Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Hopeful Wine Trail

On Tuesday in the local paper in these here parts, the Managing Editor had a column titled "New Wine Trail Adds to Tourism Opportunities in East-Central Illinois."

When I think of Illinois, wine is not a product I associate with the Prairie State. But the author, Bill Lair, points out the growing list of wineries in East-Central Illinois, many of which I had no idea about until yesterday. The one I did know about was Cameo Vineyards in Greenup, but some of the wineries mentioned are southeast of the Nasty family homestead here in Chucktown. They're located pretty close to Indiana in the Wabash River Valley, which isn't that far of drive.

But the wine areas I've frequented (the Finger Lakes region in upstate New York, the Mt. Pleasant area and the quaint town of Hermann in Missouri), have a more concentrated aspect to them. All those wineries are bunched together. With the Missouri wineries, the towns are close to the Missouri River, and they reflect a Germanic heritage. You not only get Germanic style wines, but in Hermann there's also opportunities to get your wurst on.

Uhmmmm ... sausages. Meat in tubular form. Me like lot.

What I'm getting to here is that the wine "trail" Lair pitches seems to entail a lot of driving.

And if we're talking wine, I'm not fond of sweet wine, which is featured in the editorial for whatever reason. I like able-bodied red wines. Mrs. Nasty, however, likes the white stuff, especially that ice wine from Wagner Vineyards that we discovered from our travel to Elmira, NY when I presented a paper at an International Conference on Mark Twain Studies back in grad school.

So I'm for these wineries producing some strong red wines, maybe some of that native Norton grape.

But the editor is also idealistically calling for a microbrewery in the area. I'm for that too of course, but it'll be tough market with college students who inhale Keystone Light and a limited population when college isn't in session.

But when I think about it, over in Kirksville, MO where I went to undergrad and got my Master's, in a town of 17K there was and hopefully still is a small microbrewery in operation. It opened long after I left that dusty hamlet in '98. Damn you Fates.

And besides the town of Kirksville, there isn't much around in Northeast Missouri. At least if a brewpub opened here in Chucktown or Mattoon, the establishment could pull from larger neighboring towns.

Or maybe I'm just being idealistic.


TNWT said...

Your wine trail post brings up interesting points, ~ available Illinois state wines and your addressing Norton grape wines. To date there are 238 Norton wineries in 23 states. Your readers maybe shocked that Illinois has the third highest number of these wineries (Missouri 81, Virginia 35, Illinois 25). Has anyone tried to design a "Grape Specific Varietal Wine Trail" in your state? This has the possibility of chasing tourism in a unique manner. I just looked up and found five Illinois vineyards are members (two serving Norton wines). I'd be glad to share with you the 35 vineyard names if I had a way of contacting you via this blog.

Quintilian B. Nasty said...

Thanks for the great info, TNWT. I'm interested in trying different wineries' Nortons. Just send the names of the vineyards to my email. Thanks.

TNWT said...

Seemingly, I had no options for your email address? Tried sending the Illinois Norton listings to you to no avail. Yep, even Alabama has an interesting Norton (Southern Oaks' "Burgundy" in Anniston, AL).