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Illinois River Winery

Illinois River Winery Here is how it came to be. You see, once upon a time, in a life far away, there was a sister and two brothers who took to meeting over Memorial Day weekend at the sister’s house. This place in the woods, not on the way to grandmothers’ house, happened to be in the heart of Missouri wine country. This annual event began with flourish as the 30-something crew bicycled the Katy trail, riding from vineyard to vineyard, sampling the wine, the cheese, the ambiance of the Missouri river views. We were happy for these moments, for these moments were our life. Later these bicycles became more numerous as we married as people do. Trailers began find there way onto the bikes as kids came along. But still this was joy and life eternal. And along the way, we learned something. We observed that the best wine came from a winery with the lowest prices and the smallest crowds. We noticed that the most popular Wineries didn’t have the best wine, but were beautiful and scenic and had the highest prices. Then there were the monthly trips to Starved Rock State park. Hiking the canyons and discovering hidden waterfalls in what to us is the most beautiful place in Illinois. Then in the most magical way, the pieces of the puzzle began to materialize. The desire to get back into agriculture, to leave corporate America, to put a couple of MBA’s to good use. The manufacturing expertise. Then there was Utica, a small, quaint town nestled into the bluffs along the Illinois River, facing Starved Rock State Park; a place with all the potential to be the next Galena, but with more scenery. So we fostered the fantasy of living and working in such a beautiful place, a place where no other wineries existed. We dreamt of making great wines, and how we would feel as people rushed in to buy them. But somewhere along the way we came to know that the tail doesn’t wag the dog; That instead we would have to make wines that people would want to buy. And that we would have to be where people were willing to buy wine. And there loomed larger questions that would have to be resolved, i.e: is winemaking and art or a science? And how would we hurdle that killer of business, the scarcity of capitol? Were we willing to risk it all? Then in the 90’s we began planting grapes. We called this land “Starved Rock Vineyards”. And so we learned of viticulture. Who knew there could be so much to learn? Three years later we began making wine, and it was good. Finally the day came when we knew it was the time. To dream or to do, to be or not to be, for the step that risks it all is the point of no return. But yet another year would pass before we would become fully licensed on the Federal, State, County and Village levels. And so here we are, down by the river on Rt. 178, within site of Starved Rock State Park. This Winery is our life, our love and our passion.

We are located on Rt 178 on the southern edge of Utica, down near the river and within sight of Starved Rock State Park. From I80, take exit 81 (Rt 178) south 2 miles.

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Address Web Social
723 S. Clark Street, Utica, IL, US, 61373 Email:
Phone: 815-667-4012 Web:
Fax: 630-455-9515
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  2 Fruits Apple-Red Raspberry
A sweet blend of pure juice, the balance is excellent.
  2 Fruits Blackberry-Blueberry
Just the right blend to highlight both fruits. One of our most popular wines.
This wine features the power and intensity of fresh, just picked blackberries.
  Catawba Blush
This award winning wine is the best in the state, we promise. Wonderful Catawba flavors.
Noted for it's full, heady aroma of fresh cherries, and the taste: it's like biting into a slice of cherry pie.
  Chocolate Raspberry Port
So you like chocolate. Maybe you nibble on chocolate when you sip port. Have we stumbled upon the most delicious, romantic port wine ever? You be the judge. Raspberry wine blended with brandy and chocolate
Big, ripe and jammy, this full bodied red is a serious, international award-winning wine.
Honey Crisp Apple wine spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, and fairy dust. Perfect with snack foods. You'll be the hit of the party!
This international award-winning blend of 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc is wonderfully dry and delicious.
A native american white grape for those of you looking for something sweet and fruity. It’s that perfect sittin' in the tub wine. Can be enjoyed alone or with a friend….
  Oktober Skye late harvest
Imagine the flavor of an entire bottle condensed into a single ounce. These grapes were harvested at 36 brix. The resulting wine is highly concentrated with dominant flavors of honey, carmel and tropical fruit. The wine is fantastic now and will continue to be for decades. Late harvest wine made with Traminette and Vidal grapes with flavors of honey, carmel, and tropical fruit
An excellent peach nose and flavors, this years is our best ever.
  Pink Side of the Moon
This wine is like a French kiss, but with American lips...... try it! and the label, do you get it? A wonderful dry Rose' wine made from Cabernet, Merlot and Frontenac grapes.
  Pinot Grigio
A crisp, DRY WHITE WINE MADE FROM GRAPES FROM California’s central valley.
  Port of Utica
This 100% concord port is an excellent dessert wine made from a grape native to Utica. The label features the historic Port of Utica circa 1885, by local Artist Brian Nolan.
  Ravat 51
  Red Raspberry
Everyting about this wine is intense: color, aroma, flavor. A bit over the top, yes, but to be admired for it's unabashed pursuit of berriness!
  Reserve Chardonel,
The Chardonnay sibling is off dry and packed with flavor with a savory oak finish. Only 122 cases available from this vintage.
Crisp and refreshing, with hints of caramel, citrus and lychee.
  River White Demi-Sec
A semi-sweet demi-sec, it's our own blend of Vignoles, Riesling and Cayuga white. Hugely popular on the Michigan wine trail, now available here.
  Seyval Blanc
  Starved Rock Red
Sweet, red concord wine. Winner of numerous awards, and a perennial favorite. Sweet red wine made from concord and foch grapes
  Vintners Blend
A very nice red: Medium bodied, low acid, silky smooth tannins. Complex flavors from the Chambourcin grapes with a nice hint of aak at the finish. Barrel aged in American oak for 2 years. A dry red made with a blend of Chambourcin, Millot, and Frontenac Grapes
  White River Tears
A wine on par with Europe’s top whites and an incredible value. Crisp acid, strong heady nose, full bodied and a long finish bursting with fruit. Hints of cinnamon, spice and pear. Magnificent enjoyed alone, yet well matched with spicy, flavorful foods.


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