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Wine Industry Thrives

With 165 wineries and 100 miles of wine trails, Illinois' wine industry has thrived in the last 30 years, now ranking as the 12th-largest wine-producing state in the US. In 1997, there were only 12 wineries in the entire state.

Illinois produces award-winning wines from Native American, French Hybrid, Vinifera grapes, and local fruit, with Rose wine as its official wine. The industry's growth accelerated in the 2000s, reaching 165 wineries in 2023, according to the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Alliance (IGGVA).

Wine-making in Illinois dates back to 1691, near Peoria, with a fort and winepress built by French descendents. After thriving in the 1850s and 1860s, Prohibition in 1919 halted wine production. It only began to recover in the late 1970s, with a 1976 law allowing on-site wine sales. The Shawnee Hills region in southern Illinois became a major grape-growing area in the early 2000s.

The Illinois State Fair Wine Competition witnessed increased wine quality, with over 25 percent of wines winning gold or double gold awards by 2021.


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