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The Mission of the Northern Illinois Wine Growers

  • disseminate knowledge about wine grape growing in Northern Illinois

  • test new varieties of grape as to winter hardiness

  • make wine from experimental varieties to evaluate and share

  • provide a forum for winemakers to network

  • promote the selection of several "signature" northern Illinois wines

  • encourage and assist new growers, to benefit the wineries

The Northern Illinois Wine Growers (NIWG) association was formed in 1998.  NIWG is a non-profit organization with the goal of informing and educating the public about new grape varieties that have been developed specifically for our region. The new varieties and resulting wines have different names from the more familiar, commercially available wines that most people know. The established varieties have been developed over centuries. NIWG's wines have been developed over the last few decades, with most in only the last 10-15 years (and more being developed!). Being the "new kid on the block," NIWG hopes to appeal to those adventurous, pioneering spirits that are looking to explore and discover new tasting frontiers.

NIWG is primarily comprised of winemakers and grape growers at both the professional and amateur levels, each contributing to the understanding of this developing industry and its needs. The professional levels provide invaluable insight and appreciation of the industry's more current needs for success from both the agricultural and vintner business perspectives, while the amateur levels provide an avenue for experimentation in meeting future needs. NIWG is fortunate enough to have been gifted an experimental vineyard for the last 16 years that currently has 25 grape varieties that are being grown and researched. Quality and production levels are monitored for each variety. At harvest time, the amateur winemakers experiment with various winemaking methods and the blending of varieties in search of new regional wines made from our local grapes.


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