The AVA was created as a result of the successful petition of Ted Wichmann, owner of Owl Creek Vineyard. The area is named after the Shawnee, a Native American nation that settled in Southern Illinois in the mid 18th century. The AVA is served by the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail.
At least 20 wineries as well as additional vineyards produced wine and grow grapes within the Shawnee Hills AVA. Most of the wineries are aligned with the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail in the southwestern portion of the AVA (south of Route 13 and west of Interstate 57). The Southern Illinois Wine Trail (east of Interstate 57) includes the next largest grouping, as well as some wineries located just outside the AVA. The area around Kinkaid Lake in the northwestern corner of the AVA is also seeing a number of new wineries develop.Matt Bliss and Kelly Drew. 2009. Exploring Southern Illinois Wineries. Makanda, Ill.: Lusk Creek Publishing.