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Bubbles on the double: Illinois’ best sparkling wine

Ring in the new year, or raise a glass to a new (or lasting) romance with sparkling wines from these Illinois wineries.

August Hill Winery Tasting
Credit: Illinois Office of Tourism/Adam Alexander

Illinois is not, in fact, Champagne, France, so its sparkling wines aren’t called Champagne. But these wineries still bring the bubbly.

Lynfred Winery, Chicago suburbs

At several tasting rooms, sample a handful of fruity sparkling wines made from Midwest fruits, along with snacks like savory and sweet fresh breads.

Prairie State Winery, Genoa

Toast with Bubblin’ Blue, a sparkling version of the winery’s popular German-style Kishwaukee Blue wine. Nosh on apps, salad and panini sandwiches.

Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurants, statewide

Pair a sparkling flight (Blanc de Blanc, Rosé, Almond and Raspberry) with Key lime pie.

Galena Cellars Vineyard and Winery, Galena

Three generations of experience produce sparkling wine. Join a vineyard tour or visit the tasting room.

Illinois Sparkling Company and August Hill Winery, Utica

Using traditional methods, owner Mark Wenzel hand-blends every bottle for ISC, the sister brand to August Hill Winery.

Baxter’s Vineyards and Winery, Nauvoo

Fifth-generation owners operate the state’s oldest winery, started in 1857. Sip Baxter’s Bubbly, made from melon, apricot and honeysuckle.

Cheers in the city

If it’s champagne you crave, get to Chicago, where the bubbles flow in both traditional and unexpected ways.

  • Margeaux Brasserie: On the third floor of the Waldorf Astoria, black-tie servers offer a variety of bubbles (it changes on a nightly basis) from a roving champagne cart.
  • Pops for Champagne: The ambience sparkles at the nation’s oldest champagne bar with nearly 150 champagnes and sparkling wines to choose from in the landmark Tree Studios building.
  • Odyssey Chicago River: Celebrate Global Champagne Day (mid-October) aboard the glass-top boat as it plies the Chicago River during a five-course champagne dinner cruise with stunning, climate-controlled views.
  • The Spa at Four Seasons: Sip champagne while your fingers (or toes) luxuriate in a bath of bubbly. Or book a couples’ massage, then toast during a private Skylight Swim under the stars.
  • Sugarfina Boutique: Grown-up gummy bears—made with Dom Pérignon Vintage—come in a few flavors at suburban Oakbrook Center, the state’s only outpost of the fancy grown-up candy chain.
  • RM Champagne Salon: Bring a date to this cozy candlelit spot for sips of champagne and sparkling wines while dining on oysters, steak frites and more from the French-bistro inspired menu.