What's Happening At Massbach Ridge Winery

Biggest Harvest in Massbach History

harvesting-2016 harvesting-frontenac-2016 Over 50 ton of grapes processed this past month! That’s a LOT of buckets!! Approximately 5,000 buckets!
A HUGE THANK YOU to ALL you helped; customers, charity organizations, friends and family.
Marechal Foch, St. Pepin, LaCrosse, Frontenac and Vignoles wines have filled the tanks to the brim.
Harvest was a little early this year. About 10 days ahead of most years. The main reaston is the hot August we received. The quality of grapes has been exceptional considering the rainfall we have experienced the past several weeks.
We are very excited about the vintages in the works and will be updating you on the status as the upcoming months pass.
We look forward to seeing you soon!

Harvest is upon us!!

155160_10151154581602070_2047591370_nWe have started to make a dent into our 18 acres vineyard by picking Marechal Foch. We will be very busy during the next few weeks bringing in 2016’s vintage. The first 500 gallons of Foch juice may be a tad tart but the cherry, strawberry flavors typical of the wine are present and accounted for!

Grapes in Northern Illinois?! YES!

St. Pepin, Frontenac, Marechal Foch, and Vignoles may not be grape varieties commonly discussed in Wine Spectator but they may be someday.

These are the names of the grapes we grow in Northern IL.

These are the grapes that can withstand winter temperatures dipping down to -30F and further.

These are grapes that have been the building stones of our 12 year old winery.

Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and so on are varieties that would perish in our cold northern winters.  American Hybrids have emerged the last couple decades due to the dedication by amateur and professional viticulturists to develop varieties of wine grapes for the Mid-West.  Cheers to THEM!!!

Because of their years of trials, tests and labor,  we are able to grow red and white wine grapes that rival other parts of the wine world.

I speak of St. Pepin specifically.  Year after year, our estate-grown St. Pepin displays a whiff of citrus and cuts with a spray of green apple.  Presented beside certain Viogniers, you may not be able to tell the difference.  You might close your eyes and think you have been transported to another part of the world, but yet, you are close to home in the hills of Illinois.

As for the reds, we blend for our barrel aged wines.  Frontenac is the prominent grape in our barrels and for our rich semi-dry wines.

We have often joked, “Wine snobs- Welcome!”  Though not Cabernets, our reds provide structure and complexity with a uniqueness and versatility to make to make you proud of what you discovered –  LOCAL WINE!

This is a St. Pepin vine as it appears in July.

This is a St. Pepin vine as it appears in July.

March Pruning; Wine Sculpting

Pruning= cutting 90% of a grapevine’s growth from last year to develop a balance between quantity and quality.

It’s SPRING!  We are outside full-time during the month of March sculpting this year’s vintage of fruit.

Watch –Peggy Pruning a Frontenac plant

If the vines are left on their own, each vine will look more like a bush with all of last year’s buds growing another shoot.  As a farmer, this sounds okay.  More growth=more yield.  BUT, the quality of fruit would be terrible.

Here are a few of the issues if the vine was left unpruned –

  • Smaller bunches
  • Too much vegitation keeps the fruit from getting sunlight
  • Too much vegitation keeps moisture from dew and rain lingering too long promoting fungal growth… yuck
  • The many, many small bunchs will not ripen before the leaves fall

TAKE HOME –   No Pruning=Exponential Mess=Poor Wine Quality

Because of our committment to high quality wine, we take great care to created a quality/quantity balance on each vine.  Yes, each vine.  More fruiting buds will be left on a vigorous plant than one that show less growht fromthe previous years.

Well, enough yacking.  I’m going outside!!

Take care friends and come out soon to see the manicured vineyard.




Wanting to be Your Favorite Winery

January is a time to reflect on the past year and the  new year starting. We, at the winery, have sat done as a team and become very excited about the year to come with ideas to continue to

Getting ready for Feuerzangenbowle – a classic German Wine punch. Come sample the fun on Feb 13th at our Cabin Fever Open House.

have the best wine and deliver the best experience for you.
New events have been added along with more music throughout the year. Check out the events page to see our events coming up.

As always, bottling top quality wines is simply a ‘must’.  I wouldn’t want to put anything else in front of you than a local product that is jaw dropping delicious. The dry wines that are bottle aging this winter are uncovering similarities to previous award winning vintages while having their own aroma and flavor identities.

Wines for the sweeter teeth, like Blackhawk Red and Stomp, are stil being tweaked for spring bottling.

All of us on the Massbach team are dedicated to make your time enjoyable and memorable.

We look forward to seeing you soon!


#ilwine #

What do we do this time of year?

is a question I get a lot during tours. We are done outside until March, but there is plenty to do inside. Wines are done fermenting but still need a lot of TLC: racking, testing, fine-tune additions, stabilizing agents, filtering, bottling and of course TASTE testing.  

 You may find yourself being a part of the last “test” when you are at the winery this time of year. I always want to make sure the wines hold up to your high standard.  

Along with the enology activities, your Christmas gifts are being put together. From Holiday labels to fun wine drinking shirts, we have your perfect present to put under the tree.  

 Have a Magical month and remember-

Every day is a Celebration!


It’s Winter!?! But, Thank God for Massbach Wine!

Happy Thanksgiving Friends!

We are truly Thankful for all of YOU!

I wish we could be enjoying walks or snowball fights this weekend with family.  BUT, with the rain?  What are we to do but drink wine and share stories and play games while drinking Massbach wine with our loved ones.

Both tasting room are open 11am to 5pm everyday except for Thanksgiving Thurs.

So, bring your relatives out to discover Massbach Wine!

Enjoy, Love and BE THANKFUL!


Massbach Nouveau!

nouveauBest ever! And I’m not just sayin2015 Nouveaug that to get attention.  To be honest, I was not going to bottle a “nouveau” this year.  The great Massbach team convinced me otherwise and I ended up blending a wine that I have not trialed before.

Traditionally, “Nouveau” wine is fermented inside the grape before pressing.  I have found this to produce a wild flavor that is NOT condusive to wanting a 2nd glass.

MASSBACH NOUVEUA 2015 – is a blend of fresh new wine fr0m Massbach’s Frontenac and Marechal Foch vineyard blocks.  Typical candy cherry flavors appear because of the Foch, but the young Frontenac takes it to a deeper level.

I know this wine will age nicely for a several months.  Currently, aged chedder and light pasta dishes match the wine perfectly.

Come out and discover the 2015 Massbach Nouveau, along with the other new wines being released:  Massbach Vignoles, 2015 St. Pepin, 2015 Traumen and 2014 Massbach Reserve.

Cheers Friends!



Cheers to Mother Nature and New Wine!

It has been a beautiful couple of weeks.. mild weather, colorful trees, good football and

NEW WINE!  Fall vines and roses

Over 40 tons of grapes were crushed and pressed this fall to fill almost all of our tank capacity.  I LOVE IT!!!  I’m very glad to have a greater amount of wine this year to make the quality wines you have come to except and enjoy!

I am especially excited for you to taste the St. Pepin and Traumen from this vintage.  The harvest sugars might not have been as high as they have been in past years, but the flavors are full of intense fruit.

Apple cider from Rolling Hills in Lanark has just started to ferment–topping off the last of the local wines this fall.

From here, we work at fine tuning new wines that need to be bottled by Nouveau Weekend on November 21st.  Vignoles will be one among those new wines.  Many months have gone by without the “Deer” Vignoles being on the shelf. The vignoles plants did not produce a crop in 2014 due to harsh winter conditions but did produce a small crop this year.

Massbach Nouveau will also join the new wines.  A blend of Frontenac and Foch grapes, the 2015 Vintage boasts more color, substance, and flavor than previous vintages.

I hope my enthusiasm comes though in this article.   I want you to discover, if you haven’t already, that fantastic flavors that are created in the hills of Massbach.

Come out and enjoy the colors, enjoy each other and enjoy the wine!!