Vintage Illinois Sets Single Day Attendance Record
Vintage Illinois drew over 8,000 visitors on Saturday, September 17th according to Jill Joyce, Vintage Illinois Planning Committee member. Vintage Illinois is in its 8th year and is held annually Mattheissen State Park near Ottawa, IL, about 100 miles west of Chicago. Sunday attendance was limited by rainy weather to about 2,000, said Joyce who is also Sales Manager at August Hill Winery in Utica, Illinois.
This year, Vintage Illinois had over 3,000 internet pre-sales, a record number. If admission was purchased in advance on-line, visitors received a commemorative glass and 7 tasting tickets for $15. For admissions purchased at the festival, the number of tasting tickets was reduced to five for the same entry fee.
Joyce said three additional wineries were added to bring the total number of exhibitors to 28 for this year’s event.
A portion of tasting ticket sales is shared with participating wineries. Joyce said that some of the gate revenue is donated to the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association which has seen its support from the state of Illinois reduced in recent years. Proceeds from Vintage Illinois 2010 was also used to fund a presentation of “Wine Chemistry Basics for Midwestern Winemakers” by Clark Smith at Galena Cellars Winery in Galena, Illinois during April 2011. Joyce said that a goal for Vintage Illinois is continuing to help pay for educational events for Illinois wine makers.
For Cris Willet of Willett’s Winery in Manito, Illinois this was the fourth year of participation in Vintage Illinois. She reported strong sales this year of both bottles and single glasses. “More and more visitors to our booth this year were requesting specific varietals,” she said. “That’s very exciting to us that consumers now recognize and want a certain type of local wine.”
Cris Willett, Willett’s Winery and Cellar, Manito, IL
Vintage Illinois, Mattheissen State Park, September 17, 2011
Jim Ewers, Blue Sky Vineyards, Makanda, IL
Brad Genung, Owl Creek Vineyard, Cobden, IL
Greg Fisher, Wild Blossom Meadery and Winery, Chicago
Megan Block, Nicole Haas, Rachel Kenny, Massbach Ridge Winery, Elizabeth, IL
Having a wine festival in your area? Please let us know. We will include your event in our upcoming calendar.