bedrooms upstairs.
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