Orange Wine Time!

🍊Orange Wine…wine made from oranges right?!? 🚫WRONG!🚫

Orange Wine is made from white wine grapes with skin contact during fermentation! This process gives the wine a beautiful amber color…or ORANGE WINE!! In honor of celebrating such a fun and beautiful wine, Amanda Goodwin: The Real Housewine officially established National Orange Wine Day to be held on October 6th! (Perfect for getting in the the Halloween spirit too!😉🎃)

I was thrilled to be a small part in helping grow this trend…I was even more ecstatic to discover one of the many Illinois Wineries I love makes their own orange wines too!

I couldn’t be more excited to find that Mackinaw Valley Vineyard has been making their orange wine from Vignoles Grapes for years! Try some for yourself the next time you stop by!

To learn more and follow along with the orange wine shenanigans, be sure to follow the official Orange Wine Day Instagram here or check out the links below!

National Orange Wine Day Blog

National Orange Wine Day Instagram

The Real Housewine Instagram

Cheers to 200 Years; Illinois Rosé!

200 years ago on December 3, 1818, Illinois became the 21st State in the union. That means celebrating everything Illinois has built and grown ALL YEAR LONG!

Of course we can’t celebrate without Illinois Wine! In partnership with the Illinois Bicentennial Commission and the Illinois Department of Agriculture…The Illinois Grape Growers & Vintner’s Alliance has proudly announced that Illinois Grown Rosé is the official wine of the Illinois Bicentennial!

16 Illinois Rosé wines were chosen to represent our states unique wine industry! In order to be chosen, certain standards were put into place by different grape and wine experts in the industry. The wines went through many quality assurance and evaluation processes to be named a Bicentennial Wine.

Illinois Bicentennial Rosé Wines!

Alto Vineyards – 2017 Rosato

August Hill Winery – 2017 La Belle Rosé

August Hill Winery – Chambourcin Rosé

Blue Sky Vineyards – White Chambourcin

Danenberger Family Vineyards – LoveLocks 2017 Chambourcin Dry Rosé

Galena Cellars – Chambourcin Rosé

Galena Cellars – Frontenac Gris

Galena Cellars – Vineyard Rosé

Hidden Lake Winery – Chambourcin Rosé

Kite Hill Vineyards – Rosé

Massbach Ridge Winery – 2017 Sunrise Red Rosé Wine

Prairie State Winery – Chambourcin Rosé

Spirit Knob Winery – Day’s End

StarView Vineyards – Dry Rosé

Twelve Oaks Vineyard – Chambourcin Rosé

West of Wise Winery – Rosé

Rosé and lake time at Hidden Lake Winery

For more information about Illinois Wine and Bicentennial shenanigans, check out the links below!

Illinois Bicentennial Website

Illinois Wine Website

Official Illinois Rosé Blog

Enchantment Awaits You At This Hidden, Rural Illinois Winery

Photo from the Hidden Lake Winery website

Tucked away in the “Silent Forest” of rural Aviston, Illinois, you can find Hidden Lake Winery. The Silent Forest has been well known to hunters and foragers for years. During the early 1900s bootleggers would hide their stills in the forest to avoid revenuers. If you are a fan of folklore and ghost stories, you will love exploring the property with the Native American spirits that are said to still roam there.

Exploring the forest! Bonus points if you can spot the puppy!
Don’t be alarmed if the dog pack comes at you for some love!

In June of 2017, Steve and Angela Gorazd proudly took ownership of Hidden Lake Winery. Steve served for 30 years as a leader in the aviation field while Angela holds a Doctorate in nursing and is a nurse practitioner. They couldn’t be more proud to share their love and passion for wine making and grape growing!

Proud owners Steve and Angela Gorazd and the Hidden Lake Winery Family

If you’re looking for a Quick Getaway, there are 10 cabins on the property available for use!! From fun girls nights out, mid-week getaways with your love, to a special “Baby Moon” package for expecting parents, Hidden Lake Winery has something for everyone to enjoy!

Cabin photos from Hidden Lake Winery Website

Do NOT even get me started on the unlimited dream wedding ideas you can make come true at this beautiful place!

Wedding photos from the Hidden Lake Winery Facebook Page

A winery isn’t a winery without wine right? Hidden Lake Winery offers over 15 different and award winning wines that are produced in their own cellar and made from locally-grown fruits. Their own Vineyard was planted in April of 2017 and they expect to have their first harvest in 2021!

Not only do they produce delicious and award winning wines, they even help make a difference in nurses lives! For every purchase of their “Off Duty” semi-sweet wine, the winery donates $3 to helping nurses pay for their continuing education! Cheers to that!

Looking for a fun time out with your friends and loved ones? Remember when I mentioned this place has something for everyone…Hidden Lake is always keeping their schedule FULL of fun events like Pin-Up Competitions, Murder Mystery Dinner Theaters,  Cooking Classes and their own yearly “Winestock” Music & Wine festival!


If I haven’t made you want to check this place out for yourself by now…here are some more photos of the beautiful property that may just change your mind!

For more info about Hidden Lake Winery, or to just follow along with their many fun and exciting activities, check out the links below!




Sips n Snuggles; a Baby Goat and Wine Sampling Affair!

Tucked away on a little farm in Pocahontas, IL you will find Green Finned Hippy Farms; a locally grown organic farm owned by Josh & Alicia Davis. Their mission is “to help create different avenues for sustainable living using renewable energy to farm and produce a source of food and knowledge for the community.”

-Green Finned Hippy Farms:

Photo from the Green Finned Hippy Farms Facebook page

The farm hosts many fun events to get the community involved, including their annual Sips and Snuggles events! Have you ever wanted to sample different wines from around the world all while snuggling baby goats? Well now you can! Check out the Farm’s Facebook Page for all of their upcoming events!

This particular event was partnered with Fezziwigs Market located in O’ Fallon, Illinois. Fezziwigs Market is your one stop shop for wines, teas, tea accessories, olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and their private label gourmet foods.

Photos from Fezziwigs Market Website

These babies were o my 5 days old!

Teeny and Tiny the baby goats! These babies were only 5 days old!

In between goat cuddles, we had the opportunity to sample 8 different and delicious wines from around the world.

Goats do Roam-A South African wine with floral and pear scents. Very citric on the pallet.

Portlandia-A dry wine produced in Oregon that has very zesty moments of lemon meringue with a smooth critic finish.

Misty Cove Pinot Noir– A New Zealand wine with very earthy, fruity, banana like aromas. Medium finish.

Canella Bellini-This fruity cocktail made in Italy is a blend of two parts sparkling wine, one part white peach juice and parts from perfectly ripened peaches and raspberries. –Bellini Canella Website

Innocent Bystander Victoria Pink Moscato-Made in Australia this wine has very sugary aromas, almost like cotton candy and apples. It tastes like candied apples with a slight bubbly finish.

90 Cellars Sauvignon Blanc -From New Zealand; it is very citrusy with a mineral kind of finish.

High Valley Vineyard Barbera-This California wine is dry with notes of cherry and plum. It also has a chocolate finish.

Colomé Malbec-Argentina made wine which has a spicy floral scent with very soft tannins. It almost has an orange-peel after-taste.


Baby goats!

Mini goats!

Sassy mamma goats!

**(No animals or humans were harmed. Just animals doing their animal thing)**

Hope you done mind losing your seat if you decide to get up!

Goats and wine EVERYWHERE!!!


For more goat shenanigans from Green Finned Hippy Farms, including their Goat YOGA classes (YEA I SAID GOAT YOGA!), keep up with Farms Facebook Page updates!

Fezziwigs Market is also always having fun events! Check out the Classes Page on their website for more info!

Missouri Vines Save French Wine!

There was a time in wine making history (1870s) where French vineyards were being wiped out by a nasty American microscopic aphid type insect; grape phylloxera. (The sneaky bug stowed away on cargo ships) The “Great French Wine Blight” was the time everyone feared would be the end of the European wine industry.

Photo from British Satire Magazine “Punch”

Scientists from around the world gathered to try and find a solution to the problem. They had accepted the fact there would be no way to eradicate the insect once established, so they would need to figure out a way to “just live with it.”

Some American rootstock were completely immune to the grape vine root munching insects. By taking French vines and grafting them to the phylloxera immune American rootstock, healthy grapes were able to be produced.

Millions of rootstock were sent from Missouri to France and the French wine industry started its slow climb back to its full wine power!

Photo from

In honor of the success, a statue of a young woman cradling an older woman in her arms was built in Montpellier, France to signify “the new world saving the old world.”

Young Woman Cradling an Older Woman Statue in Montpellier Photo from

Besides listening to stories from the amazing people who call Hermann, MO home as I explored the wine trail, here are the websites I got more of my information from

Missouri Wine

Plymouth Rock, Wine, and Wine Jellies! 

Plymouth Bay Winery

  Known as “America’s Hometown,”   Plymouth, Massachusetts is the perfect place to visit to get your history on! After you finish getting your fill of American history, load up and head to the Plymouth Bay Winery right up the road from Plymouth Rock! 

    If you aren’t immediately in love with the view of the bay from the winery, the wines AND wine jellies will get you there! The owners Michael and Pamela make you feel welcome and comfortable from the moment you step in the door. Sit down for one of their very knowledgeable and delicious tastings and be immersed in history and information of all sorts. 

Photo from the Plymouth Bay Winery Facebook Page
View front the front porch of the winery! Photo from the Plymouth Bay Facebook page.

The Whimsical Wine Woman enjoying the view from the porch of the winery with the owners


     One unique style of wine they produce is their cranberry wines! The winery offers two types of cranberry wines.  The “Cranberry Blush” is a semi sweet spicy blend that will give you that sweet kind of “pucker” for those hot summer days. The other, “Cranberry Bay”, has a sweet and tart taste perfect for all kinds of foods and holidays. All of the fruits used in their winemaking come from all local MA sources. 

A bottle of Cranberry Blush in front of the Bay


     If you don’t LOVE their wines, be prepared to fall for their wine jellies! You read that right! The winery makes a variety of fun named wine jellies AND sauces to go along with their delicious wines! From their blueberry jelly called “Blueberry Sin” to their raspberry and habanero jelly called  “Wicked Bad News” to their Cranberry Bay wine jelly called “Crangasm,” Plymouth Bay Winery has something for everyone to enjoy! 

Just a few of the many wine jellies the winery makes! Photo from the Plymouth Bay Facebook Page
The winery even makes their own sauces if wine jellies aren’t your thing! Photo from the Plymouth Bay Facebook Page


     If I haven’t convinced you of how amazing this little winery is quite yet, Good Morning America can also vouch for how awesome this place really is! The winery was featured for their wine jellies on Good Morning America just in time to showcase their products for the holidays! 

Check out the Good Morning America clip here!

Wines, jellies, and sauces galore! Plymouth Bay Winery has a little something for everyone! Be sure to stop by on your next visit to Plymouth, Massachusetts! 

 Video Courtesy of Plymouth Bay Winery 

3 Fun Affordable Wines To Help Get You In The Halloween Spirit! 


   I think it’s safe to say Halloween time is here! If you haven’t started getting into the Halloween Spirit yet, here are 3 afforadable wines that can help!🎃🍷 

    Spellbound Chardonnay 

    This tropical fruity California Chardonnay will give you one last taste of summer while jumping into the colder month feelings with notes of vanilla and crème brûlée. You can pair this delicious wine with anything from general tsos chicken to a simple BLT sandwich!

Averaging $15 a bottle 

Spellbound Wines 

    Skeleton Grüner Veltliner 

     A favorite white wine varietal in Austria. This fruity, fresh, and fabulous wine is another “pairs well with others” wine! From cheeseburgers to prime rib, this wine goes well with it all; but really…eat what you like with the wine you like. 😉

Averaging $12 a bottle

Skeleton Wines


    This final wine is a no brainer! If this wine doesn’t get you in the Halloween spirit, I’m not sure what else will! 🎃

    Hallowine is the perfect wine for your spooky get together or a night by the fire with your love! Serve this delicious apple wine cold OR HOT for a fabulous cider substitute! 

Averaging $10 a bottle 

Door Peninsula Winery 

This Hidden Gem is Turning Corn to Vodka Right in Bethalto, IL! 


     Tucked away in a warehouse in Bethalto, Illinois you will find the hidden gem B. T. O. Distillers; home of Bluestem Vodka. When you first drive up it might seem like you’re out of place, that means you are in the right place then! Head on in and a friendly face will greet you with a smile! 

Yes, you’re in the right place if you see this!


     After deciding there were already enough amazing micro breweries in the area, the owners decided to try a different route and chose to start producing their own vodka. With a combined 50 years of knowledge in winemaking, brewing, and alcohol experience, mixed in with some engineering and chemistry experience, this is how their unique making process and distillery was born! 


     Keeping it local is a big part of the company! They get all of their corn used for the production of their vodka from local farmers. 

     On Saturdays, the distillery offers educational tours of the facility you can book online. The tour includes a tasting and a drink to sip on while you learn! If you can’t decide what drink to go with, you have to try their famous “Stemcell” drink!         You can get 20% off your tour here!

Bluestem Vodka-Home of “The Stemcell”


     After you finish your tour, you might even get lucky enough to purchase a bottle you can wax on your own to take home! 

You might even get lucky enough to wax your own bottle!
  While you’re visiting, don’t forget to sign up for the amazing awards program they offer! For every $4 you spend at the distillery, you get 1 star! When you earn 50 stars, you receive a FREE bottle of Bluestem Vodka! 

This Whimsical Vineyard Tucked Away in Southern, IL is a Must Visit for All Wine Lovers!

      Tucked away in the tiny town of Cobden, Illinois is StarView Vineyards; one of the 11 vineyards located on the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail of Southern Illinois. 

      Brett and Regina Morrison took the plunge and purchased the vineyard, moving from Pennsylvania to Southern Illinois in 2013. Having previous experience in the business, Brett jumped head first into making their award winning wines made from 90% estate grown grapes. 

Enjoys a glass of StarView Wine in their vineyards
Owners of StarView Vineyards Brett and Regina Morrison


      In 2015 and 2016, Brett was awarded Illinois Viticulturist of the Year for his hard work and efforts in the vines. Along with award winning wine makers comes award winning wines. Each wine produced by the vineyard has won numerous awards for their unique and delicious tastes! 

Illinois Viticulturist of the Year 2015 & 2016 Brett Morrison


      Have you ever heard of Illinois Merlot? Now you have! After everyone telling the couple they would never be able to successfully grow Merlot Grapes in Southern Illinois, they are proving everyone wrong this year! 

Beautiful Merlot Grapes Grown by StarView Vineyards
StarView Vineyards Award Winning Wines are a Must Try


       If you’re looking for a fun weekend activity, Regina keeps the vineyard calendar packed full of events! From wine and painting parties and live music nights to their always fun holiday parties, there’s never a dull moment at the vineyard.

One of the Many Public Parties Held at the Vineyard


      Not only does StarView make great wine, you can also cool down on a hot summer day with one of their delicious wine slushes! Be sure to tag your wine slushy shenanigans by using their hashtag #IGotSlushedAtStarView on Instagram! Give them a “follow” while you’re at it! 

I Got Slushed at StarView


      The next time you need a little get away, don’t forget to add StarView Vineyards to your list! If you’re looking for a refreshing glass of wine or to cool down with a wine slushy, StarView has you covered. Don’t forget to visit the koi fish pond while you’re there! 

Enjoying a Wine Slushy by the Koi Pond

Whimsical Wine Woman

The first thing that used to come to my mind when someone mentioned “wine” was upperclass stuck up adults at a fancy dinner party somewhere in Napa Valley, and a dry and puckered up mouth. It wasn’t until I made my first trip to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail of Southern, Illinois that I realized there is so much more to the world of wine than I could have ever imagined.

Blue Sky Vineyards in Makanda, IL was the first vineyard I visited just a few months after my 21st birthday. I walked into the tasting room and was greeted by a beautiful, smiling girl with serisouly amazing tattoos who made the vibes extreamly laid back. She went over their wine list, I sampled a few that didn’t make me pucker, enjoyed the beautiful scenery, and we moved on to our next stop; StarView Vineyards in Cobden, IL.

By this point, my idea of wine was clearly changing. Maybe there is more to wine than old cranky rich people and a dry mouth! I walked into StarView and was greeted with a smile by one of the owners and we started sampling their wines right away. “HOLY CRAP!” This wine is freaking delicious I thought to myself as I finished trying their “Silver Star” wine made from Niagara grapes grown right on their property! Of course the “show me your tips!” tip bucket couldn’t go unfilled as well.

My idea of wine has been totally wrong my entire life! There is so much to the wine making world I would have never even imagined! The history, knowledge, and hard work that goes into making each bottle of wine is absolutely amazing if you take the time to actually think about it. I will never actually be able to learn everything about the wine world, but I plan to learn as much as I can while making it fun too! This is where the Whimsical Wine Woman journey begins!