Who says you have to go to Napa or France to get that perfect blend of scenic beauty and mouth-watering wine? Clearly, they’ve never been to Starved Rock Country. Between the Instagram-worthy vistas and the burgeoning wine scene, this region of Illinois is turning into a paradise for those who love their landscapes to come with a dry red or sweet white.
Wine Festivals: Culture with a Splash of Cabernet
Starved Rock Country has multiple wine festivals throughout the year. Similar to different wine regions, each festival has its own personality and flavor. Looking for warm summer weather on the water? Ottawa 2 Rivers Wine Festival in June has you covered. Do you love savoring the start of fall? The Vintage Illinois Wine Festival in September is the perfect festival to savor the wine and the changing seasons. Finally, do you prefer Art and Culture along with your cabernet? The annual Ottawa Wine & Art Walk is a calendar highlight in November of each year.
Nearby Wineries and Tasting Rooms: No Passport Required
You can cheers amid the backdrop of Starved Rock Country’s natural beauty. Yes, you can swirl, sniff, and sip while nature puts on a show around you. Talk about a multi-sensory experience. Many wineries and local restaurants have terrific wine lists and some of our favorites include:
August Hill Winery and Vineyard Participate in a signature tasting or flight paired with savory small bites in a relaxed atmosphere. August Hill’s tasting room is located in charming downtown Utica or explore the Vineyard and the Cave Tasting Experience near where the grapes are grown in Peru on a vista overlooking the Illinois River.
Catseye Wine Bar, an eclectic wine bar with urban vintage charm in downtown Ottawa. With a menu of 50+ wines and inspired small bites it’s the perfect destination to wind down your day.
Clarks Run Antiques, Gifts & Wine The motto “don’t be up a creek without a bottle” can be solved here with local and global wine tastings and bottle sales as well as the treasure hunt of antiquing in downtown Utica.
Montage Wine Bar & Spirits specializes in unique, allocated wines from around the world served in Morris. Their passion is wine and their goal is to get new wine drinkers as well as the wine connoisseur to step outside the normal Pinot Grigio & Merlot box.
Gilted Edge Winery is a small family-owned winery in Newark. Their passion is to create wine that everyone can enjoy together. They specialize in fruit wines with traditional varieties as well like Cabernet, Merlot and Moscato which can be sampled on their tasting menu.
The Harbor Inn: Your Home Base for Wine Adventures
After a day of sipping and sampling, you need a cozy spot to unwind and relax. The Harbor Inn by Heritage Harbor has you covered. Situated conveniently in Starved Rock Country near downtown Ottawa, it’s the ideal home base for all your wine adventures. Picture this: you, on your private balcony, overlooking the beautiful Illinois River, but now with a glass of local wine in hand. Heaven, am I right?
Wrap it Up and Put a Cork In It
So, whether you’re a wine novice who can’t tell a Bordeaux from a boxed wine or a seasoned sommelier, Starved Rock Country’s got something for you. From the many local wine festivals to nearby wineries and the cherry on top—the Harbor Inn—this place makes it incredibly easy to wine down in style.