October 19, 2017

Big Southern Illinois WInery Wants a Casino License

Walker’s Bluff, a winery, restaurant, and concert entertainment center near Carbondale, Illinois is now trying to get a casino license, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.  Midwest Wineries have gone to great lengths to add new revenue streams – including monster truck shows and distilleries-  but this is the first we’ve heard about merging  regional wine and gambling.  Walker’s Bluff argues the existing complex, which spans 300 acres, has the potential to be a “destination resort complex” with a new 300-room hotel, a multi-purpose convention, conference and entertainment center, four new restaurants, spa facilities, an indoor water park and, of course, the casino.

Walker’s Bluff planted thousands of vinifera vines back in 2008.  The vineyard once included 900 Barbera vines, 1,000 Tempranillo vines and 1,000 Sangiovese vines. The arctic blasts of recent winters badly damaged or killed European wine grapes across the central United States.  On the Walker’s Bluff website are only three wines, none of which is made from Illinois grapes, based on the wine labels.

See: Southern Illinois Winery Bets on Gambling Expansion 


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.