Wine and winemaking was simply a way of life for Lynn and Fred Koehler. Fred, a first-generation immigrant, came from a
family with more than two centuries of German winemaking experience. To say the practice was in his blood would be, in fact, quite accurate. Some of Koehler’s earliest memories were making wine with his father and grandfather during prohibition. When Koehler married Lynn, also from a winemaking family, the couple combined their first names and the Lynfred Winery dream was born. “It was a passion and a hobby that got out of control,” laughs Christina Anderson-Heller, Lynfred Winery’s marketing director. “It’s the story of two crazy people who were real pioneers in their industry.”
Bringing Winemaking to Illinois
Once the decision was made to open a winery, Fred and Lynn searched for the perfect setting for quite some time before they stumbled upon the gorgeous 1912 home in Roselle, complete with stained glass windows in a grapevine pattern. While the property continues to grow, it is still this elegant façade that welcomes guests to Lynfred Winery. The vision for Lynfred Winery was clear from the beginning: to be an extension of their guests’ living rooms, a second home. Sadly Lynn passed away in 1984, only five years after the winery opened its doors, but her legacy and plans for the winery lived on. True to her vision, Lynfred now offers a four-suite bed and breakfast and focuses on an intimate, Napa-style winetasting experience. Fred passed away in 2011, leaving Lynfred in the safe hands of his children. Today, the winery offers tours, tastings, private events and fresh-baked
bread every morning at 10 am.
Lynfred earned national acclaim in 1985 when its chardonnay was awarded best in show in two national wine competitions. One of the first urban wineries in the United States, Lynfred produces more varieties under one brand than any winemaker in the country, with all production taking place in Roselle. “We make anywhere between 75 and 100 different kinds of wine,” adds Anderson-Heller, “from A to Z: aglianico to zinfandel!”
Globally Sourced, Locally Enjoyed
As an urban winery, Lynfred is able to focus exclusively on enology — sourcing grapes from the best growers in the country. “Our winery is in Illinois, our winemakers are from Chile and our grapes are from all over the United States,” explains Anderson-Heller. Lynfred receives around 400 tons of grapes annually from Washington, California, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin and Oregon, as well as shipments from Canada and now Chile. While Lynfred wine is globally sourced, it is locally made and sold, only available in Illinois. Lynfred is available at big name stores like Target, Binny’s and Whole Foods and is the official wine at Macy’s Walnut Room in downtown Chicago. In addition to the original tasting room in Roselle, Lynfred also has tasting locations in Wheeling, Naperville and Wheaton. They see upwards of 150,000 visitors per year and continue to grow, having just purchased an adjacent warehouse in Roselle to expand production. “The loyalty we see here is incredible,” smiles Anderson-Heller. “Our customers really are fantastic. We call them our Lyn-friends and love seeing them again and again.”
We’re excited to continue showcasing DuPage County legends! Be sure to check out the rest of our Legendary DuPage blog series.