Hinsdale couple shares the fruits of its labors
Matt and Maria Kluchenek, of Hinsdale, visit their vineyards and winery in Napa Valley, Calif., about four times each year. | Courtesy of Matt and Maria Kluchenek
Names: Matt and Maria Kluchenek
Business location: Napa Valley, Calif.
Updated: May 29, 2012 11:43AM
Matt and Maria Kluchenek initially wanted to establish their own wine vintage so that it could be enjoyed by family members and friends, but their passion for wine has garnered recognition and success beyond what they anticipated.
After a trip to Italy and France about six years ago, which included visits to some vineyards and the tasting of many wines, the Hinsdale couple decided they wanted to have their own wine made.
“We just wanted to make some wine for family and friends,” Matt Kluchenek said. “We weren’t really getting involved; we were just contracting with a winery to have our wine made.”
Once the Klucheneks had their new wine in hand, Matt Kluchenek was curious to get some feedback on it from those who were not family members or friends.
“I wanted to get some professional feedback, so I took the vintage around, and the feedback was phenomenal,” he said.
The result was a decision to start Mind’s Eye Winery, a name taken from the original idea of making wine being in the “mind’s eye” of Matt and Maria Kluchenek.
While the vineyard and winery are located in Napa Valley, Calif., the Kluchenek’s still reside in Hinsdale with their three young children. The couple travels to Napa Valley about four times a year.
“We’re intimately involved in every stage of the process,” Kluchenek said. “We sit down with our wine maker and talk about what we want to do.”
Among the wines produced by Mind’s Eye Winery are a 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Proprietary Red Wine, 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Proprietary Red Wine, and 2008 Syrah.
Even with the vineyard and winery being located in California, and Mind’s Eye Winery products being available in several states, the Klucheneks said Hinsdale and the surrounding communities have always have been important to them. Mind’s Eye products are available at several wine shops, restaurants and country clubs in the area.
“We focused on the western suburbs because that is important to us and on Napa Valley because that provides additional credibility,” said Kluchenek, who has continued working in Chicago as an attorney.
“One of the best parts of doing this has been getting to meet really interesting people,” Kluchenek said. “It’s not like making a widget, where you’re done with it once it’s been made.
“This is a business, but it’s still fun for us. It’s still a small business, so we can focus on quality and not on selling wine. It’s exciting from vintage to vintage.”
Even with a law practice, winery and three children on his plate, Kluchenek has made it a point to be involved in the community. He and his wife moved to Hinsdale in 2001 but Matt is originally from Park Ridge, and Maria is originally from Deerfield.
Kluchenek, 46, was on the Hinsdale Plan Commission for six years and is chairman of the village’s Parks & Recreation Commission.
“We moved here because Hinsdale has a great downtown, it’s a nice location and has good people,” Kluchenek said. “Being involved is a way to give something back to the community.”
Area locations that sell/serve Mind’s Eye wine include: Butler National Golf Club, Oak Brook; Butterfield Country Club, Oak Brook; Edgewood Valley Country Club, Burr Ridge/La Grange; Grotto, Oak Brook; Giuliano’s, Hinsdale; il Poggiolo, Hinsdale; Hillgrove Wine Cellars, Western Springs; Hinsdale Wine Shop, Hinsdale; Hinsdale Golf Club, Clarendon Hills; Mike Ditka’s restaurant, Oak Brook; Ruth Lake Country Club, Hinsdale; and Vie Restaurant, Western Springs.
Kluchenek said a wine dinner is scheduled for June 20 or 21 at Mecenat Bistro, 821 W. Burlington Ave., Western Springs. For more information, call Mecenat Bistro, (708) 246-8668.