Lynn Family Turns Into Successful Winery

Reed Travel Features

BERNICE -- Three years old and going strong, from a hobby to a booming business.

That is the story of the Lynn Creek Winery here in Union Parish, about three miles north of Bernice.

The family-run operation, by Bill and Gloria Lynn, claims to be the first licensed winery in northern Louisiana and "the [state's] only winery west of the Mississippi River."

It uses only grapes and other fruit grown in Louisiana and boasts six different wine labels.

"Because we are a Southern winery, we proudly feature traditional muscadine grape wines," Gloria Lynn said.

Lynn Creek produces both red and white wine from grapes gathered from a plantation in western Ouachita Parish, blueberries from Shreveport and Monroe, and wild mayhaw from the swamps of Catahoula Parish.

"Lincoln Parish, our neighbor to the south, is home to some of the best peaches to be found anywhere. We use some of them to make our Peach Queen wine," she added.

Last year, the winery produced over 2,000 gallons. Lynn said the new wine, or currently distilling batch, is expected to result in 10,000 bottles.

"And my husband has created a wonder blush red wine this year, which we have not yet chosen a name for.

"However, we intend to invite some of our local regular patrons to help us name it."

Lynn added that there were three names being bandied about but thought the idea of a contest among the regulars would be nice. They hope to have a name chosen by the end of April.

The winery is open Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for tours and free tastings; purchases also can be made.

In the summer, tours of the vineyards are available.

Earlier this month, the winery hosted a Monroe-based Elderhostel group of about 40 people to tours of the property, the vineyard and a catered lunch.

Dessert, however, was the popular Lynn Creek mayhaw wine pound cake.

"It was a very nice visit. Most of the people seemed to have been from someplace foreign, perhaps Germany, and had included the visit here along with touring the area," Lynn said.

"We have a lot to offer here in Bernice. Attractive old houses and old churches, which are open to the public for tours."

Among the table wine labels Lynn Creek Winery produces are:

* Sabine, its flagship product, is made with wild mayhaw harvested from the Catahoula Parish swamps and is pale gold in color.

At $7.50 a bottle, it costs a little more than Lynn Creek's other products because, according to Bill Lynn, "It costs us 10 times as much to produce. The mayhaws are totally wild and have to be hand picked. They aren't cultivated."

* Claiborne Ridge is the companion white muscadine wine.

* Riverboat Red is a rich fruity blend of three varieties of native muscadine grapes.

* Bayou Blueberry is a dark red wine.

* Peach Queen is a semi-sweet, flavorful fruit wine.

* A Mayberry table wine also is available.

The winery is at 1807 Highway 167 N., Bernice 71222; call (318) 285-0649.

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