Fred E. Koehler, founder of Lynfred Winery, also considered the father of the Illinois wine industry, was a business savvy man and self-taught winemaker whose aspiration to produce wines of excellence earned him the title of a legend.
Robert Mondavi once told him "You're wasting your time in Illinois. You ought to come to California", but Koehler replied that his roots are in Illinois. In the 1920's Fred's grandfather and father made wine for the family and local politicians.
Then in 1975 Fred, along with his late wife Lynn, made his first batch of wine in the basement of their home. "We had so much wine we outgrew our house and had to go commercial." What began as "a hobby that got out of hand" led to the opening of the first winery in Illinois in 1979 with 7 varieties and 5,000 gallons of wine.
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