As the farm economies of many states evolve, land owners are taking property once used for everything from dairy farming to tobacco growing and turning it into vineyards. Illinois is one state that does not instantly spring to mind when you think wine. However, a just released report from the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association indicates that could change in the coming years.
According to the report, nearly 2,300 people now work in vineyard and winery business in the state. The industry has more than a $250 million economic impact on the state. The growth has picked up steam during the last decade with 68 new wineries coming on line.
While distribution of Illinois wine is expanding in restaurants and retail stores, most is sold at the wineries to visitors. Wineries are good corporate citizens, paying $11.9 million in taxes to the State of Illinois.