Raise Your Glass, Illinois Has More Wineries Than You Might Think
We hear a lot about local craft breweries, not only here in Rockford, but throughout the state of Illinois. However, if you enjoy indulging in a glass or two of wine, what does Illinois have for you?
The answer is: probably quite a few more wineries than you may have realized. I just did a quick poll in the hallways here at work, asking my coworkers how many wineries they thought called Illinois home.
The highest guess was "about 20 or 25."
That Answer Would Have Been Close (Still Wrong, But Close) In 1997, When Illinois Had A Grand Total of 14 Wineries
A lot can change and happen in 25 years, and the fact that Illinois has really upped its wine game during that time span is one of them. Illinois went from having less than 20 wineries in the late 1990s to having 165 of them today, according to the Illinois Grape Growers And Vintners Alliance. Many are full-service wineries, offering tours of the wine production and vineyards, along with wine tasting rooms, specialty dining, and unique wine gifts.
That pales in comparison to the country's largest wine producing state, California, where they have 4,501 wineries. Oregon is number two with 793, followed by Washington state with 792.
You Want To Talk Variety? Illinois Boasts Some Serious Variety When It Comes To Wine
As IllinoisIsWine.com lays it out, there's something in Illinois for pretty much anyone who likes wine, whether it's red or white:
White Wine Varieties
- Frontenac Gris
- La Crescent
- Seyval Blanc
- St. Pepin
- Vidal Blanc
Red Wine Varieties
- Cabernet Franc
- Marechal Foch
If This Has Put You In The Mood For Some Vino, You Won't Have To Travel Far Outside The Rockford Area
If you're looking to take a winery-based road trip, here are a few close to the Rockford area (apologies in advance for any area winery I may have missed):
- DC Estate Winery (S. Beloit)
- McEachran Homestead Winery (Caledonia)
- The Muse On Cedar Creek (Freeport)
- Galena Cellars Vineyard and Winery (Galena)
- Prairie State Winery (Genoa)