Alto Vineyards celebrates 25th anniversary

A landmark event in the history of a Union County business was celebrated last Saturday evening when Alto Vineyards in Alto Pass hosted a 25th anniversary celebration.

Alto Vineyards celebrated three generations of winemaking and thanking its many loyal supporters. Local musicians Carter and Connelley performed during the celebration.

Alto Vineyards owner Paul Renzaglia was on hand to welcome the many people who came out on a cold December evening to offer their congratulations and wishes for future success.

Renzaglia acknowledged again that he is extremely grateful for the support which Alto Vineyards  has received since it opened 25 years ago.

Visitors had an opportunity to see Alto Vineyards’ new tasting room, which will be decorated for the holidays.

The 5,000 square foot tasting room was added this year to meet the current demands of a higher volume of wine enthusiasts.  

Alto Vineyards was established in the spring of 1981 with the first plantings of grapes, both French-American hybrids and native American varieties.

Beginning in 1985, Alto Vineyards sold its first crop of grapes, and the Renzaglias realized they were making about 6 cents per hour. They decided that something had to change.

So the Renzaglias turned their next crop into wine, and in 1988, Alto Vineyards released 1,500 gallons of its first vintage, which sold out in three days. Alto Vineyards now boasts more than 22 award-winning wines.

The success of Alto Vineyards is a tribute to the legacy of Paul’s father, the late Guy Renzaglia, whose vision led to the development of a strong wine-making business in the hills of Southern Illinois.

Alto Vineyards was the first of what would become nearly 20 wineries to open in the southern tip of Illinois.

“It’s been a great ride, and we couldn’t have done it without all the friends, family and support,” Renzaglia had said prior to Saturday’s celebration.

“I can’t think of anything else that I’d rather be doing,” he said Saturday evening while reflecting on the history, and success, of Alto Vineyards.


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