CHICAGO (CBS) — 25,000 gallons of wine are produced every year at Fox Valley Winery in Oswego, who specialize in creating small lots of handcrafted, award-winning wines.
Many of the winery’s varieties are made from estate grown, single-vineyard Illinois grapes. At Fox Valley Winery, located off of Route 34, customers can enjoy a roaring fire, browse through locally-made wares and sample an assortment of the Faltz family wine.
“We do tastings every day,” said Mike Faltz, who is the son of owner and winemaker Richard Faltz. “You want to try it before you buy it? Come right up to the counter,” Richard added.
Their inviting tasting room, which extends from an indoor fireplace to a spacious brick patio outside, features wood carvings, hand-painted glass items, pottery and artisan cheeses. They also offer tours of their wine making facility.
“We love showing off our state-of-the-art equipment, hand-hewn oak barrels, stainless steel processing tanks and our highspeed bottling line.”
Wine making at Fox Valley Winery is science-based, and took research that the Faltz spent years studying in the Midwest.
“By 1998, I felt that we had answered the questions ‘could you grow grapes in Illinois,'” Richard said. “And, for us, we’ve been increasing our grape production from our own vineyards about 20 to 25 percent a year for the last several years.”
The winery’s vineyard sits on 26 acres near Sheridan, Illinois. “It’s on the North bank of the Fox River, so we have a South-facing exposure,” Richard said.
Mike says they make a dry red, a sweet white, a rosé and ciders. Furthermore, the wine’s labels, which are dedicated to his grandmothers, also poke a little fun at the state.
“The newest label is called ‘corruption,'” Mike joked. “We’re in Illinois — celebrating Illinois, right?” Richard said, chiming in.