Illinois is one of the fastest growing wine producing states in the U.S. The number of Illinois wineries and vineyards increased by over 150% between 1991 and 2007, with an average of five new Illinois wineries opening each year.
French-American hybrids and native American grapes are the primary grapes planted, with Chambourcin and Norton increasing in popularity. In addition to a large number of wineries in the southern part of the state, there are numerous wineries conveniently located near the St. Louis and Chicago metropolitan areas.
Tours typically last from 30 to 60 minutes per tour and they are well worth your time to check out the different ones. Each one has their own flavors, beauty, and charm to experience.
What is even more awesome is that most wineries offer free samples of their wines when you go through a tour as well. Some do more formal tasting events as well. The tours are extremely interesting and fun to do too. They aren't just there to sample the wine that you're looking forward to but are actually very informative and you get to meet a lot of like-minded people usually that are also doing the tour. It's always nice to a fellow wine lover! - Be sure to call ahead if you are planning on doing a tour at one of the wineries or vineyards though to check on availability since many of them get very busy during season.