Located just south of Carbondale in the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail, you will find Kite Hill Vineyards. Not only do owners Jim and Barbara Bush have the vineyards and winery, but they also operate a Bed & Breakfast that is located at the vineyard.
My recent visit occurred on a Friday afternoon, during a slow period, so it provided an opportunity to visit with Barbara. She and Jim came from the Chicago area, where she was an executive event coordinator and he was a cable splicer. Needless to say, the slower pace of the vineyard was quite a change. They bought the property in 2006. It had previously been apple orchards from 1980-1997, and then became the winery and bed & breakfast prior to their ownership.
After experimentation over the first several years, the Bushes have had much success, including receipt of three awards in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition in 2015, one of the country’s largest judged wine events.The winery’s Chambourcin took home a Gold medal, while the Viognier and the Chardonel were awarded Silver medals. Kite Hill has also won additional awards at the Indy International and Illinois State Fair wine competitions. Scott Albert is the winemaker for Kite Hill, and these are just a few of his creations.
The following is a list of the wines I selected for my tasting, along with the winery’s tasting notes.
Viognier – An aromatic white variety, Viognier is fruit forward with peach, pineapple, and herbal characters.
Kite Hill Blanc – Aromas of honeysuckle and lemongrass lead to a refreshing, tart finish. A blend of 80% Viognier and 20% Traminette.
Rosé – We love the ripe red raspberry aromas and juicy watermelon on the palate. Estate Bottled
Chambourcin – Displays aromas of blackberry jam, ripe plum, and herbal spiciness. It is medium bodied, with rich structured tannins. Excellent with grilled meats and chocolate dessert. Gold Medal Winner, Indianapolis International & State Competition. Estate Bottled
Noir – A light bodied blend of 75% Chambourcin and 25% Chancellor. Flavors of cherry and brambleberries make this an excellent year round red.Estate Bottled
White Kite – A blend of Niagara and Traminette grapes. This floral wine has flavors of citrus and melon. Gold Medal Winner State Competition
They have several other selections including a fruit Roses, sweet Apricot, and Kite Hill Slushies. The entire list is available on the winery website.
I’d like to thank Barbara for being a wonderful host, and hope to get a chance to visit again.