Emile Baxter came from France to Nauvoo in 1855 to join the Icarian kibbutz. When the society split up in 1857, he selected to stay in Nauvoo.

He planted his first vineyards, and from his French buddies he learned the art of making wine. This practice passed from pop to boy. During Prohibition the wine making was closed down and the fresh grapes were distributed to northerly markets. Then in 1936, after the repeal of Prohibition, Emile’s boy Cecil made a decision to reopen the winery his pop had started in 1857. He applied to the state of Illinois for a license to make wine, making Baxter’s Vineyards the oldest winery in Illinois.

The winery is now controlled and managed by Kelly Logan, great great grandchild of Emile Baxter, and his spouse Brenda. Baxter’s Vineyards is presently growing 8 acres of Accord , Catawba and Niagara grapes. Beginning in 1999, Kelly and his crew have been planting a new 4-5 acre vineyard with Chambourcin, Chancellor, Foch, Norton, Traminette, and Vignoles grapes.

As well as the grapes, we also grow a spread of apples on 4 acres. Now our orchards are made up of Jonathan, Red Savoury , Fuji, Yellow Delectable , Empire, and Jonagold types.