A popular winery near Rockford that was sold earlier this year plans to reopen in 2024.
The new owners of the former McEachran Homestead Winery in Caledonia have renamed the winery “Blossom & Bee Winery.”
In a Facebook post earlier this month, the owners said keeping the old name was “never an option” as the name was not sold with the farm. The winery also wanted to pay respect to the family of former owner, Herbert Greenlee.
“That was another family’s legacy, and we want to start our own while still honoring Dr. Greenlee’s vision and passion for this magical place,” the post reads.
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Greenlee, a retired Chicago surgeon, planted the first acre of the vineyard as a hobby.
The McEachran Homestead Winery was incorporated as a business in 2009 and a second acre of vineyard was added two years later.
Greenlee died Dec. 11, 2020, at the age of 93. His family kept the winery up and running before deciding to sell it last year.
According to Boone County property records, the property was sold to Wyman School Road Farms LLC in March.
So, why is the winery waiting for 2024 to open? According to the same Facebook post, no inventory came with the purchase of the winery and all of the grapes were used during 2022 when customers got to pick their own grapes.
The winery also said they’re still working with the county and state on new permits as well as making sure building codes, winemaking and liquor licenses are all up to date.
“Next year we hope to open with the west side of the farm as a cut flower garden and welcome our guests to pick their bouquets, or we can make one for you,” the winery said in a separate Facebook post. “The pollinators on this property are the inspiration for this, there’s so many beautiful butterflies, honey and bumblebees it was an easy decision for us.”
The winery said the flower garden would be on part of the land that was not being used.
In the meantime, the winery said they may open this year to allow people to pick their own grapes again. Dates and times have not been announced.