June 9, 2018, Scott Morris
I was so pleased that the rain held off long enough for me to attend and enjoy the 2018 Uncork Urbana Wine Festival on Saturday, June 9. There was live entertainment, cooking demonstrations, and food trucks that add to the experience, but I’m all about the wine. This is my second year in attendance, and I must say the wine selections this year were even better than last year; yes I do remember. The following six wineries presented at this year’s event. Since there are only so many selections, I’m highlighting a few of my favorites.
- Castle Finn Vineyard & Winery (Marshall, IL) – Castle Finn is located in the East Central Illinois Wine Trail. On the semi-sweet side, they provided their “Castle Finn White” (Cayuga). I enjoy a good Chambourcin, and they had both oaked and unoaked samples, “Kickapoo Red” (Oak Chips in Stainless Steel) and “Bell Ridge Red” (Unoaked). Both were very good.
- Creekside Vineyards (Coal Valley, IL) – Creekside comes from the Quad Cities area in Illinois and is part of the Northern Illinois Wine Trail. The wines provided for the tasting included “First Kiss” (Marechal Foch), “Crooked Owl” (Corot Noir), and “Front Porch” (Traminette).
- Kickapoo Creek Winery (Edwards, IL) – Kickapoo Creek is part of the Illinois River Wine Trail, and has a portfolio of more infused, sweet, and semi-sweet than dry wines. I enjoyed the “Red October” (Blend of Norton, Chancellor, and Foch). My daughter enjoyed the “Sun Kiss” (Blend of Vignoles and Seyval Blanc) but it was a bit too sweet for me.
- Vahling Vineyards (Stewardson, IL) – Vahling Vineyards is located in the East Central Illinois Wine Trail. A few of the wines they presented, that I preferred, include “Deer Head Red” (Full-bodied, aged in French Oak) and although much lighter than I prefer a “Chardonnay” (Unoaked, Chilean Grapes). They also had a very good sweet “Strawberry” wine.
- Walnut Street Winery (Rochester, IL) – Walnut Street has a large selection of wines; mostly of grape varieties from outside the Midwestern US region. They ship grape juices and concentrates in from all over the world (California, Oregon, Washington, Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Germany, France, Argentina, Italy, and more). I truly enjoyed every wine I tried, including; “Cabernet Sauvignon”, “Big Daddy Red” (Malbec), “Chardonnay”, “Pinot Grigio”, “Reisling”. All of their wines are aged in stainless steel and oaked with chips where needed.
- Wyldewood Cellars Winery (St. Joseph, IL) – Also located in the East Central Illinois Wine Trail, Wyldewood repeated their presence at the festival. As usual, their dry “Elderberry” wines are always very good, along with “Prairie Sunshine” a crisp white semi-sweet wine.
It’s always great to speak to the winery owners and personnel. So much of the wine experience comes from taking to the creators of the wines and sharing their enthusiasm for what they do.