The Door County Economic Development Corporation announced today that the Lautenbach family, owners of Orchard Country Winery & Market (http://www.orchardcountry.com/), are the winners of the annual Door County Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The announcement came this afternoon during the DCEDC annual investors meeting at Stone Harbor Resort & Conference Center in Sturgeon Bay.
Since 1955, the Lautenbach family has been planting, harvesting and producing quality fruit products in Door County. Situated on 100 acres of blossoming orchards and lush vineyards, the family estate is home to a winery, cider mill and farm market. Bob Lautenbach currently owns and operates Orchard Country Winery & Market with his daughters Carrie Lautenbach-Viste and Erin Lautenbach.
Established in 1985, the winery resides in a restored dairy barn and produces most of its award-winning wines from fruits grown on the property. Estate-grown fruits include cherries, apples, grapes, raspberries, and pears. Several styles of wine are offered, ranging from dry to sweet, pure fruit and grape varietals, in addition to sparkling and spiced.
The spacious farm market offers hundreds of Door County and Wisconsin-made products, featuring the popular tart Montmorency cherry. Also available is fresh bakery, artisan cheese, jam, salsa, pie filling, wine accessories and more.
After losing the original market to a fire in 2005, the family took a heartbreaking event, and used the silver lining perspective to refocus and reposition themselves for long-term growth. Over the past 10 years, the Lautenbachs have experienced great financial growth while maintaining the family business culture and supporting the local community and agricultural industry.
Expecting over 150,000 visitors in 2015, the Lautenbach family is once again investing in a major expansion – expanding wine tasting opportunities, adding retail space, a room for live music and private events, larger restrooms, and additional storage. Completion is expected in May, which will increase the market by 5,000 square feet.
Giving back to the community and helping others both financially and in-kind is a big part of the company philosophy. Over the years, some of the benefitting organizations have included: The Women’s Fund of Door County, Peninsula School of Art, Door County YMCA, Altrusa, Peninsula Preschool, Northern Door Children’s Center, Door Cancer, Northern Door Rotary, and the Humane Society, as well as many individual families.
“It is our pleasure to recognize the Lautenbach family with the Entrepreneur of the Year award,” said DCEDC Executive Director Bill Chaudoir. “Door County has grown its reputation as a wine destination, and with over 150 wine awards, Orchard Country is a popular stop on the Door County Wine Trail. We have been thrilled to watch the company’s growth and expansion and we wish them nothing but continued success.”
The Entrepreneur of the Year Award celebrates those individuals who have taken the initiative to start and grow a successful small business in Door County. Eligible businesses include those with fewer than 50 full time employees, exhibiting exciting growth potential and that have at least three years of successful business experience. Last year’s winner was A.J. Frank, owner of the Door County Trolley Company.