15 S. Roselle Road
Roselle, IL 60172
Many people decide to become members after visiting Lynfred Winery once. Not only will you get monthly wines, but why not stop in for a tasting once a month when you come pick them up? Tastings are $7-$10 for members and the wine lineup changes monthly! Lynfred is also a bed and breakfast and has an extensive gift shop if you feel like making a little getaway out of the experience. The “Epicurean Experience” is also a perfect date activity ($23 for members) and includes full pours of three wines, a white, a red and a fruit all paired with appetizers. The chef will come out and explain each dish and a server will check on you throughout, no tips accepted!
395 West Cedarville Road
Located in Rockford, Famous Fossil is open year-round and you are free to stop by any time for a tasting! They appreciate notice if you have a group of eight or more, especially if they’ll be wanting to eat, but reservations are not required. Famous Fossil is home to twelve different cold weather grape varietals. In addition to sampling the wine, they offer a savory cheese and sausage plate every day if you’d like to pair it with your tasting. Meals are available for private parties and there are special events offered throughout the year.
Glunz Family Winery
888 E. Belvidere Road
Grayslake, IL 60030
Blink and you’ll miss it. Glunz Family Winery is tucked away in a storefront, but it’s definitely a secret worth finding! They have a good variety of wine and also offer some good seasonal varieties. Their standard white and red wines are very drinkable, but they are known for the sweeter vintages; the Gloogs, the May Wine and the Sangrias are their specialties. Return empty bottles from previous visits and you can score $2 off.
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5175 Aptakisic Road
Long Grove, IL
If you’re into going organice and knowing exactly what goes into your wine and how it’s harvested, Valentino Vinyards is your dream come true. Run by a passionate husband and wife, the vineyard doesn’t use machinery, but rather hand picks it’s grapes. There are also no added sulfites (bonus if you’re trying to avoid that next-day wine headache), only the sulfites that occur naturally are allowed to stay. Budget two hours for the tour and tasting, Rudy Valentino likes to go in detail explaining his wines and what foods may go well with them. It may be best to eat before you go, no nibbles are offered during the tasting.
8837 South Massbach Road
If you’d like to hit more than one winery, Massbach Ridge Winery in Elizabeth, Illinois is not far from Galena and, in fact, has a tasting room right in the city of Galena if you don’t want to relocate. However, you can tour the vineyard and have a tasting on site at the winery as well if you prefer. Whether it’s cool or warm, Massbach has ambiance to taste while you enjoy your wine; specifically, a fireplace in the winter and an outdoor patio overlooking the vineyard in the summer.