Chicagoist links to an AP story on the booming Illinois wine industry.

The Shawnee Hills AVA (pdf), which was designated the state’s first American Viticultural Area last month, is the baby bear of Illinois winegrowing regions: warmer than the north but cooler than the south, and at an elevation that that provides for constant fungus-discouraging breezes, it’s just right for grapes like the hybrids Chambourcin and Seyval, which found welcoming soil across the pond here after being snubbed by the EU wine police; the domestically produced hybrid Chardonel; and the relatively rare Norton, the state grape of Missouri.

All of these varietals are new to me–as is Illinois wine in general, though I think I had a toothache-sweet Illinois ice wine a few months ago. So recommendations are most welcome.