Villa Marie Winery and Banquet Center in Maryville, Illinois, has filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

The filing, made Feb. 14 in St. Louis, was to avoid foreclosure, said the company's lawyer, Rob Eggmann of Carmody MacDonald PC. He said Villa Marie will continue to operate while it seeks refinancing or a sale. "We believe the winery has substantial equity," Eggmann said.

Villa Marie is owned by Judy Wiemann, who launched the business, situated in an 18,800-square-foot building on 50 acres, about 10 years ago. It makes mostly sweet wines made with Illinois grapes, including those grown on the property, at 6633 East Main St.

Wiemann said Villa Marie generated about $1 million in sales by 2013, but that a two-and-a-half-year construction project on Main Street hurt business. She hopes to boost sales, in part by continuing to offer the space for weddings and other events.

Click here for full story.