We make 15 different wines including full bodied reds, refreshing whites, luscious fruit wines and sweet dessert wines. Our leading grape varieties include the red grapes Frontenac, Marquette, St. Croix and M. Foch and white grapes LaCrescent, LaCrosse, Brianna & Prairie Star. Great wine begins in our vineyard where we use natural fertilizers and compost, organic and Biodynamic sprays, and depend on song birds & beneficial insects for much of our pest control.
Famous Fossil wines are made with minimal intervention and gentle handling. Naturally occurring yeasts found on the grapes are used during a slow, cool fermentation. We do not use flavor additives, we do not add tannins and use only the minimum of preservative. It is our intention to create distinctive wines featuring cold climate grape varieties that express our unique wine growing region. Most of our varieties were developed specifically for the “cold climate” (down to 30 degrees below zero).
All of our wines are made at our winery from Illinois grown grapes. We have 5 acres of grapes or about 2,100 vines in the Famous Fossil vineyard. We also purchase grapes from nearby growers. Harvest starts in August and winemaking begins. Fermentation, settling and aging follow. Then the wines are clarified and bottled and presented for your enjoyment.
Just like any other wine region around the world, our wines are a unique expression of the land, the climate, and, of course, the winemaker. When you taste Famous Fossil wines, you’re tasting the best of the Midwest!
Meet the Wine
Famous Fossil red wines range from light to full bodied with varying complexity, flavor and style. Our red wines are made from some of the most recent releases of wine grape varieties as well as some tried and true varieties.
Each of our white wines are unique in style and flavor. Dry or sweet, soft or crisp, Famous Fossil white wines are balanced with fruit, body, acidity and complexity.
Our fruit wines are made from whole fruit and are in the style of a dessert wine. Sweet without being cloying, our fruit wines taste as if you are biting into a piece of fresh fruit. This natural crispness means that our fruit wines are generally not as sweet as most desserts. Because of this, pair our fruit wines with fresh fruit, soft cheeses, dark chocolate or serve them on their own.
Everybody’s favorite red blend. This vintage is made from Frontenac, Marquette and St. Croix, all grapes grown right here in northern Illinois. It is a soft, full bodied dry red wine. Deep and complex, it finishes with a hint of vanilla oak.
Our premium dry red wine is a beautiful garnet color with notes of dark cherry and current. Marquette, a grape variety developed specifically for our region, is a descendent of Pinot Noir and is taking the Midwest by storm. Currently Sold Out.
Cranberry-tart with mouthwatering crispness, this is a classic Rose'. Very easy going and food-friendly. Currently Sold Out.
A soft blend of our red wines, fruity with a hint of sweetness. We put together Frontenac, Foch and St. Croix creating a wine you can enjoy lightly chilled.
Make Me Blush - $ 9.95/bottle
A hint of sweet and a crisp finish makes this Blush a perfect wine for Sunday afternoons, hanging out with friends, or by the pool. Try it with frozen strawberries.
Our Estate Bottled Port-style wine made from Marquette, Frontenac and experimental varieties grown in the Famous Fossil vineyard. Fireside Red is rich and intense, perfect for sipping around the fire. 20% alc.
Full of old fashioned grape flavors from varieties that have been around since the 1880s. A light, sweet red wine.
LaCrescent Illinois White $14.95/bottle
This is a dry version of our favorite white grape, LaCrescent. With pleasing aromas of lemon and apple, LaCrescent is clean and bright from beginning to end.
Louise Swenson Illinois White $14.95/bottle
This is a dry, elegant and subtle white wine. Elmer Swenson who developed this grape variety named it after his lovely wife Louise. We're thrilled to introduce our first vintage of Louise.
This is a Famous Fossil favorite with bold and bright citrus flavors and a crisp finish. Made from LaCrescent and LaCrosse grapes. Crescent Moon White is sure to please the most discriminating palate.
A blend of our favorite white grapes including Brianna, Prairie Star, Lacrosse, Lorelei and Petite Ami. This is a soft and sweet white wine with tropical fruit flavors.
Rich and luscious, our Blackberry wine is a Famous Fossil favorite. Our fruit wines taste like the whole fruit that they are made from – not too sweet with a crisp finish. Great for sipping and a nice dessert wine paired with fruit and cheeses.
Bright and intense, this sweet Red Raspberry wine is perfect as a dessert wine, paired with some dark chocolate. Or for a light wine cocktail, add some spritzer or serve over ice. Delicious! Currently Sold Out.
Sunshine in a bottle, that’s what we call this wine. Made from whole fruit, our Summer Rhubarb is pure rhubarb, we do not add water or grape wine. Summer Rhubarb is a little sweet and a little tart, just what you want in anything rhubarb.