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Uncorked: Spring and Wine Lovers’ Weekend are near

The sight of patio furniture was enough to get Janelle Keeffer excited. 

As the Galena Cellars spokeswoman strolled through a home improvement store, the seemingly interminable winter raged on outside. 

Yet, lawn chairs and umbrellas were for sale. When she drove home, she spotted a northbound flock of geese. Signs of spring are everywhere. There’s no greater sign for Galena businesses and visitors than the appearance of Wine Lovers’ Weekend on their calendars. 

A Grand Tasting, events at the Galena Cellars’ vineyard and restaurants teeming with special events and winemaker dinners are all on the agenda. Yes, spring and Wine Lovers’ Weekend are near. 

Winemaker spotlight

Work is just getting started for Tim Althaus when the Wine Lovers’ Weekend Grand Tasting ends.

The president of Family Beer and Liquor in East Dubuque begins to fill orders with a staff that will work deep into the night. There are 330 wines available at the Grand Tasting, all selected by Althaus.

“We offer free delivery to anyone staying locally in Galena that places an order of a mixed case or more at the Grand Tasting,” Althaus said. “About 10 percent of our inventory is available at the Grand Tasting. We’ll have everything from Albariño to Zinfandel. My emphasis is on variety and offering something for everyone.”

With wines from around the world ranging from $6 to $80, Althaus has assembled a wine list that has everyday consumers and collectors in mind. 

Because of the variety of wines at the Grand Tastings, tickets price ($35 at and the event investment by the entire business community, Wine Lovers’ Weekend continues to grow even in its 9th annual installment. 

“The event is stronger than ever,” Keeffer said. “We expect both tastings to sell out well in advance. For anyone that wants to attend they need to get their tickets as soon as possible.

“We are going to continue to do what we’ve done to be successful year after year. The first-time attendees and regulars all find something to love about the weekend. There’s always something new to learn about wine and something new to discover in Galena.”

Where to go

• Galena Cellars Opening Weekend at the Vineyard, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. March 28 to 30

Visit the tasting room and vineyard on its opening weekend.

• Galena Cellars Lunch at the Vineyard, $49.95

A four-course meal prepared by local Chef Ivo, paired with Galena Cellars wines. Call 815-397-9463 for reservations.

• Fried Green Tomatoes, Cakebread Wine Dinner, 8:45 p.m. March 29, $89

Masterfully prepared Italian cuisine paired with Cakebread wines. Call 815-777-3938 for reservations.

• James Nokes writes a bi-weekly wine column for the Daily Chronicle. He's been tasting, Touring and collecting in the wine world for several years. Contact him at

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