About Us

Rocky Waters Vineyard and Winery has been recognized year after year as one of the best places to visit in the Midwest by Midwest Living magazine. As a family with deep roots in the area the Spahns are proud to have created one of the many wonderful and unique attractions to be found in the Mississippi River bluffs region where Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa come together.  

Jared Spahn is a native of nearby Dubuque, Iowa, and a graduate of its Loras College. He and Phyllis--whose love of the land and incredible work ethic was cultivated on her family’s farm in Worthington, Iowa--lived near Peoria, Illinois for more than 30 years before moving back to Hanover to pursue their “retirement” dreams.

Jared’s career as a computer-systems consultant supported the development of the vineyard and boutique winery and his college degrees in biology and chemistry led to his success in creating excellent wines that have won more than 45 medals, including 37 in international competitions with more than 900 wineries.

The Spahns purchased 112 acres of land in Hanover, southeast of Galena, in 1994 and planted a vine nursery with 3,600 grape cuttings in 1996. They had visited wineries and vineyards in California and those trips inspired them to create their own in Northwestern Illinois, where the natural beauty rivals--and may even exceed--that of Napa Valley.

In the beginning of the family business, the Spahn’s grandson Andrew Smith, who now has a doctorate in physical therapy, won a contest among the grandchildren to name the property. He came up with the name “Rocky Waters Vineyard & Winery” based upon the spring fed, limestone bottom creeks and streams that run through it and feed into their five-acre lake.

The youngest of the Spahn’s five children, Kyle, joined them on the land and in the business after finishing his schooling. He slept in an equipment shed for many months while building a cabin for his own family, and over the years he has become an integral member of the team, from tending to the vineyards and surrounding land, to harvesting the grapes, making the wine, bottling it and marketing it and is now the President and COO of Rocky Waters Vineyard/Winery, Inc.

sunset and rolling hills


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wine distillery

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