My name is Jim Ewers. I am the general manager of Blue Sky Vineyards, a winery located in Makanda, Illinois since 2005. Whether sipping a glass of award-winning Illinois wine from our patio or enjoying a stroll through our 12-acre vineyard, we’re sure you will enjoy your visit here.
We are a multifaceted business that includes farming, manufacturing, retail, wholesale, entertainment, hosting weddings and meetings and overnight stays. From growing the grapes and making the wine to serving it in a relaxed friendly atmosphere, all of the facets of our business help improve the others. Weddings or overnight stays in a vineyard setting? It just doesn’t get any better than that.
Honestly? When we started, I only wanted to grow a few acres of grapes. I always thought we might eventually add a small boutique”ish” winery, but really didn’t picture the place where we have ended up. The larger vision of my Father in Law coupled with listening to the wants of our customers has gotten us to where we are now. The two suites actually came after we had determined that the building needed to be two stories for the Tuscan look we were wanting. A decision to figure out what to do with the upper level bounced between storage to offices to private event rooms and finally landed as two overnight suites.
I’d like to stay it was the booming economy but we’re not quite there yet. For our main business, which is the winemaking and winery, southern Illinois is great! Our topography, geology, and climate make it great (although, at times, challenging) for growing great fruit and creating award-winning wines. It also provides a wonderful backdrop for people to come out, enjoy the fruits of our labor in a setting that is absolutely beautiful. The extensive acreage owned by the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Fish & Wildlife and numerous state parks makes it a playground for outdoor enthusiasts.
What’s one thing visitors to your business might be surprised to know?
When the Total Eclipse crossed the U.S. in August of 2017, NASA and calculated that the point of absolute longest duration was on our property, just a few hundred yards from our building. That event made for a great party out at Blue Sky. We had people from around the globe come to witness the event from “ground zero”. Better yet, the center line for the Total Solar Eclipse in April of 2024 is again right across southern Illinois and the length of totality is even greater.
Wow, where do I start? First is a professional, courteous and friendly staff. We realize we wouldn’t be here if our customers weren’t here. With that understanding, we strive to do what we can to make your visit or overnight stay enjoyable. Of equal importance is that we are knowledgeable and anxious to share what we know. Whether that’s taking you through our wine tastings, or providing you with information on where to hike, boat, fish or find a great pizza, burger or steak. Several of us know southern Illinois quite well, and if we don’t know the answer, we are happy to find it.