Hickory Ridge Vineyards & Winery is a quaint establishment owned by Ron and Sylvia Presswood in the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail. Located back off the road, nestled behind trees and overlooking the vineyards, the small rustic tasting room provides a nice escape from the hustle and bustle of the city.
My recent visit occurred during a slow weekday afternoon, so I could enjoy a visit with Sylvia. She and Ron have owned the land since 1979, and started the vineyard in 2000. The first harvest came in 2003 and the tasting room opened in 2007.
The Presswoods use only grapes grown in their own vineyards, with varieties including Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cayuga White, Chambourcin, Norton, Petite Verdot, and Traminette.
The following is a list of the wines I selected for my tasting that day, along with the winery’s tasting notes.
Traminette – Crisp, clean, dry white made in the Austrian style. Gewirtztraminer hybrid.
2015 Chambourcin Reserve – Balanced, medium-bodied smooth dry red. (Double Gold 2015 – Illinois State Fair Wine Competition)
2014 Norton – Very complex, full-bodied dry red. (Governors Cup 2017 – Illinois State Fair Wine Competition)
2014 The Other Side – Full-bodied dry red blend made from 50% Chambourcin and 50% Norton grapes. (Best of Class 2015 – Illinois State Fair Wine Competition)
2014 Widow’s Kiss – Complex blend of Chambourcin and Cabernet Franc “Smooth as a widow’s kiss”. (Double Gold 2018 – Illinois State Fair Wine Competition)
There are several other selections available. This was a wonderful place to visit and I’m looking forward to returning some day to relax and enjoy the location and atmosphere even more.