The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail offers award-winning, Illinois wines, unique experiences, friendly service and all you need to relax, unwind and enjoy. We invite you to explore and experience the twelve unique wineries that make up the wine trail. Indulge in what our land has to offer and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Shawnee National Forest which surrounds our wineries. Experience an authentic wine culture as you travel from winery to winery through some of the most beautiful countryside in the Midwest. Come for the wine. Stay for the experience.
Seasons Openyear round
The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail is 100% located within the Shawnee Hills American Viticultural Area.
The “Shawnee Hills” region was designated as Illinois’ first American Viticultural Area (AVA) on December 27, 2006 by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. This designation established the region within the Shawnee Hills boundary as a unique grape growing area in southern Illinois and brings validity to our beliefs in the promise of the area.
The AVA designation allows winemakers to include the "Shawnee Hills" region name on any wines that include 85 percent or more of their volume derived from grapes grown within the AVA, re-assuring consumers that wines with the Shawnee Hills designation on the label are enriched by the region's characteristic grape attributes.
Ted Wichmann, who submitted the application for the AVA designation, founder of Owl Creek Vineyard, said, "The AVA designation earns Shawnee Hills a place on the map along with the nation's most respected wine regions. More importantly, in a wine world that's becoming increasingly homogenized, the AVA stamp confirms the Shawnee Hills region's capability for producing unique wines that are distinctly Illinois."
Locally or Family-Owned Business Notes
In the Summer of 1995, the owners of the first three wineries in southern Illinois, Alto Vineyards, Pomona Winery, and Owl Creek Vineyard, recognized that their wineries had untapped tourism potential. With this in mind, they worked together with the Carbondale Convention & Tourism Bureau and the Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau and the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail was born. It was the first designated wine trail in the state of Illinois.
We invite you to visit the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, located in the rugged hills and dense forests of deep southern Illinois. Experience an authentic wine culture as you travel from winery to winery through some of the most beautiful countryside in the Midwest. We offer twelve unique, friendly wineries dotting a well marked 40-mile wine trail. Each boasts its own individual style and showcases a diverse array of award-winning wines, making the journey a pleasant adventure that will easily fill a long weekend getaway.
The winemakers along the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail collaborate and share winemaking tips and processes that collectively help us improve our wines. We are all very proud of the fact that the wines create d by our vintners have been recognized in numerous competitions for the technical quality and exceptional flavor profiles that are unique to our wine-grape growing region. Our wines can and do compete with wines from all over the world. Noteworthy accolades include wines that have won: Governors' Cup, Best in Show and Best in Class awards. Shawnee Hills Wine Trail wine was even served at the 2009 Presidential Inauguration. Join us along the trail in sipping some of the finest wine that Illinois has to offer.
Always a reason to applaud, our wineries offer a variety of unique opportunities to enhance your wine tasting experience. Enjoy some of our local flair with creative, fun dinners along the trail that match a variety of local cuisine to our delicious wines. Many wineries offer live music on the weekends or you can look for festivals celebrating holidays, supporting charity events, or just because. We are always looking for a reason to celebrate.
All twelve wineries have also paired up to create three wonderful weekends of savory wine and food pairings. We invite you to join us for a progressive tasting along the trail and enhance your appreciation and enjoyment of our wines paired with delicious samples. Events are held the first weekends of: March, August and November.
As the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail continues to expand, it is becoming more difficult to travel the whole trail in one day. Many Bed & Breakfasts, cabins and lodges have popped up in the area and most are booked solid throughout the year so to be sure to book your stay early. The Shawnee Hills Wine Trail looks forward to increasing growth and success in the years to come and we are especially proud of the new Shawnee Hills AVA designation which confirms our region's capability for producing unique wines.
This is a very exciting time for wine in the Shawnee Hills of southern Illinois. We invite you to come and see for yourself.