The Wine Detectives: Unexpected wine discovery comes from Illinois

Lemon-based wine impresses with flavor

A new wine concept, called SQZ, comes in four unique flavors: original, lemongrass, key lime and cranberry.[]

Sometimes as we’re exploring the current wine scene, we accidentally discover something truly extraordinary in unexpected locations. That’s exactly what happened recently while we ferreted out a rumor about a new wine project taking place in Illinois.

Instead of uncovering a great new Cabernet in California, or Pinot Noir in Oregon, of Bordeaux in France or Malbec in Argentina or Shiraz in Australia … we discovered a brand new wine concept in Lanark, Ill.! That’s correct, Lanark!

The wine is called SQZ and it comes in four unique flavors – original, lemongrass, key lime and cranberry. But, it’s very innovative because its all-natural – made from fermented lemons, natural juice, yeast and cane sugar – is packaged in attractive 375 milliliters mason jar, is only 9 percent alcohol and costs only about $3.99 per jar.

In the tasting I’ve been involved in at Hy-Vee in Sycamore, the consumers were excited about the packaging, impressed by the flavors, had a lot of fun and discussed the various ways they would serve SQZ … some cold, some with ice, some with bubbles, some with juice, some with vodka and some as a sangria … but everyone planned to experiment and have a great time with the unique and refreshing new beverage.

And the advantage to SQZ is that you don’t have to pretend to be a wine geek or spend a lot of money to have fun. Also, even though it taste great, you won’t get blitzed drinking a jar since its only 9 percent alcohol. So, go get SQZ’d.

Tom Minnerick is an Elgin resident who has spent 35 years working in the wine industry. “The Wine Detectives” column runs sporadically in the Kane County Chronicle, Elburn Herald and Sugar Grove Herald. Feedback can be sent to