DeKalb County Ag by the Numbers

Posted: February 15, 2018

Chocolate & Wine
February Favorites

You love chocolate but did you know that chocolate comes from cocoa beans grown on trees? And that glass of wine starts in the vineyard with grapes!



Chocolate is made from cocoa beans, the dried and fermented seeds of the cacao tree. These trees are grown in the deep tropical regions of the Americas. Roughly two-thirds of the world’s cocoa is produced in West Africa.

The seeds of the cacao tree have an intense bitter taste and must be fermented to
develop the flavor. After fermentation, the beans are dried, cleaned, and roasted.
The shell is removed to produce cacao nibs, which are then ground to cocoa mass, unadulterated chocolate in rough form.

Much of the chocolate consumed today is in the form of sweet chocolate, a
combination of cocoa solids, cocoa butter or added vegetable oils and sugar.


Most wine comes from a variety of grapes grown in a vineyard. Grapes are harvested, crushed and pressed, and then fermented into alcohol. Red wine is made
from the pulp of red or black grapes which give the wine its color. White wine is made
by fermenting juice from the green-colored grapes.

California has the most vineyards in the U.S., producing 89% of all U.S. wine. Illinois
has nearly 90 vineyards.

What’s DeKalb County’s connection to chocolate and wine?

There’s 1 vineyard in the county – Waterman Winery & Vineyards and 2 wineries –  Waterman Winery and Prairie State. And DeKalb is home to the Nestle distribution center that transports chocolate candy and other foods throughout the country. Also, DeKalb and Sycamore are home to The Confectionary, a family owned business that makes delicious chocolate candies!

The average American eats 11 pounds of chocolate and drinks nearly 3 gallons of wine per year!