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Wine fest is vintage Oswego

Cole (left) Beth DavidsHailey's Winery ByrIL chwith Teri Paterkiewicz CarlGiven (right) Oswego. | JCunningham~For Sun-Times Medi ORG XMIT:

Cole (left) and Beth Davidson of Hailey's Winery of Byron, IL chat with Teri Paterkiewicz and Carla Given (right) of Oswego. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media ORG XMIT:

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Updated: May 6, 2013 7:33PM

Like a sweet daffodil wine, the sunshine and scent of spring blossoms in the air were a welcome delight for wine lovers and producers attending the annual Wine on the Fox over the weekend on the Oswego village plaza.

“We like wine and supporting Illinois wineries,” said Robert Kern, of Oswego, leaving the festival with his wife, Jacquie, and two souvenir wine glasses to add to their collection.

The couple has attended the Wine on the Fox, featuring 20 wine producers from across Illinois, since its inception. “We made purchases from 5 different wineries ­— these are wines you won’t find in the store,” Kern said.

The village of Oswego, in partnership with the Oswego Tourism Bureau and Oswegoland Park District have taken the best of what Nature has provided over the past seven years.

While the deluge of April rains forced organizers to relocate the two-day event from Hudson Crossing Park due to flooding, the gazebo and water fountain setting on the plaza offered a quaint setting for people interested in enjoying friendly chatter and local musical entertainment, while experiencing the wine cellars and vineyards of Illinois’ finest wine producers.

Among those, of course, is Oswego’s homegrown wine producer —Fox Valley Winery. “The event originally began with about 10 wineries,” said Karen Thompson, events coordinator for the Fox Valley Winery. “People appreciate Illinois produced wines — you don’t have to go to California to taste good wine,” she said.

Megan Block of Massbach Ridge Winery of Elizabeth, Ill., said taste buds are different from place-to-place. “Sweet wines in the Midwest are always popular,” said Block, a tasting room manager.

“Our Daffodil wine is real sweet, with a touch of peach and honey. We find ways to incorporate fruits into great wine. Wineries have been doing this for a long time — we are just having more fun with it now,” Block said.

“People are curious about our wines because we do not distribute this far east and this is an ideal event to get our name out,” the winery representative said.

Michelle Augustyn, of Yorkville, came with a group of friends that packed a gourmet basket of food and fruit to pair with sushi, cheese and strawberries.

“We arrive early to do our wine tasting, make a check-list of our favorite wine, then set out our food spread and enjoy it with a glass of wine,” Augustyn said.

“We sit and relax, enjoy the music and people and return to get our cases of wine to fill our wine racks for the year. It’s even nicer to have this celebration after the hardships so many people have gone through with all of the rain,” she said. The event attracts an estimated 4,000 to 5,000 visitors each year.

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