MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Following a wine trail

On winery tours, sample fruits of the harvest.

Grapes on the vine in a vineyard.

© Beth Gauper

Fat Wisconsin grapes hang from vines right before harvest.

Across the Upper Midwest, vineyards are being planted and wine trails formed.

Vineyards tend to be in very scenic areas, and wine trails allow buyers to meander along pretty country roads, stopping here and there to quaff a glass of wine or have a picnic.

Of all the states, Iowa has been most active in forming wine trails. And why not? There are a lot of farmers in Iowa.

Watch for special tastings and other events along the wine trails, especially in fall.

Here’s where to sample wine in Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan.


Iowa Wine Trail: Eleven wineries are part of this group in the Mississippi River Valley, between Decorah and Clinton.

Western Iowa Wine Trail: Six wineries are in the Loess Hills around Council Bluffs and one to the northeast in Elk Horn.

Heart of Iowa Wine Trail: Eight wineries and 1 meadery are in central Iowa, mostly around Des Moines.

Scenic Rivers Wine Trail: Nine wineries are in the corner of southeast Iowa, around Fort Madison.


Great River Road Wine Trail: Most of the 11 members of this Mississippi River Valley group are between Red Wing and Winona, but they stretch from Prescott at the mouth of the St. Croix to Marquette in northeast Iowa.

Wine tasting at a vineyard.

© Torsten Muller

Vineyards turn tasting into entertainment.


Fox River Valley Wine Trail: These five wineries are in and around Green Bay in eastern Wisconsin.

Door County Wine Trail: There are eight wineries on Wisconsin's popular peninsula on Lake Michigan, from Algoma to Fish Creek.

Wisconsin River Valley: This isn't an official trail, but it's fun to visit the vineyards along the Wisconsin River Valley, from Spurgeon and Weggy near Muscoda to Botham near Barneveld and Wollersheim in Prairie du Sac.


Northern Illinois Wine Trail: This trail includes 30 wineries and tasting rooms on three loops: Chicagoland, Fox River Valley and Northwest, which includes Galena.

Shawnee Hills Wine Trail: Eleven wineries are part of this group in southern Illinois.

Heartland Rivers Wine Trail: Twelve wineries are sprinkled through southwest Illinois, many not far from St. Louis.


Old Mission Peninsula Wine Trail: Nine wineries line this sliver that stretches into Grand Traverse Bay north of Traverse City, Mich.

Leelanau Peninsula Wine Trail: There are 22 wineries on three loops along the spine of this peninsula north of Traverse City, wrapped by the warm waters of Lake Michigan.

Southeast Michigan Pioneer Wine Trail: Nine wineries occupy the hills between Ann Arbor, Lansing and Battle Creek.

Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail: Twenty-one vineyards and tasting rooms are in the wine country between Saugatuck, Kalamazoo and New Buffalo in southwest Michigan.

Last updated on October 23, 2017