When the topic of wine enters a typical conversation between students here on campus, it usually boils down to wine night at Cly’s or the after-effects of a night of Franzia. A visit to Alto Vineyards in Champaign, however, will change anyone’s view of the combination of fine wine and local music.
Alto Vineyards serves CU as a unique venue, in that it features live outdoor music every weekend, providing a nice change of pace for any local music-goer accustomed to the typical shows at downtown Champaign and Urbana bars. Every week “Music Among the Vines” offers patrons the opportunity to listen to local or regional music while enjoying the beautiful summer weather. To top it off, every wine produced by Alto Vineyards is offered by the glass, along with small food items and a great selection of domestic and imported beer.
Since making their first batch in 1987, Alto Vineyards has increased output exponentially and won over 400 international wine-crafting awards. While the vineyard is located in the Shawnee Hills American Viticultural Area of Southern Illinois, a wine shop and tasting room was built here in Champaign in 2001. A year later, the “Music Among the Vines” series began, and has been a hit ever since. The music and wine complement one another nicely.
According to Manager Matt Dickson, the events are very family friendly and draw crowds of all ages for anyone who is looking for a chance to relax, drink delicious wine, and listen to great music. With table and lawn seating for up to 275 people, big name local bands such as The C-U Jazz Crusaders, Jazz Sandwich, Tom Turino & Big Grove Zydeco, and The Surreal Deal enjoy a change in scenery of their usual gigs and typically draw substantial crowds to this one-of-a-kind venue. A variety of great local and regional bands have been scheduled every Friday or Saturday until the end of September, and with the weather the way that it has been, Alto Vineyards will be sure to be a perfect escape at the end of a long week.

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