Lawlor honored with lifetime achievement award PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Agribusiness
Written by Janelle Keeffer   
Tuesday, 21 February 2012 09:47

Christine (Chris) Lawlor-White was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Association at their recent three-day annual conference held at the Crowne Plaza in Springfield. More than 250 growers, vintners, and enthusiasts from all across Illinois gathered to learn new techniques from experts from as far as Texas and California. The event culminated with a six-course gourmet food and wine pairing dinner and awards ceremony.

Lawlor-White, winemaker and co-owner at Galena Cellars Vineyard & Winery, received her formal degree in enology and viticulture from Fresno State University. She graduated in 1976 as one of the first women in the United States to earn a degree in enology.  She opened her first winery in McGregor, Iowa, in 1976 where she produced 500 gallons of Cherry Wine. Two years later, she moved to Lacrosse, Wisconsin, expanding her operations. In 1985, she found her home in Galena, Illinois and opened Galena Cellars with her parents and brother, Scott.

Chris is currently responsible for crafting more than 40 varieties and 60,000 gallons of wine annually. She is an expert in not only the science of winemaking but also the art of blending varietals to make distinctive wines. One of her greatest contributions to Illinois Wine Industry is her role in promoting the quality and acceptance of Illinois Wine in the state and nationally. She was honored three times as IGGVA’s “Winemaker of the Year”—in 2001, 2006 and 2007.

The Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association, established in 1992, is a non-profit organization dedicated to developing the viticulture and enology interests of Illinois through information exchange and cooperation among Illinois grape producers and vintners.  The Illinois wine industry has exploded in recent years, growing from just 12 wineries in 1997 to more than 90 today. During this time, the acreage devoted to grape production has grown at a tremendous rate, and today Illinois is consistently among the top 12 wine-producing states.  Today the Illinois wine industry creates a direct economic impact of more than $319 million annually. The wineries that span Illinois have also brought with them a host of charming bed and breakfasts and local craft businesses. The Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association predicts continued growth in the coming years as more visitors discover the genuine culture of Illinois Wine Country.

Galena Cellars Vineyard, in rural Galena, Illinois, is home to 22 different specialty grapes, many of which are hybrids developed by universities throughout the country in an effort to create a vine and grape with the hardiness needed to grow in this region. The vineyard is open to the public April through November for tours, tastings and special events. Galena Cellars also offers tasting rooms, wine patios and gift shops in downtown Galena and Geneva, Illinois.


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