This summer we'll show local wineries and ways to enjoy them on mywabashvalley.com.
Our first stop is the Castle Finn Winery north of Marshall, Illinois. This used to be crop land on Rob Morgan's farm. About 6 years ago he decided to plant grapes on a three-acre plot and see what would happen. After four years the grapes came and he decided to do something different with the soil.
Rob says, "Land's hard to rent so we just decided if we could have something else goin' I could bring the kids back in to the operation and it's just a diversification of the farm."
With six varieties of grapes and a self-taught way to make wine, Castle Finn was started, named after a community less than two miles away.
Rob says, "There used to be a town named Castle Fin, Illinois and at one time that town was bigger than the city of Marshall."
Castle Fin was founded by Robert Wilson, an Irish immigrant. But the railroad located between Marshall and Paris and Castle Fin died off.
Rob began selling the wine he made and decided to to put a little banquet hall in hoping to have maybe 10 or 12 wedding receptions a year but:
Rob continues, "As it's turned out we're booked every weekend, sometimes 2 Friday night, Saturday night and sometimes even Sunday for weddings."
Castle Finn also features other entertainment events, like comedy nights and the like but the wine and tasting room are available nearly every day. Even a slushie machine can refresh the kids while the adults can taste the Castle Finn varieties can be sampled.
Don't expect California type creations here since these grapes in Illinois are different, but Castle Finn utililizes fruit for some varieties, in fact, the blackberry is the most popular Castle Finn label.
Make a point to travel north of Marshall on Route One and follow the signs to Castle Finn Winery a great beginning of the Wabash Valley Wine Tour.