A delightful bed & breakfast adds a winery | Living the Country Life

A delightful bed & breakfast adds a winery

With the help of a USDA value-added grant, the Engelbrecht family started a winery to go with their bed-and-breakfast.
A 5-mile nature trail connects the Engelbrecht family vineyards tonearby parks and historic sites inFredericksburg, Iowa. Loren andDianna Engelbrecht will beproducing their first wine from these grapes this fall.
The Engelbrechts will have their firstcrop of wine grapes this fall. For now,they market other Iowa wines. "Sellingwine has allowed us to observe whichwines sell the best and which ones peopleseem to like the most," says Dianna.

From milk to wine

First a dairy, then a B&B, now a winery -- things are always changing on this small farm. Loren and Dianna Engelbrecht have lived and breathed the country life since they were kids. Both grew up on dairy farms, and Dianna once wore the crown of Iowa's dairy princess.

When Loren spotted a pretty 50-acre farmstead near Fredericksburg, Iowa, the couple decided to buy it even though the turn-of-the-century Victorian farmhouse was run down.

"Dianna and I have always liked old houses, and we thought it would be fun to restore this one," says Loren.

Their entrepreneurial spirit led them to open their home as the Farmhouse Bed and Breakfast in 1998. About 400 overnight guests visit each year to stay in one of the five guest rooms -- there are even two suites with private decks and whirlpools. Dianna prepares everyone a big breakfast featuring the farm's own eggs and locally grown meats.

Get your boots dirty

If guests want to get their boots dirty, they can help out in Loren's dairy barn. He operates a specialized dairy, selling other farmers fresh cows that he has milked for a month or more.

The family's newest venture is a vineyard and winery located at the back of their property. In the spring of 2004, the Engelbrechts planted 1 acre in grape vines, including Marechal Foch, a hardy variety perfect for red wine. Two more acres were added in 2005, including Frontenac, La Crosse, Kay Gray, Prairie Star, St. Pepin, and Edelweiss. The plan is for 6 total acres. The first crop will be harvested in the fall of 2006.

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