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Local Business Spotlight: Lincoln Heritage Winery

My name is Bonnie Cissell. I am co-owner of Lincoln Heritage Winery, located in Cobden, Illinois. At Lincoln Heritage Winery are all about good wine, good times and good friends to make it all even better!

What does your business do?

We provide informative wine tastings and serve and sell our wines as well as some really unique gift items. There is our patio seating with a large outdoor space including our waterfall and fire pit area and of course, comfortable inside seating. Customers are welcome to bring their own food or order food for delivery. Homer Cissell is the co-owner, winemaker and vineyard manager.

What was the inspiration behind starting your business?

My husband had been making amateur wine for years and I was the first Executive Director of the Illinois Grape and Wine Resources Council at SUI. I not only knew some of the first wineries in the state but knew the challenges and opportunities of owning a winery. We wanted to move back to Southern Illinois since we had a family in the area – my husband is a 5th generation southern Illinoisian. We knew it would be challenging yet exciting to start a winery and create our own wines.

What do you love most about doing business in Southern Illinois?

The area and the people. We might be biased but we believe this is the prettiest part of Illinois. The climate is conducive for grape growing and the university is a great resource for winemakers. It’s so interesting to meet people that come here from all over and who are amazed at how beautiful the area is and how friendly the people are.

What’s one thing visitors to your business might be surprised to know?

Homer did all the construction on our winery – a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired design. He adds that he didn’t do the roof or the foundation though because that takes a professional! Then they ask if e was a builder and I say, “No, retired college president!”. Also, if the subject comes up, I mention that his great, great grandmother was orphaned on the Trail of Tears.

What do you deliver to your customers that give them a positive experience?

We are FIRM believers in outstanding customer service, We have numerous outstanding reviews on Yelp, Google Reviews, and Trip Advisor and customers tell us that’s what brings them to us. I believe that the service we provide must include information about local attractions, lodging, restaurants, and other wineries – if the customer so desires. People might come to an area or business once, but if the service or product is poor they won’t come back. Visitors also won’t travel 5 hours for one winery, but if they have a great stay and great overall experience, they will return to the area and visit local businesses and will tell their friend about their stay.

For more information, visit lincolnheritagewinery.com.

Find a place to stay near the Shawnee Wine Trail at Shawnee Wine Trail Lodging Association.

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