|6/18/2014 10:25:00 AM|
Wine, music draw visitors
|NewsTribune photo/Chris Yucus|
Glasses hang waiting for customers to choose a wine tasting at Illinois River Winery in Utica. The winery is just one of several in an area 50 miles surrounding La Salle.
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Oklahoma’s tourism and agriculture departments are launching separate initiatives hoping to entice visitors to the state this summer through wine and music.
Rhythm & Routes will showcase musical artists and venues while Oklahoma Wine Trails showcases wineries through “trails” — itineraries that will take visitors across the state. Oklahoma Tourism Department spokeswoman Leslie Blair said people will be able to use the agency’s website to find their favorite artist and develop itineraries based on that person’s life.
Starting July 1, the site will include interviews, photos and other memorabilia.
“If you look at all the musical stars and the innovations that have come out of Oklahoma, it’s really impressive,” Blair said. “These are people — say, Reba, Vince, Garth, Kristin Chenoweth — people instantly know who you’re talking about. People may not realize they’re from Oklahoma, and so I think it’s important for us to recognize the great, talented individuals and also not just individuals, but venues.”
The first phase of the rollout of Rhythm & Routes is made up of 43 artists and venues, including Bob Wills, Carrie Underwood, Hanson, Kings of Leon, Vince Gill, Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire and Cain’s Ballroom.
The Oklahoma Wine Trails features 10 different itineraries featuring a handful of wineries grouped together by location to showcase the state’s booming wine industry, said agritourism program administrator Jamie Cummings.
Before 2000, the state had just four wineries. Now it has more than 60, and half of those are featured in the wine trails, Cummings said.
“Oklahoma had a huge winery industry before Prohibition and then the Dust Bowl kind of wiped it all out. The grapes do grow here. Most people are surprised by that,” Cummings said.
Trail visitors can choose a more urban experience around Tulsa or Oklahoma, a trail that follows Route 66 or others that are in more rural areas. Participants will receive stickers at each winery they visit and once they complete a trail they can send in for a wine charm.
“The whole goal with this is to bring attention to what those areas can provide for, like I said, a day trip or even a weekend trip. Just getting on the road and checking out ... how beautiful it can be when you drive across rural Oklahoma,” Cummings said.
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Illinois Valley wine tour
Illinois’ tourism website, enjoyillinois.com, is one place to start your wine tour. The interactive site lets you choose a region or distance to develop your own tour. A complete listing of all wineries and vineyards in the state are listed.
Below is a listing of local wineries within 50 miles of La Salle and a place where you can start your wine tour.
Illinois River Winery, 723 S. Clark St./Route 178 Utica, (815) 667-4012. Tour the winery, visit the tasting room and outdoor wine garden, featuring award-winning wines made in the Illinois River Valley. Open everyday. www.illinoisriverwinery.com
August Hill Winery, 106 Mill St.Utica (815) 667-5211 Wine tastings and flights, wine gifts and accessories, gallery of local art, outdoor patio, private events. Open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Thursday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Saturday; and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday. www.augusthillwinery.com
Waterman Winery & Vineyards, 11582 Waterman Road Waterman, (815) 264-3268, Waterman Winery produces wine made from homegrown grapes in DeKalb County. Wine tasting events and tours upon request. www.sunsetwines.net/
Fox Valley Winery, 5600 U.S. 34 Oswego (630) 554-0404. Just west of Chicago in the Fox River Valley. Whether you prefer red, white, dry or sweet, you’ll find a choice for your palate at Fox Valley Winery. www.foxvalleywinery.com
Acquaviva Winery, 47W614 Ill. Rt. 38 Maple Park, (630) 365-0333. Family-owned vineyard and winery that includes a tasting bar, Neapolitan-style pizza bistro with foods paired to accompany the wines, retail market place, private event space and a visible winemaking production center. www.acquavivawinery.com/
Indian Creek Vineyard, RR 2, Box 133, Toulon, (309) 286-5302. Remodeled barn that serves as a wine shop and a bed and breakfast in a historic home overlooking the vineyard. All located on a sesquicentennial farm. www.indiancreekvineyard.com
— List compiled by Cynthia Rolando
If you'd like to comment on this article, please log in or click here to subscribe.