Regional Dining Guide

Award-Winning Wines to Try This Season

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You don’t have to travel to Napa Valley to enjoy a glass of wine by the vineyard. These Northern Illinois wineries are crafting a reputation for excellence with many award-winning vintages.

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1. Lynfred Winery

15 S. Roselle Road, Roselle, (630) 529-9463, lynfredwinery.com
Year Established: 1979
No. of Wines and Bottles: More than 50 wines, 29-30,000 cases annually
Top Pick: Viognier; 2011 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, gold winner
Christina Anderson-Heller, marketing director: “Our Viognier wines are fermented slow and cold to capture the natural fruitiness of the wine. Our winemakers have a great ability to capture the floral and perfume notes that Viognier wines are known for.”

2. Village Vintner Winery & Brewery

2380 Esplanade Drive, Algonquin, (847) 658-4900, thevillagevintner.com
Year Established: 2005
No. of Wines and Bottles: 55 wines, more than 30,000 cases annually
Top Pick: Big Bella; 2006 Indy International Wine Competition, gold winner
Bob Boyer, co-owner: “It has extraordinarily rich and creamy butter aromas and flavors, balanced by lush, tropical fruit with a full oak character.”

3. Acquaviva Winery

47W614 IL Route 38, Maple Park, (630) 365-0333, acquavivawinery.com
Year Established: 2010
No. of Wines and Bottles: 10 wines, 60,000 bottles annually
Top Pick: Bianco Bello; Won 2015 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition, Governor’s Cup, Illinois-Grown Fruit
Joe Brandonisio, general manager: “It’s a semi-sweet, crisp wine with fruit and citrus notes making it sweet, but not overwhelming. It makes you want to have another sip. It’s our leading white wine.”

4. Prairie State Winery

222 W. Main St., Genoa, (815) 784-4540, prairiestatewinery.com
Year Established: 1998
No. of Wines and Bottles: 28-30 wines, 100,000 bottles annually
Top Pick: Cabernet Franc; 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, gold winner
Rick Mamoser, winemaker: “Our Cabernet Franc is an Old World style, unfiltered meritage of Norton, Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc grapes. It also won Best of Show two years in a row at the Illinois State Fair Wine Competition.”

5. Famous Fossil Winery

395 N. Cedarville Road, Freeport, (815) 563-4665, famousfossilwinery.com
Year Established: 2008
No. of Wines and Bottles: 14 wines, 50,000 bottles annually
Top Pick: Fireside Red; 2014 International Cold Climate Wine Competition, double gold winner
Pam Rosmann, co-owner: “Our Fireside Red is a port-style one we make from cold climate varieties of Marquette and Frontenac, fortified with brandy.”

6. Massbach Ridge Winery

8837 S. Massbach Road, Elizabeth, (815) 291-6700, massbachridge.com
Year Established: 2003
No. of Wines and Bottles: 19 wines, 40,000 bottles annually
Top Pick: Träumen; 2012 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition, Governor’s Cup, Illinois-Grown Red
Peggy Harmston, winemaker: “Träumen is made of Frontenac grapes that grow beautifully in our terroir. It’s a rich and lush red like nothing else you’ve had before.”

7. Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery

2003 W. Hanover Road, Hanover, (815) 591-9706, rockywaters.net
Year Established: 1996
No. of Wines and Bottles: 14 wines, 50-60,000 bottles annually
Top Pick: Tower Red; 2015 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition, bronze winner
Jared Spahn, owner: “The Tower Red is a dry wine that’s fruity and aged in French oak. It’s one of our most award-winning bottles.”

8. Galena Cellars

515 S. Main St., Galena, (800) 397-9463,
477 S. Third St., Geneva, (630) 232-9463, galenacellars.com

Year Established: 1985
No. of Wines and Bottles: 50 wines, 175,000 bottles annually
Top Pick: Illinois Marquette; 2015 International Cold Climate Wine Competition, silver winner
Christine Lawlor-White, winemaker: “Illinois Marquette is a new variety the University of Minnesota has great hopes for. They came up with a light Pinot Noir-style grape where the acid is approachable, and we created bright cherry tannins and a little bit of soft oak to soften the wine. We have great hopes for the Marquette.”

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