began in Illinois in the early 1800's when the first vineyards were planted in the Galena area.
In 1857 Emile Baxter and Sons opened a winery in the town of Nauvoo. (Today, Baxter's Vineyards &
Winery remains Illinois' oldest operating winery.)
By the early 1900s, Illinois had grown to
be the fourth largest grape growing state in the Union. Though economic depression, Prohibition, and world wars, the state's wine industry waxed and waned, but in
recent years, there has been an exciting regrowth in the Illinois wine production using classic
European varieties, American hybrids and locally grown fruits.
By 1990, there were only five wineries throughout
the state. Today, there are dozens of vineyards in two separate Illinois wine regions.
With Illinois' recent success producing award-winning vintages on international wine scene, wine tourism throughout the state is also booming -- especially along the Southern Illinois wine trail where wine lovers can make a day of it on the National Scenic Byway - Great River Road running along the Mississippi River.
And what better way to spend an autumn weekend or a day in May?
Find out more about wine tastings, tours and
festivals throughout the state in our guide to the great Illinois grape...
More information about Illinois wineries around the Web:
Hills Wine Trail - The wine trail began in 1995 with three independent wineries in Southern
Illinois. It has since expanded to eight vineyards that sell bottled wines from the grapes and
fruit that grow in the region.