Cities Neighboring Lynfred Winery:
Fred Koehler has made an unlikely success of a winery in the middle of west suburban Chicago.
What seems an unusual choice was a natural path for the son of a Des Plaines truck farmer who turned grapes and other fruit into wine. Koehler tasted watered wine as a 5-year-old at the family table, where he also learned moderation. “It was a different generation. We were brought up to respect the beverage, more like Eurpoeans.”
But the birth of Lynfred is an American venture, a home winemaking hobby that got out of hand. It was a creation of the love and ingenuity of “two crazy people” – Fred and Lynn Koehler.
Lynn suggested opening “a little winery” in preparation for Koehler's retirement from 25 years of managing restaurants and country clubs. Lynfred, named for the couple, opened for business in1979.
In 1985, Lynfred's barrel-fermented entry won the double gold medal at a Reno competition of 300 chardonnays. Lynfred was making its mark.
As legislative director of the Illinois Grape Growers & Vintners Association, Koehler pushed for a revivial of Illinois' vineyards and wineries and worked to help finance the state's wine industry.
In October 2010 Lynfred Winery celebrated 31 years! Any business celebrating over three decades in today's economy seems astonishing but a winery celebrating 31 years in Illinois, well we consider that to be pretty amazing! We still have an article posted in the winery from 1977 that is titled ‘Winery Ok'd despite dispirited audience.' When the dream of opening Lynfred Winery started to come to fruition, the reality of starting Illinois' first winery to open since prohibition became quite a task. Eventually the winery was bonded in 1977 and opened its doors to the public on October 14, 1979.
The winery has come a long way from the original tasting room opened in 1979. Lynfred has now expanded into a 24,000-square-foot facility. The expanded facility, which is connected by a vaulted barrel-aging tunnel, has increased our wine production and storage facilities. The new facility houses a beautiful oaken tasting room and gift shop which are accented by many of the highlights of the "old" house, including beautiful stained-glass, burgundy velvet walls, and wonderful oaken stairwells and floors. Located on the top floor of the winery are four elaborate and exclusive bed and breakfast suites. Unfortunately Lynn passed away in 1984 and did not get to see the growth of the winery but we believe she would be proud of what Lynfred has become. The original winery home, the Fenz house, is now the private residence to Fred Koehler.