The first Uncork Illinois wine festival in downtown Oak Park on June 2nd was an unqualified success according to Downtown Oak Park executive director Pat Zubak. “The turnout for the festival exceeded our expectations,” Zubak said. While attendance figures have not been compiled, sales of commemorative wine glasses that were included with each admission exceeded 2,000. “The merchants and restaurants in downtown Oak Park enjoyed the event as much as the wine tasters,” Zubak said. “The wine customer is definitely one to be courted,” she said.
Uncork Illinois was held with the support and involvement of the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association and at least 10 Illinois wineries participated. Zubak said that Oak Park is very interested in holding Uncork Illinois next year and perhaps adding other Midwestern wines.
Mark Ganchiff is the publisher of Midwest Wine Press, the leading source of news on the growing wine industry in the central United States. Mark has been a wine judge at the 2012 and 2014 INDY International Wine Competition, the 2014 Cold Climate Wine Competition, the 2013 Mid-American Wine Competition, the 2012 Illinois State Fair Wine Competition and the 2013 Michigan Wine Competition. He also enjoys speaking at wine events including the Cold Climate Wine Conference, the Illinois Grape Growers and Vintners Association Annual Meeting, the Midwest Grape and Wine Conference and the Wisconsin Fruit and Vegetable Conference. Mark's articles about regional wine have appeared in Vineyard & Winery Management, WineMaker and several regional magazines.
Mark is a Level One Sommelier in the Court of Master Sommeliers. He lives in Louisville, but also has a residence in Chicago.
Thanks for the GRAPE report, Mark! We had a wonderful time pouring our vino in Oak Park!