Ever since 1955, when Bill and Ruth Lautenbach purchased a farm and small orchard in Fish Creek, it has been a family affair. Ruth's mother Viola would travel from DePere on the greyhound bus to care for the children and help with the harvest. She continued to do so after Bill & Ruth passed away in the mid 70's, when eldest son Bob and his family took over the farm. Together, they planted more orchards, built a market, fruit press, and restored the barn into a winery and cider mill.
Bob, who passed away in July of 2021, was a strong and passionate man, yet a simple farmer at heart. He loved his family and the land that he grew up on, and was the visionary behind Lautenbach's Orchard Country. He had a fire in his belly, a million ideas in his head, and a great entrepreneurial spirit. He was a fun-loving character, with many stories, a great laugh, and a welcoming smile. He never hesitated to lend a hand to someone in need, or offer some business or life advice, no matter how busy he was. He was dedicated to promoting the cherry & wine industry every chance he could. He was a well-respected and successful leader of agri-tourism in his community, across Door County and throughout the state.
Producing wine was more than a business to Bob. He wanted the products to reflect the pride he had in his family and the grounds that produced them. This is why he named the first estate-grape wines after his grandchildren. “I wanted the series to be special,” he said. “And it gives my grandchildren a place in the business too. They love picking fresh fruit, walking throughout the property, and working during the summer season."
Today, the business is owned and operated by Bob's children: Carrie, Erin, Chris, and Melissa. “We enjoy sharing all facets of the operations with our guests – from planting and harvesting to crafting the juices and wines,” says Carrie. "Our working fruit farm is very important to us,” adds Erin. “We’ve been producing quality fruit products since 1955.” The popular fruits include cherries, apples, grapes, raspberries and pears. The family, along with the LOC team, works year-round maintaining the grounds and running the business. Chris adds, "I'm glad I came back to my roots and got involved in the family business. Melissa says, "I enjoy helping all of our visitors find a great product or gift in our busy store."
We invite you to visit our family farm in beautiful Door County, Wisconsin - where we have been growing, harvesting, and producing award-winning fruit products since 1955 - and hope you will continue to make Orchard Country a tradition in your family for generations to come!