Illinois wine month bubbling with events, festivals - 2007.08.07
Travelers invited to experience best of Illinois Wine Country this September
September marks the state’s third annual Illinois Wine Month, when wineries across the state are going all-out to offer travelers a memorable experience with festivals, tastings, grape stomps and unique opportunities to meet with and learn from Illinois vintners.
“Over the past few years, wine tourism has become popular across the country, but travelers don’t need to go to the coasts for an authentic wine country getaway,” said Paul Renzaglia, president of IGGVA. “With new and bigger events across the state and more people visiting our wineries than ever before, this year’s Illinois Wine Month is positioned to be our most successful yet.”
September is the traditional grape harvesting season when Illinois vintners begin the winemaking process. Illinois Wine Month was established in 2005 by Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich to recognize and enhance the growing Illinois wine industry. Today, the industry includes nearly 70 wineries in all regions of Illinois and creates a direct economic impact on the state of $250 million annually.
Illinois Wine Month events include the following; for more information, visit www.illinoiswine.com:
Geja’s Café presents a Tasting of Illinois Wine
This intimate Lincoln Park fondue restaurant is giving patrons the opportunity to savor Illinois wines specially selected to pair with Geja’s famous cheese and flaming chocolate fondues.
Sunday, Aug. 26 (1 p.m.)
Harry Caray’s, Italian Village Restaurants
A variety of Illinois wines will be offered by the glass during the month of September at these popular family restaurants.
Harry Caray’s: 312-828-0966 (Chicago), 847-699-1200 (Rosemont), www.harrycarays.com
Italian Village Restaurant: 312-332-7005, www.italianvillage-chicago.com
Starved Rock State Park, Utica
Vintage Illinois Wine Festival: Discover more than 20 of Illinois’ award-winning wineries and enjoy live music at one of the largest wine celebrations in the state at Starved Rock State Park. Visitors are encouraged to purchase a commemorative wine glass for $10, which includes five tasting tickets.
Saturday, Sept. 15 (11 a.m.–6 p.m.) and Sunday, Sept. 16 (noon–5 p.m.)
Fox Valley Winery, Oswego
Fall Harvest Fest: Fantastic wines will be available for tasting along with grape stomping and seed spitting, a vintage-era baseball game with uniforms, live music from The Only Sons, terrific food and more.
Saturday, Sept. 22 (11 a.m.–6 p.m.)
Lynfred Winery, Roselle
Annual Oktoberfest, Pig Roast & Grape Stomp: A 20-year Oktoberfest tradition continues at Lynfred Winery with its celebration of German heritage and delicious wine. A German sing-a-longs, grape stomping, cork tossing, barrel races and a roasted pig served with all the fixings are the festival highlights.
Saturday, Sept. 29 (3 p.m.–9 p.m.) and Sunday, Sept. 30 (noon–7 p.m.)
Central/South Central Regions
Mary Michelle Winery, Carrollton
Greene County Days Celebration: Nationally award-winning Mary Michelle Winery in Carrollton will open its doors to the public for tastings and wine purchases. Barn tours and other agricultural activities are part of the fun. A $5 tasting fee includes a complimentary logo wineglass.
Saturday, Sept. 8 (1–6 p.m.) and Sunday, Sept. 9 (1–5 p.m.)
Clat Adams Park, Quincy
Great River Grape Escape: After a successful inaugural year in 2006, this multi-winery event along Quincy’s scenic riverfront highlights the varietals of 12 wineries and the many agricultural products grown along the Mississippi River and throughout Illinois. Festival-goers can purchase tasting tickets for $10 and receive a commemorative wine glass.
Saturday, Sept. 22 (noon–9 p.m.) and Sunday, Sept. 23 (noon–5 p.m.)
White Owl Winery, Birds
Old World Autumn Wine Festival: Release your creative side with White Owl Winery’s (W.O.W) variety of contests including most original use of a W.O.W wine bottle and wine glass, best recipe using W.O.W. wines and best artwork incorporating W.O.W. Live entertainment from local performers will keep the festivities going throughout the weekend.
Saturday, Sept. 22 and Sunday, Sept. 23 (noon–6 p.m.)
Alto Vineyards, Alto Pass
Shawnee Hills Wine Festival: Join all nine wineries from the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail for a weekend-long celebration in the heart of Illinois Wine Country. The event will feature great wines, Cajun and Southern-style BBQ, and the sounds of the blues. The $15 entrance fee includes souvenir glass and $5 towards purchase of a bottle of wine at the festival.
Saturday, Sept. 1 and Sunday, Sept. 2 (12–6 p.m.)
Black Diamond Vineyards, Nashville
Black Diamond Vineyards Grape Stomp: Black Diamond Vineyards is sponsoring the third annual Grape Stomp to help raise funds for the Illinois Brain Injury Association. The sounds of bluegrass will play as stompers compete for the most juice produced, best “stomping style,” “I Love Lucy” look-a-like contest and the “Grand Stomp-Off.” Tours of the winery are included in the admission.
Saturday, Sept. 15 (Registration for stompers, 11 a.m.; Stomping competition, 1 p.m.)
Carlyle Lake Visitors Center, Carlyle
Art & Wine Festival at Carlyle Lake: Festival-goers will enjoy a wide variety of activities this weekend. Over 50 local artisans, a world-renowned sand sculpture, varietals from up to 13 wineries, live music and gourmet food will be featured. Stay for the weekend and explore the Carlyle Lake area, where great hiking, boating, swimming, fishing and more are easily accessible.
Saturday, Sept. 15 (11 a.m.–7 p.m.) and Sunday, Sept. 16 (noon–6 p.m.)
Ravissant Winery, Belleville
Harvest Festival: Celebrate the grape-harvesting season at Ravissant Winery’s largest annual event. Enjoy live entertainment, a grape-stomp competition and delectible food. Admission to the festival is free.
Saturday, September 15 (11 a.m. – 6 p.m.)
Alto Vineyards, Alto Pass
Crab & BBQ Festival: A perennial favorite, this event is for wine and food enthusiasts alike. Alto’s award-winning varietals are paired with delectable tastes of two-time World Barbeque Champion 17th Street Bar and Grill. Live Cajun music performed by Dennis Stroughmatt & Creole Stomp will keep the crowd dancing. A $3 admission fee includes wine samplings. Wine is sold by the glass for $5, with refills for $3.
Saturday, September 22 (2–7 p.m.)
Southern Illinois Artisans Shop and Visitors Center at Rend Lake, Whittington
Illinois Wine & Art Festival: With presentations by more than 50 of Illinois’ best-known artists, live musical entertainment, local food vendors and varietals from more than a dozen Illinois wineries, an authentic Illinois Wine Country experience awaits all visitors. Admission to the festival is free and visitors can purchase open-tasting tickets for $10, which includes a complimentary festival glass.
Saturday, Sept. 29 (11 a.m.–7 p.m.) and Sunday, Sept. 30 (noon–6 p.m.)
About Illinois Wine
Featuring more than 68 wineries and approximately 300 grape growers across the state, the Illinois
wine industry produces 500,000 gallons of wine per year and creates an annual economic impact of
more than $250 million. From friendly vintners and affordable prices to unique varietals and award-winning wines, Illinois provides a sophisticated, yet approachable, wine country experience. For more information, please visit www.illinoiswine.com.
About Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association
The Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association (IGGVA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing the viticulture and enology interests of Illinois through information exchange and cooperation among Illinois grape producers and vintners.
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