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History

Owl Creek first sank roots in 1980 when founder Ted Wichmann planted the first commercial winegrape vineyard in the region.  Those same vineyards are the foundation of our wines that are now also grown by the best run vineyards across the region.  In keeping with tradition, we are one of the few wineries in the Midwest that sources all of our winegrapes from the surrounding region and nurtures the fermentations on site to produce among the best wines in Mid-America.

Ted was instrumental in launching the first winery in the region a few years later – Alto Vineyards in 1988. As a shareholder in Alto and the first commercial winemaker in the region, Ted along with the Renzaglia family led the reinnasance of the local wine industry.  As a part of that rebirth, Ted built Owl Creek's winery in 1995 and cofounded the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail that same year.

In 2001, Ted led an initiative to create the Shawnee Hills AVA which was signed into law in December 2006. The AVA (American Viticultural Area) is federal recognition that the grapes from the Shawnee Hills are truly unique and special. By the time the Shawnee Hills became reality, the region had grown from a few pioneers to about 20 wineries and 70 vineyards.

The next chapter in Owl Creek's story begins with the Genung family taking over production of the wines in 2005.  Ted remained focused on his first love - growing great winegrapes.  Ted and his wife Sarah still tend the vineyards outside the winery door to this day.  Brad Genung shared Ted's devotion to producing high quality wines and the integrity to focus on local varietals.

When Genung took over Owl Creek the winery was producing 3,000 gallons. In a few short years, production is closer to 12,000 gallons and the raves about the quality of the wines have become louder than ever.  The Genung's also worked to make the tasting room experience more memorable by emphasizing education and hospitality with the addition of more seating, a limited food menu and local musicians filling the air with bluegrass and folk tunes on the weekends.

Today, Owl Creek is what we call a "rubber-to-the-road" winery.  Our focus is on the wine.  We grow it.  We produce it.  We educate about it.  

The wines, the vineyards and our proud history are summed up by Owl Creek's motto - "Integrity is Our Tradition."

Owner, Winemaker
Brad Genung




Brad has been involved in both the investment and production side of the wine business for over 15 years.  In 2002, he decided the Shawnee Hills region would become a major wine producing area in Mid America.  Back then there were several wineries and a handful of vineyards.  Today, Owl Creek is the leading premium winery in a region boasting 22 wineries and 70 vineyards.  He possesses an MBA in finance and an undergraduate education that includes chemistry and physics coursework.  His wines have won many international and regional awards.  He is Owl Creek’s winemaker and a leading advocate of super-premium wine production in the region.