EAST PEORIA — A winery could be coming to Bloomington Road in East Peoria.

Tres Rojas wines, "three reds" in English, is developing plans for a winery, vineyard, banquet room and bike trails connecting to the River Trail of Illinois. On Tuesday, the City Council approved an ordinance allowing wineries as a special use in conservation and residential estate district zones. The owners of Tres Rojas expect to present site plans to the Zoning Board of Appeals next week and could be open for business as soon as this fall.

The amended ordinance allowing wineries as a special use in a conservation zone was approved by a 4-0 vote.

"We've really been encouraged by the support we've received from the city," Bob Barry, owner of Tres Rojas, said Tuesday after the council meeting.

The 20-acre parcel is off of Bloomington Road between Clover and Crestwood roads, in a wooded secluded area surrounded by residential properties, said Ty Livingston, director of planning in East Peoria.

"The proposal sets the table for a winery in a conservation zone that meets all of the limits placed on it with regards to proximity to residential and other factors," Livingston said Tuesday.

In May of 2016, Tres Rojas acquired use of a small vineyard off Allentown Road in Pekin. The vineyard had been abandoned for about five years. The area was filling in with trees and the surviving vines were wild and climbing everywhere, according to the Tres Rojas website. 

"We removed the trees, pruned and re-trained the vines and grafted in several varieties that will become our estate-grown wines," according to the website.

Barry said Tres Rojas has won some amateur wine making prizes and is now set to expand with the East Peoria site. The proposal sets aside 3.5 acres for growing grapes, a half-acre for growing blackberries, peaches and other fruits for other wines and 11 acres for a walking and biking trail to connect with the River Trail.

The proposal includes a winery building, banquet room and wine-production area. Barry said the business has an option to purchase the property, contingent on satisfying all of the city's requirements.

"We don't plan on becoming a larger operation like the one in Mackinaw (Valley Winery) with concerts and events like that," Barry said. "We'd operate on a smaller scale with music occasionally inside the banquet room."

The business could be closed in the winter months, Barry said, although it is possible it would be open year-round at some point. It would take about three years for newly planted grape vines to produce grapes on the East Peoria property. In the meantime, wine production would continue with purchased grapes and grapes grown on the property in Pekin, Barry said.

Scott Hilyard can be reached at 686-3244 or by email at shilyard@pjstar.com.