As winter snows melt and spring breathes new life into the greening hills of Northwest Illinois, the growing use of the southern-facing slopes and mineral-rich soils for vineyards is evident. Matching latitudinal placements of historically great wine production in Europe, benefiting from presence of complex soil nutrients, and supported by a growing interest winemaking, vineyards of all sizes through Northwest Illinois are popping up regularly.
 The first vineyard in Illinois was founded in Nauvoo, in 1851, raising Concord grapes, and the oldest operating family vineyards remain near Nauvoo, enjoying heritages back to 1855. The state of Illinois ranks 5th in wine consumption; Chicago 2nd among metropolitan peers. From humble beginnings of a single, mid-19th century vineyard, interest in winemaking has grown to over a hundred wineries, significant development considering there were only 3 wineries in the state in 1985.
 Illinois wineries contribute significantly to local and regional economies, producing tens of millions of gallons of wine annually. Opportunities exist for the development of small, boutique vineyards, especially in the Northwest. Details are available through the “Illinois Profile and Business Plan Workbook on Wineries.”
 There are excellent wineries throughout the Northwest, including the pictured arbors of Massbach Ridge Winery, near Elizabeth, and the Galena Winery arbors, of Galena, Illinois. If you would like to start your own vineyard by finding the perfect parcel for wine production, or information on wineries throughout the Northwest, contact your regional LandGuy LT Taylor.
Enjoy your spring adventures as the Northwest greens and “Cheers!”
LT Taylor
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