Local Winery Wins Big at Illinois State Fair Wine Competition Print
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Jennifer Mital   
Wednesday, 17 July 2013 14:53

2013 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition Winners Announced

SPRINGFIELD – Nearly 400 local wines were presented to twelve judges at the Illinois State Fair Wine Competition, June 17-19, 2013 held at Lincoln Land Community College.

Quad Cities’ own Creekside Vineyards Winery in Preemption, IL brought home 5 medals for its artisan wines, including:

  • Moonbeam 2012 La Crescent- GOLD (Best in Category)

  • Sweet Retreat 2012 Vignoles- SILVER

  • Blossom 2012 Vidal Blanc- SILVER

  • Rock Island Red 2011 Frontenac- BRONZE

  • Front Porch 2012 Traminette- BRONZE


Creekside Vineyards wines are available at its seasonal Wine Terrace in Coal Valley, its year round Tasting Room in Preemption IL, and various retail locations. “We’re honored our wines scored so well at this year’s competition; we pride ourselves in creating flavorful, high quality vintages. It is our hope that these results encourage people to explore not only our offerings, but those from other Illinois wineries as well,” commented Creekside Vineyards’ winemaker and owner John Mital.

A world-class panel of wine experts and enthusiasts judged the wines including:

  • Sarah Bowman, Southern Illinois University

  • Mel Runge, Indiana

  • Daniel Becker, Viticulturist

  • Jeffery Pankow, Blue Star Vineyard

  • Eric Da Costa, Rouge Wine Cellar, Inc.

  • August Mrozowski, Augie’s Front Burner and American Harvest Restaurant

  • Mary Lynn Gietl-Deloney, The Corkscrew Wine Emporium

  • Lindsay Record, Illinois Stewardship Alliance

  • Steve Somermeyer, Chateau Thomas Winery, Indiana

  • Jeffery Wheeler, University of Kentucky

  • Gordon Rouse, Minnesota

  • Dr. Bradley Taylor, Southern Illinois University


Judges were divided into three panels designed to provide a tremendous depth and variety of experience, with special emphasis on hybrid wine styles and sensory characteristics. Judging was based on color, balance, aroma, clarity, taste and finish. Entries were judged using a 20-point score card. All wines with a panel majority score of 17 and above received a gold medal, 15 and above received a silver medal and wines 12 and higher were awarded a bronze medal. All gold medal winners competed for the “Best of Class” and the “Best of Show” designations. The special recognition of “Governor’s Cup” was awarded to the best red, white, rosé, fruit, and dessert/sparkling wines produced from Illinois-grown fruit.

Best of Show went to Blue Sky Vineyard in Makanda, Illinois for their Chambourcin Reserve 2005. Made exclusively from estate grown Chambourcin, the Reserve is a full-bodied dry red Illinois wine with a smooth roasted oak character and hints of bright cherry and vanilla.

The Illinois Wine Competition awards Governor’s Cups for the top Illinois-grown grape or fruit wines. This year’s winners are:


Red Table: AcquaViva Winery Frontenac

White Table: Alto Vineyards Vidal Blanc

Blush/Rosé: Illinois Sparkling Co. Bride of Freak of Nature Sec

Fruit: Hedman Vineyards Peach Dessert

Dessert: Illinois Sparkling Co. Franken's French Hybrid Brut


Other awarded categories included Wines from any Appellation, Best of Show – Amateur Competition, and Label & Packaging. A complete list of results can be found at  http://www.illinoiswine.com/pdf/2013-wine-competition-results.pdf.

A ceremony and public tasting of the award-winning wines will be held Tuesday, August 13th at the Illinois Wine Experience during the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Illinois. The Illinois Wine Experience is housed in the Twilight Ballroom located on Central Avenue between the U.S. Cellular High Dive Show and the Coliseum.

When asked to comment on the significance of this year’s competition, Bradley Beam, the Illinois state enologist, and organizer of the contest, said, “The primary goal is to recognize the many outstanding wines produced in the state of Illinois. The number of medals awarded this year indicates that we, as an industry, are maintaining a very high degree of quality. For those entries that do not receive medals, the judges provide comments and feedback. While there are several wineries that produce wines of excellent quality year in and year out, it’s important to remember that many of the vineyards and wineries in Illinois are relatively inexperienced. This feedback should help winemakers avoid repeating mistakes, and ultimately help our industry continue to improve.”

The Illinois State Fair Wine Competition is sponsored and coordinated by the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association (IGGVA). For the third year, the competition was held at Lincoln Land Community College further cementing its strong partnership with IGGVA.

IGGVA 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 over 100 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 $600 million annually on the Illinois economy.

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