Shawnee Hills Wine Trail Association c/o Pomona Winery
2865 Hickory Ridge Rd
Pomona Illinois 62975United States
Midwest Living Recommends
Even without the allure of vines and wines, the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail beckons travelers with winding, scenic country roads through the state's southernmost tip.
Escape Interstate 57 south of Carbondale and head west to Illinois' first and most award-winning wine trail. It winds 30 miles through the small towns and forests of Jackson and Union Counties. Grapes such as Charmbourcin thrive in this mild region, and the secret's out with the number of vineyards booming from three in 1995 to a dozen today. Each has its own flavor, both in the bottle and in atmosphere. You'll find everything from Tuscan-themed Blue Sky Vineyard to Swedish-themed Hedman Winery that's based in a barn. Plan at least several hours for the first four wineries east of Cobden and then again to visit the remaining ones along a zig-zag route northwest of Cobden. Even better: Settle into a vineyard B&B and give yourself at least two days to leisurely explore the trail. That allows time to antique in small villages, savor the cuisine, take a hike, and toast the sunset with your favorite wines.