Most wine connoisseurs will know that vineyards are found in all U.S. states. Yes, even in Alaska there are wineries! So it wouldn’t come as a surprise that you can also find vineyards in the state of Illinois, despite the state’s frigid winters.
It is, however, somewhat more challenging to find a vineyard or a winery in the Chicago area, where practically all land is dedicated to suburban community sports parks or forest preserves. So it is a bit surprising to discover a great winery in Long Grove, Illinois, by the name of Valentino Vineyards.
To reach the 20-acre vineyard, you need to drive through typical suburban Chicago neighborhoods while using 2-lane streets that are full of parked cars. It couldn’t get any more suburbian, so it will definitely come as a surprise that all of a sudden, you’ll find yourself on a small country road that leads you to the relatively small vineyard.
Sure, I know it’s a long way from Illinois to California’s Central Valley but for students interested in the wine industry, Fresno State University offers a one-of-a-kind education.
Fresno State Winery produces a wide variety of award-winning wines from the most popular and well-known of varietals such as Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, to up-and-coming varieties like Syrah and Viognier and to lesser-known wines that are made in small batches. Here, students get a Top Wine Education at Fresno State.
Fresno State was the first American university that received a license to set up, operate, and exploit a winery within the school’s overall educational programs.
Fresno State University’s Agricultural Foundation is funding and running the winery. The foundation is a recognized auxiliary organization on the school’s campus and it operates and manages also other agricultural enterprises to support the hands-on learning and training experience for the school’s students.
To gain admission to this extraordinary education option, applicants need to hold at least a high school or equivalent degree. If that’s a problem, students interested in the one-of-a-kind education can always register for a good online GED course and earn their equivalency diplomas.
Valentino Vineyards and Winery was founded in 1995 and in 2001, the winery opened its doors to the public. It is one of Chicagoland’s Leading Estate Vineyards and Wineries. The winery invites you to stop by to visit their impressive vineyard and sample their interesting wines.
Valentino’s Tasting Room is open from May through December on Fridays from 5 to 7 pm, on Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm, and on Sundays from Noon to 4 pm. To enjoy a taste of their great wines, you can just walk in during opening hours. There are also Vineyard Tours and Wine Tasting and Appreciation Seminars, but these events are by reservation only.
For groups of 20 or more, Valentino Vineyards and Winery is also available on Mondays through Thursdays but making an appointment is (understandably) required. For reservations, or to purchase some of the estate’s great wines, please call (847) 634-2831.
Valentino Vineyards and Winery is located in Long Grove, Illinois, and run by Vintner and Viticulturist Rudolph (Rudy) DiTomasso and his spouse Vivienne. The address is 5175 Aptakisic Road, Long Grove, IL. 60047.
The cork dilemma all began at the end of the 1990s when the production of wine in the world blossomed in the “New World” countries of the US, Chile, Argentina, and Australia among others.
The demand for natural cork was high and the supply couldn’t meet the demand, likewise, many of the new wineries needed more economical cork solutions to enter into the market at affordable prices, this led to an expanded use of micro-agglomerated corks (natural cork glued together) and technical corks (not 100% natural cork).
You all know what happened next, around 10% of all bottles of wine were “corked” or tainted with cork smells. Many solutions have appeared on the market as alternatives to natural cork: screw caps, synthetic corks, Vinolok, and Nomacorc.
I had the privilege to meet the Nomacorc team at the annual Enomaq tradeshow in Zaragoza. They presented me with a Sommelier Challenge (kind of like the Pepsi Challenge), a tasting of the same white wine sealed with different models of Nomacorc with different amounts of “Nano-oxygenation”.