Famous Fossil wines are made at our winery from Illinois grown grapes. Our wines are a unique expression of the cold climate region of wine grape growing. With each vintage, we hope to create a dynamic and distinctive wine region, recognized for its delicious, interesting and well-balanced wines. Famous Fossil wines are made from some of the most recent releases of wine grape varieties as well as some tried and true varieties. Famous Fossil wines range from light to full bodied with varying complexity and are very food friendly.
Famous Fossil Vineyard is home to twelve different varieties of cold climate grapes. We also purchase grapes from vineyards throughout northern and central Illinois. We hope you will enjoy the distinctive flavors of Midwest American wines.
Over 450 million years ago, the land that is now northern Illinois was at the bottom of a sea. Thousands of years ago glaciers crossed the land exposing fossils from this ancient seabed. The name Famous Fossil was inspired by the many fossils found while planting our vineyard in 2004.
Ken farmed in Iowa for many years, certifying his crops and livestock as organic in 1987. Some of his crops were used to make organic tofu in Japan. It was the relationships that Ken developed with his Japanese friends that inspired him to make an end product that people can enjoy. Wine was a natural fit for Ken’s personality and skills – his ease with chemistry, his farming success and his great enjoyment of food, wine and friends. Ken began studying under winemakers, taking courses and making wine in earnest 16 years ago. He is a past president of Northern Illinois Wine Growers.
Tasting Room | Event Planning
After careers in psychology and landscape architecture, Pam is currently in her third career as the chief wine taster. She also manages the tasting room and events room where businesses, clubs and families and friends meet to enjoy food and wine. Pam and Ken met when Pam was director of the Organic Agriculture Program in the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship.
Royal Scheider joined Famous Fossil in 2012, helping in both the winery and the vineyard. Of German heritage, Royal is the fifth generation to carry his name. Royal graduated from Orangeville High School and will soon complete his degree from Highland Community College. Royal’s father first introduced him to winemaking and instilled in him a love of the great outdoors. Be sure and give a wave when you see Royal in the vineyard or helping in the winery.
Open Daily11:00 to 6:00
Famous Fossil Winery is closed Easter, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Day.