- Published on Tuesday, 21 July 2015 12:57
- Written by Breanna Bright
When you think of wine and vineyards, images of pristine Italy or the rolling hills of California come to mind, but hidden in Southern Illinois is one of the Midwest’s secret wine trails full of award-winning wine, beautiful countryside, and a long history of wine making.
Nestled at the very bottom of Illinois is the Shawnee Hills American Viticultural Area, home of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. This title was only recently obtained, instigated in 2006 by Ted Wichmann of Owl Creek Winery to call Shawnee Hills an American Viticultural Area, “The AVA designation earns Shawnee Hills a place on the map along with the nation's most respected wine regions,” Wichmann said. “More importantly, in a wine world that's becoming increasingly homogenized, the AVA stamp confirms the Shawnee Hills region's capability for producing unique wines that are distinctly Illinois.”
The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail was the first of its kind in the state of Illinois, established in 1995 as a tourist destination. 2015 marks the 20th Anniversary of the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. It started with only three wineries, and now has twelve and growing with wineries spread through Carbondale, Alto Pass, Cobden, Makanda, and the countryside of Southern Illinois.
The wineries of the wine trail work together to create a memorable destination for wine-lovers. Throughout the season they host a variety of wine tours, live music, parties, charity events, art receptions, demonstrations, and so much more. The trail also offers recreation such as biking and hiking, tours, spas, overnight accommodations, and several area attractions.
The wine trail is where the heart of Southern Illinois beats with the sounds of local musicians, a call to the gathering of friends, and a taste of the riches that come right out of its soil. There are few better representations of an area’s uniqueness than it’s wine trail.
Learn all about the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail on their website and plan a visit to help celebrate their 20th Anniversary.