|By CINDY LADAGE
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — The ninth Illinois Products Expo, March 3-4, came to the Orr building at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. Along with the Expo, Illinois vintners were on hand with the Illinois Wine and Cheese Garden.
Sherry Campbell, director of external relations for the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Assoc. greeted visitors and sold tickets for those that wished to join in the wine tasting. Wineries on hand included vineyards from the Shawnee wine trail such as the Shawnee Winery, Alto Vineyard Hogg Hollow Winery and Massbach Ridge Winery.
Other wineries such as the Fox Valley Winery premiered their 2005 Illinois State Fair, Gold wine, Grandma’s Blush. The Mary Michelle Wines from Carrollton, Ill. offered a variety of dry, semi-dry and sweet wines.
The Collver Family Winery at Barry, Ill. offers not only a vast array of wines, but also comedy dinner theater with a twist.
The next scheduled dinner is on Saturday March 17, When Irish Eyes are Drying followed by the April 7 Who Killed the American Idol? Call 217-335-3270 or log onto www.collverfamilywinery.com for details. The Expo’s Larry Aldage deemed the event a success.
“Saturday we had 3,226 visitors. Sunday is always our best day. I think this will be the best attendance on record,” Aldage said. “We have 55 vendors here and 14 wineries for a total of 69 products offered.”
Other beverages besides wine were also offered from Homeplace of Charleston Ill. They had what they touted as, “a taste of quality from the past.” Homeplace offers a choice of Root Beer and Green Apple Custom Flavors, along with dark chocolate blueberry and strawberry candy.