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.