Thursday, October 10, 2013

Lynfred Winery, Roselle, Illinois

With Regional Wine Week in full swing, we thought it high time to visit Lynfred Winery, probably the closest winery to our home. For a variety of reasons, we had never gotten over to them, nor tasted their wines, but we finally did and we're really happy we did so.

Lynfred Winery

Christina, the Marketing Director for Lynfred, met us and took us on a whirlwind tour that included walking around most of the facility, eating sumptuous desserts paired with wine, and tasting many, many wines (15 or so, and they have a LOT more options!).

Our afternoon roughly paralleled Lynfred's Private Wine Tasting for 2 (Couples wine tasting): Enjoy a private tour, glass of wine, Epicurean Experience, chocolates and cheese - $100 for 2 people.

We started with a glass of Chardonnay in the Tasting Room, which is where one enters the winery. Walking through the winery's shop, we found ourselves overlooking the winery proper, giving us an overview of the tanks, barrels, and other equipment needed to produce over 100,000 gallons of wine(!). By chance, a delivery of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes had come in, so we got to see them open up the cartons, move the grapes onto the conveyor belt for sorting, then into the destemmer and crusher. Noisy but neat. Lynfred has a lot of sustainable practices in place, which is definitely a must these days.

We walked through the rest of the lower level, ending up in the original house's basement, where Lynfred Winery was started. It really makes you feel like you could do it as well, it's just a typical basement. There are barrels stacked throughout the facility, including that original basement. Another neat thing: while the tanks are stainless steel in the newer portion of the winery, the basement has some fiberglass tanks from way back when, still in use.

After our tour, it was on to the second-floor Harvest Room for the Epicurean Experience (six appetizers paired with 3 wines, with food descriptions from the chef). It is a beautiful room, with a fireplace if it's cool and doors out onto a balcony for nicer weather. Typically, the Epicurean Experience is six appetizers, but we lucked into a dessert version instead, eating all sorts of sweets with Chenin Blanc, Merlot, and Sparkling Almond wines. We were surprised at how well the wines went with the desserts, a great job by longtime employee, Head Chef Chris Smith. With so much sugar coursing through our veins, we were very happy for the cheese platter, though it was inexplicably lacking bread. Overall really tasty.

On the second floor near the Harvest Room, sort of tucked away in the back, is Lynfred's Bed and Breakfast. Consisting of four suites, with Italian, German, French and American motifs. Pure luxury and out of our price range, it would be neat to stay there and make an overnight visit to the winery.

Back to the Tasting Room for more wine! Lynfred sources grapes and other fruit for their wines from all over, though primarily from Washington State and California. Lynfred makes a gazillion different types of wine, some single varietal, some blends, some fruit wines. Our tasting included some vitis vinifera, some hybrid grapes, rhubarb, and a passion fruit based White Sangria (add some seltzer and I could drink this all day during summer). While not all the wines could possibly be to everyone's taste, one thing we did notice is that all the wines were well-made. 6,000 wine club members can't be wrong!

Video of Lynfred Winery

Lynfred Winery is clearly in the business of making people happy. Founder Fred Koehler came from a hospitality background and it shows. The employees were all relaxed and happy, with a pleasant and comfortable vibe permeating the whole place. Lynfred Winery should be on your list of places to visit near Chicago, with plenty of special events to entice you. The winery is easy to get to from the Interstate, but a better option might be to take the train from the city - they are just a 1/2 mile walk from the Roselle Metra station.

Christina continues to bring the joy through social media - connect with Lynfred via Facebook and Twitter!

Disclaimer: Our tour and tastings were provided to us for review purposes.

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