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Part I: Wineries and vineyards less than an hour from Crystal Lake


Valentino Vineyards in Long Grove

September is Illinois Wine Month, as dubbed by former governor Rod Blagojevich in 2005. There are countless wineries and vineyards across Illinois, but many are within a short drive from Crystal Lake. Some grow their grapes here, while others bring in their grapes from around the country. Being so close to home, these vineyards make a great late summer daytrip.

Long Grove boasts two wineries/ vineyards: Glunz Family Winery & Cellars and Valentino Vineyards. Glunz Family Winery & Cellars specializes in fortified wines such as Vintage and Tawny Port. They also produce Strawberry and Raspberry Wines. Valentino Vineyards produces over twenty different wines on their twenty-acre estate. They use high quality French and American oak barrels and their wines are low in sulfites. These two vineyards make an excellent daytrip because of their close proximity to Crystal Lake (only thirty minutes away!), and one must indulge in other shopping on this excursion, as Long Grove’s nearby shopping district is one of a kind.

Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, is only a forty-minute trek down Route 12, and it's the host of the Lake Geneva Wine Festival. The festival runs from Friday, September 11th through Sunday the 13th. Seminars on wines and wine pairings are held each day, and the Grand Tasting is on Saturday. Tickets can be bought for individual events here. This, too, would make a great daytrip, but if you plan on attending events that span multiple days, click here for hotel information.  With so much to do in Lake Geneva, from boating to day spas, this is a tempting choice.

Prairie State Winery, in Genoa, is just under an hour away. They grow grapes onsite, and also have some brought in from southern Illinois. Their tasting room is housed in a historic building surrounded by quaint downtown shops. Their motto is “Think globally, drink locally,” and they are doing numerous things to live up to this statement.

Finally, Lynfred Winery, in Roselle (fifteen minutes from Woodfield Shopping Mall), is just under an hour from Crystal Lake. This winery brings in its grapes from all over the country but produces their wine onsite. They make ten different wines, from Cabernet to Viognier.

These are just a sampling of the wine culture that Illinois has to offer. These five wineries/ vineyards can be reached in less than an hour, and are all surrounded by other shopping or sightseeing. Celebrate Illinois Wine Month by keeping it local.

For vineyards and wineries that are a two hour trip from Crystal Lake, click here.