September 21, 2017

Biggest Wine Club in U.S. Is Based in Illinois

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?

See: The Biggest Wine Club in the U.S.?  It’s not in Napa

About Mark Ganchiff

Mark Ganchiff is the publisher of Midwest Wine Press, the leading source of news on the growing wine industry in the central United States. Mark has been a wine judge at the 2012 and 2014 INDY International Wine Competition, the 2014 Cold Climate Wine Competition, the 2013 Mid-American Wine Competition, the 2012 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition and the 2013 Michigan Wine Competition. He also enjoys speaking at wine events including the Cold Climate Wine Conference, the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association Annual Meeting, the Midwest Grape and Wine Conference and the Wisconsin Fruit and Vegetable Conference. Mark’s articles about regional wine have appeared in Vineyard & Winery Management, WineMaker and several regional magazines.
Mark is a Level One Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers. He lives in Louisville, but also has a residence in Chicago.