The description of Stanger Vineyards
The STANGER story actually begins in Illinois, of all places, when in 1977 Roger & Cheryl Janakus purchased a small home on 7 acres about 25 miles southwest of Chicago in a town called Lemont. Next to the house was a single row of grapes, table grapes no doubt because a serious wine grape wouldn’t be caught dead in such a harsh climate. Almost immediately, Roger began caring for the 8 vines but deep down he realized that those grapes could never really produce a drinkable wine. Trips to Napa and Sonoma fueled his envy for the real thing. He had spent summers on his Uncle’s farm in southwestern Michigan when he was a youngster and remembered vineyards were plentiful there. That’s it he recalled, I can remain in the Chicago area and grow wine grapes in Michigan. Soon a 145 acre farm was purchased just 1 ½ hours away. Close enough to go to anytime and most of the time. French wine grape vine clones were acquired and planted on a two acre patch of ground he called his vineyard. This little piece of heaven began to lose its appeal when fighting the elements; rain (either too much or too little) and frost, insects, animals and weeds. Then after a suggestion by Cheryl to move to California if we wanted to be serious about wine making, we sold the farm.