According to Crain’s Chicago Business, the biggest wine club in our nation is operated by Countryside, Illinois based Cooper’s Hawk Winery. Cooper’s Hawk, which started in Orland Park (a Chicago suburb) during 2005 , now has 20 restaurant locations spread over seven states.
Coopers Hawk’s website says that annual production in it’s Countryside facility is over 600,000 gallons per year. Crain’s reports a significantly higher production figure than the company’s website. If the Crain’s figure is accurate, Cooper’s Hawk is now one of the largest producers of wine in the Midwest. (Oliver Winery in Bloomington, Indiana – the Midwest’s largest producer- reportedly makes well over a million gallons of wine per year.)
Cooper’s Hawk sells its wine at it’s restaurants, through the wine club and at retail operations inside the company’s restaurants. (The only wines on the menu at Cooper’s Hawk are Cooper’s Hawk wines.) The company imports all its grapes from the West Coast. There are no local grapes used in Cooper’s Hawk’s wines.
According the Crain’s article, Cooper’s Hawk is making boatloads of money and the owners are very smart businesspeople. However, wouldn’t it be easier to produce the wine on the West Coast where the grapes are grown and ship the finished product?