The History of the Walnut Street Winery

Loren_OfficeIn 1994 Loren Shanle purchased this building from Phil Eleridge. Phil had owned & operated a feed & bait store at this location called Phil’s Feed Store. It was at that time in 1994 that Loren Shanle opened an independent insurance agency in the same building. The business was named the L.C. Shanle & Co. The L.C. Shanle & Co. was in business from 1994 until 2006. In 2006 Shanle sold his insurance agency to the Dimond Brothers Insurance Agency & went to work for Dimond out of an office in Springfield, Ill. The building where the winery is located was vacant from 2006 until the winery was opened in August 2009. The house connected to the winery had a downstrairs & and upstairs apartment. The upstairs apartment is still being used as an apartment today. The downstairs apartment was converted to the winery office & storage area for wine in 2009 when the winery opened.

The Walnut Street Winery actually began in the basement of the Shanle home. This is where the Shanle’s began to make wine. They did this for a few years prior to opening the winery in 2009. Rochester had been a dry town with no alcohol sales. The first business licensed to sell alcohol in Rochester was granted to a restaurant next door to the winery prior to 2009. The restaurant owner, Gambino, had successfully worked on getting Rochester to grant him the first liquor license in Rochester for his restaurant, Gambino’s.

Loren_Office2When Shanle was making wine in his basement he was using juice that came from some of the finest vineyards around the world. He realized that if you want to make the best wines you need to use the best ingredients from the best sources. Today we continue with the same belief in the way we make our wines at the winery.

The Walnut Street Winery produces & bottles 22 different types of wine. The winery tank room can be viewed through the window that is in the room just behind the tasting bar. Their wines are sold in restaurants, grocery stores, & liquor stores in Central Illinois. The winery has Bocce Ball Leauges that play at the winery during the warm seasons. The winery has food available, pizzas, cheeses, hot dogs & brats. There is a small gift shop area by the front door. Live music is performed at the winery year round. The live music schedule for the winery can be seen on the winery web site, There is also a monthly email newsletter that goes out to our subscribers that tells about what’s happening at the winery. This would include the live music schedule & all of the winery’s monthly sales specials. The signup sheet to receive the newsletter is at the tasting bar.

So, sit back and relax, & taste some very fine wines in one of the smallest, but coziest wineries anywhere! We are glad you stopped by & we truly do appreciate your business.