The first-ever Wine Tourism Day in North America was all about promoting local wineries to boost our local economy.
It's a tradition that began in Europe and has now made it's way to the QCA. The first-ever national Wine Tourism Day was in full swing Saturday at wineries all over our area.
One winery we visited said events like this one can make a big difference for the Quad City Area economy.
Creekside Winery in Coal Valley already has seen visitors come from as far away as the Eastern Seaboard and the West Coast. But with the a national Wine Tourism Day starting up, owners believe that can convince even more people to come to the area.
Winery tourism in the United States got its start in the 1970's in California - and it's been booming there ever since. Now, vineyards here believe the Midwest is ready to support that kind of business.
And the benefits would not just be for wine-related business.
Owners say a national promotion like this can bring visitors to new places and entice tourists to spend money all around town. This could help the QCA economy continue to grow - putting it on the national map as a premiere tourist destination.
And, with people becoming more and more interested in shopping local, days like this one can also be an learning experience.
"More and more we are talking to people who want to know where their wines are being made and where their grapes come from," explained Jennifer Mital, co-owner of Creekside Vineyards.
"We are an Illinois producing winery, which means we work with all Illinois grapes and it is important to people to be able to support a local product and support the American wines that are made in the Unites States," she said.
Several customers we talked to at Creekside Vineyard this weekend said the opportunity to shop local was a big draw. They also said they're looking forward to exploring more of the local vineyards the QCA has to offer.
Vineyard owners say it's difficult to know how many people came out to the winery because of national Wine Tourism Day specifically. But, they believe turnout will continue to grow in years ahead as more people learn about the new tradition.